AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Fists were flying. So were cups, plastic bottles and even a chair in one of the ugliest NBA brawls ever -- and Indiana's
Ron Artest was right in the middle of it.
Artest and Stephen Jackson charged into the stands and fought with fans in the final minute of their game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night,
and the brawl forced an early end to the Pacers' 97-82 win.
Officials stopped the game with 45.9 seconds remaining after pushing and shoving between the teams spilled into the stands once fans got involved by
throwing things at the players near the scorer's table.
"It's the ugliest thing I've seen as a coach or player,'' said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who was in the middle of the confrontation, trying to break
After several minutes of players fighting with fans in the stands, a chair, beer, ice, and popcorn were thrown at the Pacers as they made their way to
the locker room in one of the scariest brawls in an NBA game.
"I felt like I was fighting for my life out there,'" Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm sorry the game had to end this way.''
The Palace announcer said the game was being stopped and pleaded with fans not to throw things.
It all started when Detroit's Ben Wallace went in for a layup and was fouled hard by Artest from behind, and escalated when Artest stormed into the
stands after being hit by a full cup.
After being fouled, Wallace wheeled around and pushed Artest in the face. The benches emptied and punches were thrown.
As the players continued shoving each other near center court and coaches tried to restore order, Artest sprawled out on his back on the scorer's
table, looking relaxed.
Just when it appeared tempers had died down, Artest was struck by a cup and beverage thrown from the stands. He jumped up, and charged into the
stands, throwing punches as he climbed over seats.
Fans were punching back, and Jackson and another teammate joined Artest in the melee.
Security personnel and ushers tried to break up the fighting. Former Pistons player Rick Mahorn, who was seated courtside as a Detroit radio analyst,
tried to stop the brawl in the stands.
Detroit's Rasheed Wallace and Indiana's David Harrison were also in or near the stands. Both were trying to break up the fights.
Later, a man in a Pistons jersey approached Artest on the court with fists raised, shouting at him. Artest punched him in the face, knocking the man
to the floor before leaving the court. Artest was pulled away, and the fan charged back. Jermaine O'Neal stepped in and punched the man.
Quentin Richardson of the Phoenix Suns watched the brawl on television.
"I have never seen a fight like that in a game since I was in high school,'' he said. "Man, there are going to be some lawsuits. You don't think some
of those fans aren't going to want some NBA money?''
Police prevented reporters from crossing the loading dock to get to Indiana's locker room or the area where the Pacers' bus was located.
I just saw on SportsCenter that there are officers in the TV trucks reviewing the tapes and plan on making arrests.