AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- It'll be just another game, the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers insist, when they play tonight.
The last time they met -- exactly 18 weeks ago -- at The Palace, one of the worst brawls in US sports history broke out, and the ugly spectacle transcended sports.
"After all the consequences that were paid by players and fans, I don't expect to see anybody acting up," Detroit's Antonio McDyess said.
The Pacers have been reeling since the Nov. 19 melee. The defending NBA champion Pistons suffered a setback from it, but have since bounced back to be one of the top teams in the league.
Indiana's Ron Artest was suspended by commissioner David Stern for the season for his role in the fracas, which started on the court before spilling into the crowd and back onto the court. Indiana's Stephen Jackson was suspended 30 games and Jermaine O'Neal 15, and his comeback was derailed by a shoulder injury expected to keep him out for the rest of the regular season.
Detroit's Ben Wallace was suspended six games, and one of his brothers was among the spectators charged with playing a part in the brawl.
In total, five Pacers and eight fans have been charged in the brawl.