By Ben Golliver
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett sound ready to move forward after chippy play during a Monday night game at Madison Square Garden turned into a postgame confrontation. We now wait to see whether NBA commissioner David Stern is similarly willing to let bygones be bygones.
Anthony and Garnett engaged in some rough play and trash talk on the court, earning double technical fouls during the fourth quarter, before Anthony sought out Garnett at the Celtics' locker room and team bus to continue the conversation after the game. 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. Anthony did not meet with reporters after Monday's game and Garnett downplayed the events as "heat of the battle" fare.
The Associated Press reported from Knicks practice Tuesday that Anthony believes his postgame actions should not warrant discipline from the league office, which could include a fine and/or suspension. The NBA league office plans to investigate the incident.
"Nothing happened for me to be suspended,'' he said. "I wanted to talk to KG. I think it was something we both needed to get off our chest and see what really the problem was. No altercations, it was just some words and a conversation that we needed to have.''
"It's over with for me. Whatever happened last night, happened. The words that was being said between me and Garnett, it happened, can't take that away,'' Anthony said. "I lost my cool yesterday, I accept that, but there's just certain things that push certain people's buttons.''
Anthony also indicated that he felt Garnett's trash talk crossed the line, but that the two All-Stars are ready to move on.
”There’s certain things that you just don’t say to men, another man,” Anthony said. ”I felt like we crossed a line, but like I said, we both have an understanding right now, we handled it the way we handled it. Nobody needs to know what was said behind closed doors, so that situation was handled.”
The Associated Press reported on Monday night that Garnett didn't see anything unusual with the exchanges.
"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 Monday that Garnett was unsure why Anthony was waiting for him by the bus and that Knicks coach Mike Woodson helped defuse the situation.
ESPNNY.com reported Tuesday that Anthony and Garnett communicated "over the phone following the bus incident" to hash out their differences.
From a disciplinary standpoint, Anthony made the best of a bad situation and did himself a number of favors on Tuesday. He took responsibility for his actions, made clear his intentions, offered a fairly rational explanation for why he reacted so unusually and expressed a willingness to bury the drama and move forward. All of those statements should play well with Stern, who surely wasn't thrilled to find out that video of the Big Apple's biggest basketball star anxious to continue the dialogue in the parking lot was circulating on Monday night.
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. In the event Garnett faces disciplinary action for his role in the exchange, the Celtics next play Wednesday against the Suns in Boston.
Anthony's most noteworthy prior suspension dates back to his days with the Nuggets in 2006, when he was suspended for 15 games for his role in an on-court fight with the Knicks. He was also suspended by the Nuggets for two games in 2008 following a DUI arrest.
The Celtics defeated the Knicks 102-96. 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.