Tempers flared in the final minute of Wednesday night's game between New York and Memphis when Knicks guard Elfrid Payton knocked the Grizzlies' Jae Crowder into the first row at Madison Square Garden.
With the Grizzlies up 124-106, Crowder attempted a 3-pointer following the steal of an errant inbounds pass by Julius Randle before Payton delivered a forearm with 48 seconds left.
Crowder and New York's Marcus Morris Sr. were ejected for instigating the fight. Payton was assessed a flagrant foul 2, which carries an automatic ejection.
The 127-106 victory for Memphis was the Grizzlies' fourth in a row.
After the game, Morris called Crowder "unprofessional," among other things, and took issue with his 3-point shot while the Grizzlies were up by such a large margin at that point in the contest.
"He plays the game a different way," Morris said. "He's got a lot of female tendencies on the court, flopping and throwing his head back the entire game. It's a man's game and you just get tired of it.
"When you step back and shoot a 3 ... and like rub it in ... he's unprofessional. He's soft. His game is soft. He's very womanlike."
After his comments to reporters, Morris tweeted an apology.
I apologize for using the term "female tendencies" I have the upmost respect for women and everything they mean to us. It was a Heat of the moment response and I never intended for any Women to feel as though in anyway I'm disrespecting them. Again I apologize with my comments.— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) January 30, 2020
Morris and Crowder have had run-ins in prior seasons.
Payton admitted he would do it all over again and knock Crowder, or any other player, to the floor for attempting to tack on points with the game out of reach.
"That shot was disrespectful," Payton said. "I'm standing on that. I'd a did it again. Doesn't matter who took that shot. Don't disrespect the game like that."
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins, who appeared to have been shoved by one of the Knicks players while trying to play peacemaker, credited the officiating crew for quickly restoring order.
"Obviously, it can be whole lot worse, but a lot of credit to [the referees], Josh [Tiven] and Ray [Acosta] and Ashley [Moyer-Gleich] for handling that really well," Jenkins said.
Crowder did not address the media after the game.
"The bottom line is we lost our composure in there, and we gotta do a better job in those situations," Knicks interim coach Mike Miller said.
Adding to the drama, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant complained after the game that there was no hot water and only three drops of water in the visitors shower room at MSG.
"This is beyond me," Morant said, according to the New York Daily News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.