Things seemed to be settling down when Anthony connected with a right-hand punch to Collins' face. New York's Jared Jeffries then chased Anthony to the other end of the court, but was restrained before he could get to the Denver player.

Stoudemire lead Phoenix to
their 14th win in a row
Both teams can expect fines and suspensions after the NBA said the incident was under review.

"I feel bad for the league, I feel bad for the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks," Denver coach George Karl told reporters. "Very poor display of respecting basketball and respecting the game in the best place in the world to play basketball."

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said: "Clearly this isn't the way we or the NBA wants to be perceived."

Meanwhile in Sacramento, the Phoenix Suns recorded their 14th straight victory with a 105-98 win over the Kings, matching the franchise's record for consecutive wins.

Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and nine rebounds, Leandro Barbosa 18 points, Steve Nash 16 points and 12 assists and Raja Bell 15 points, all in the second half, as Phoenix overcame a slow start.

"We were stuck in the mud for the beginning of the game," Mark D'Antoni, the Suns coach, told reporters.

Nash, the point guard who makes the Suns go, was scoreless for almost the whole first half before leading his team to 74 points in the last 26 minutes.

"I didn't feel good tonight at all," Nash said. "I could have told you that this afternoon in the hotel. There are nights you have to be mentally tough and try to hang in there and we certainly hung in there tonight mentally. It was difficult for us in stretches."

Paul Pierce scored 35 points and had 11 rebounds and four assists as the Boston Celtics won their fifth straight game. The 106-100 win over the Bobcats in Charlotte lifted Boston into first place in the Atlantic Division despite just a 10-13 record.

In San Antonio, the Philadelphia 76ers lost their 11th game in a row as Manu Ginobli hit eight of his 17 points late in the Spurs' 103-98 victory.

While in Orlando, the Magic, who trailed by 13 point early on beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 81-74 thanks to 21 points from Grant Hill and 14 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots by Dwight Howard. LeBron James got 29 points to lead the Cavaliers and all scorers.