By Ben Golliver
The man they call 'Melo was decidedly un-mellow after the Celtics defeated the Knicks 102-96 at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Celtics big man Kevin Garnett got tangled up in a series of physical sequences on the court. After the game, Anthony took his frustration with Garnett to the arena's back hallways, waiting for his fellow All-Star by the Celtics' bus after reportedly waiting for him outside the visitors' locker room.
CSNNE.com captured video of Anthony waiting by the Celtics' bus with a number of security guards standing in between him and the door as Boston's players loaded up after the game. The Associated Press reported that Anthony visited Boston's locker room as well.
The Knicks forward went toward the Celtics locker room after the game to keep shouting, taking his frustrations from the court right along with him.
Anthony left without talking to reporters, and the Knicks wouldn't comment on Anthony's postgame trip in the wrong direction. MSG Network reported the incident, in which security had to step in and send Anthony back in the right direction, as it went to its postgame show.
The AP also reported that Garnett denied any postgame locker room incident.
"Listen, heat of the battle, man. Guys go back and forth. He's trying to get his team to go, I'm trying to get my team to go, both teams are colliding, not to mention that it's the Knicks and the Celtics," Garnett said. "Just what it is, man."
The New York Daily News reported that Garnett was unsure why Anthony was waiting for him by the bus and that Knicks coach Mike Woodson helped defuse the situation.
The bad blood began with 9:03 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Celtics leading 82-78. Boston had the ball and the two stars jockeyed for position, getting extremely physical, but neither was called for a foul. The two then jawed back and forth as they came back up the court and were hit with double technical fouls.
Here's a look at the on-court incident.
Newsday reported that Woodson and Celtics coach Doc Rivers did their best to stay out of it afterward.
When Woodson was asked about it, he cut off the question before it was asked. "I don't know anything about that," he said. "I'm not even going to comment on that. If you want to talk about the game, we can do that."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was a little more forthcoming. "I'm going to let you all figure that one out," he said. "I'm going to stay out of that. If it was the playoffs, I'd tell on him. But since it's not, I'm just going to be quiet."
The NBA will have no choice but to review the incident, as it did after reports of a postgame incident involving Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph in November. Threats, intimidation and escalation are generally no-no's under commissioner David Stern's watch, so it's possible, if not likely, that Anthony will face disciplinary action.
The Knicks don't play their next game until Thursday, when they visit the Pacers in Indianapolis, so the league will have a few days to determine its course of action. The Celtics next play Wednesday against the Suns in Boston, in the event Garnett faces disciplinary action for his role in the exchange.
There isn't much precedent to work with here, although Trail Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace was suspended seven games for "accosting and threatening" referee Tim Donaghy in the Rose Garden's loading dock after a 2003 game in Portland.
Anthony finished with 20 points, five assists and three rebounds and shot only 6-of-26 from the field in 37 minutes. Garnett had 19 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals in 38 minutes for the Celtics, who won without the suspended Rajon Rondo. Boston improved to 17-17 with its third consecutive victory. New York fell to 23-11.
Video via CSNNE and YouTube user CripwalkinK