The NBA obviously frowns on on-court fights and altercations, and in many cases they suspend players for it. But the league reserves a special kind of disapproval for incidents that spill over from the court and into other basketball-associated areas. The idea — usually a good one — is that players should know how to control themselves away from the intensity of competition. That's especially true of stars, the guys who are supposed to represent the league to casual fans and the rest of the world.
So Carmelo Anthony can probably expect a suspension pretty soon. With nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, Garnett and Anthony got into a shouting match on the court after a particularly physical possession. Both players were given technical fouls and separated by teammates. It was a heated argument but certainly not the sort of play that earns severe punishment.
However, that was only the start of the night's activities. After the game, reports surfaced that Anthony waited outside the Celtics' locker room after the game and got into another (non-physical) altercation with Garnett. That story has not yet been confirmed. What we do know for sure, though, is that Melo also waited for KG outside the Celtics' bus, because CSNNE.com captured video of it. Watch the video above (via The Point Forward).
After the jump, check out the various reports from the scene, video of the play that earned both players their technicals, and analysis of the aftermath.
First, let's take a look at the double technicals:
As you can see, it's a very physical play, but also the sort of thing that Garnett does on a regular basis. He gets players angry by any means necessary, and if he said something over the line here then that doesn't make the incident especially from different what Garnett does several times every single game. He makes a habit of trash talk. He is, as @BeanTheGod mentioned on Twitter, a habitual line-stepper.
But did Melo visit the Boston locker room for some unfriendly post-game banter? Here's the report from Al Iannazzone for Newsday:
Anthony left the Garden without speaking to the media, and the Knicks wouldn't confirm the initial report that he was outside Boston's locker room. 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."
Everyone was quiet in both locker rooms, but the NBA will investigate. Anthony could be fined or suspended, depending on what the league finds out.
Those comments certainly suggest that Melo did show up, but if no one involved will confirm it in public then we won't really know until the league comes up with an official verdict. Of course, that may never come in any form other than a more severe suspension.
The reports of the bus-stop incident are a little more forthcoming. From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News on Twitter:
Five NYPD officers, MSG security and Mike Woodson were near the bus to make sure the scene did not get out of control, the New has learned.
According to the eyewitness, Garnett didn't understand why Carmelo was waiting for him near the bus.
Mike Woodson played a big role in making sure that Carmelo left peacefully. Garnett wasn't looking for trouble and got on the bus.
We don't know the threat level of these post-game arguments, but the fact that Anthony apparently couldn't leave well enough alone suggests that he'll be hit with a suspension. Of course, that's not a certainty, because the NBA only gave the Memphis Grizzlies' Zach Randolph a $25,000 fine for confronting Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder after a game in November. Plus, Anthony didn't get physical with Garnett, and that's the only action that ever earns an automatic suspension.
It was a rough night for Melo on the whole — he shot 6-of-26 from the field and struggled mightily in the Knicks' 102-96 loss. Earlier in the day, he earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, and this presumably wasn't how he'd hoped to celebrate the fairly meaningless award.
We must now wait for the NBA to conduct its investigation into the matter and decide upon a punishment. And while there are very few precedents for a player visiting the opponents' locker room and bus to continue an argument after a game, it's worth remembering a 2002 fight that can at least ensure us that things could have been worse. Back then, Chris Mills of the Golden State Warriors literally blocked the Portland Trail Blazers' bus from leaving The Arena in Oakland (now Oracle Arena) after a fourth-quarter punch from Bonzi Wells. On Monday, the Celtics were stopped only by Manhattan traffic.
Original video of the double techs via EOB.
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