Secondarily, Matt Barnes was interesting.
Barnes said he was simply trying to fight through a hard screen (he wasn't "simply" doing that) and that the Rockets were setting some hard screens so he wasn't going to stand for it.
Nash got banged by TMac on the play before, but no one who's watched TMac play more than 4 games would think he's the type of guy that would intentionally set a Bowen-elbow-to-the-ribs type screen. I think Nash did get hurt, because he doesn't stop playing for head-butts to the nose or a congenital condition slowly breaking his spine. I also don't think there was any intent on TMac's part because TMac's softer than Pau Gasol.
Maybe there were some other hard screens at other places in the game. Maybe.
Alston was trying to set a screen, too. He was.
Then Barnes loses all credibility when he says, "The refs didn't call me for anything."
He regains some credibility by saying that nothing would've happened if Alston didn't run over to him and pointing out that (like I said) no one threw a punch. Just guys pushing and chest bumping. Sayeth the Barnes, "I guess he [Alston] thought he was tough [for chest bumping]."
So, when you're down by a lot, I guess you try to take out one of the players that's killing you. You can do that sort of thing early in the season, too. Nash turned it into a hockey scrum. More on hockey in a moment.
Nash runs over and unnecessarily gets in on it. He knows that Barnes is trying to stick up for him (Barnes said so in the interview) and he figures he needs to return the favor. Nash's hockey mentality kicked in right there. Nash escalated the situation. The cat-fight-like shoving really began when TMac decided to throw (not quite the right word -- too strong -- but it was more than a push) Nash to the ground.
At this point, Alston jumps on Nash and Alston is forced to rely on Barbosa doing the "hold me back" thing to Nash. LB should've let Nash go. I think that's the closest Nash has ever been to getting into a fight. I would've liked to have seen that. He's a tough dude (unlike the pussy-push from behind Twittering Shaqtus). In cowardly fashion, Alston goes from a spineless chest bump to chasing down a restraind Nash. Kind of like in Dazed and Confused where the lawyer-wannabe kid started a fight with the reefer-head mainly because he figured the crowd would break it up.
I remember being at a Coyotes game, back when they used to lose in the first round of the playoffs instead of miss the playoffs entirely. After a goal, the Coyotes were still down by one. Jeremy Roenick (per his later interview) decided the team needed a kick in the shorts to get moving. So he, "Found the smallest guy on the other team and picked a fight." They needed a fight but JR wasn't going to be dumb about it. JR got his two minutes. The Coyotes won the game. It worked.
To me, a hockey scrum is pretty much what happened here. Not a judgment call either way. Just an observation. Basketball isn't hocky, though, so maybe this sort of thing needs to be avoided. At least no one left the bench. We need Amare and Boris for the Kings.
I'd say Alston, Barnes and Shaq definitely get some penalties (fines or suspensions). TMac and Nash might. If Nash gets a penalty, TMac definitely does. I bet, though, that those two have such good records and high profiles they're okay.