You've surely heard the references to the "Isiah defense" since the mugging on Sunday afternoon in the North Carolina-Duke game. Here's why. This is what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game: "The game was over before that - I mean the outcome of the game, let's put it that way. That's unfortunate, too, that those people were in the game in that play. Maybe this wouldn't have happened."
And here's what coach Isiah Thomas said after his Knicks brawled with the Denver Nuggets in New York in December, referring to what he supposedly told Carmelo Anthony in the moments before the fight broke out: "I just said to him: 'You're up 19 with a minute and a half to go. You and [Marcus] Camby really shouldn't be in the game right now.' We had surrendered. And those guys shouldn't have been in the game at that time. They were sticking it to us pretty good. They were having their way with us pretty good."
We don't even have to make the argument that Coach K's rationalization was no less heinous than Isiah's, or that it was barely less defensible than what former Temple coach John Chaney did a couple of years ago with a player he sent in to give "hard fouls" against an opponent.
We can point out that this is all taking place with two programs raised onto a loftier pedestal than most, with two coaches (certainly one) raised onto a loftier pedestal than most, in a sport routinely heaped with praise and accolades for its superiority in every way over the thug-infested, poor-fundamental, morality-deprived, bad-example-for-our-youth NBA.
For more of David Steele's blog, go to baltimoresun.com/steeleblog