By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Enes Kanter wanted to make sure LeBron James paid for his recent disparaging remarks toward the Knicks. But after the guys’ brutal scuffle on Monday night, you have to wonder how either of them recover.
To set the scene: LeBron recently said that rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. “should be a Knick,” which sounded like a shot at Frank Ntilikina, whom the Knicks actually drafted last summer. LeBron later clarified that it was actually a shot at Phil Jackson’s drafting, but you still can’t blame Ntilikina and Kanter for taking offense to LeBron’s needless jab. So when the Knicks and Cavs took to the court on Monday night, things got ugly real quick.
Watch below (WARNING: NSFW!) as LeBron dunks right over Ntilikina, who violently drives his elbow straight into his chest. LeBron responds by taking a menacing stance toward the rookie, and that’s when things got physical. Here’s Kanter devastating LeBron with a chest bump and aggressive trash talk, before LeBron tries to hurl him toward the floor:
What should be the nickname for this fight? The MSG Melee? The Brawl in the Big Apple? The Skirmish in the City? I’ll let the internet decide on that.
Kanter made it clear with reporters after the game, which the Cavs won 104-101 on the strength of LeBron’s 23 points and 12 assists, that he will not let anyone come into New York and disrespect his teammates.
“I don’t care who you are. What do you call yourself, ‘King,’ ‘Queen,’ ‘Princess,’ whatever you are. We’re going to fight. Nobody out there is going to punk us,” Kanter said. “We went out there and played our game. We’re going to go out there and get better every day.”
LeBron sounded shaken over the outspoken Kanter’s harsh words.
“For Enes Kanter, who always got something to say,” he said. “He says … I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
Both sides should think more about the impressionable young fans that they negatively influenced with their barbaric actions on Monday. The best course of action for commissioner Adam Silver would probably be to suspend both LeBron and Kanter for at least a dozen games, to show that such violent behavior won’t be tolerated. It remains to be seen whether the Cavs will ever rebound from Kanter handing LeBron his comeuppance.
Then again, Kanter should probably watch his back now. The Turkish big man did take on Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdoğan last summer, but this is LeBron James we’re talking about here. The next time he gets on the court with the Cavs could be downright deadly.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.