One of the pleasures, and one of the frustrations, of watching Carmelo Anthony play basketball is how blasé he treats the signature activity of playing basketball. Carmelo is one of the most talented basketball-playing humans on earth, but he rarely shows much excitement, or disappointment, in that fact: He just plays, loose, easy, like it's nothing, like it's just a fella drivin' a bus. This can be disorienting at times — we sort of want our NBA stars to have that Jordan-Kobe assassin, hyperintense, almost inhuman drive — but it's also what makes Carmelo great: Carmelo is never better than when he's relaxed and comfortable. (Seth's weirdly perfect phrase for this is "cookin' soup.") And he's never worse than when he's rattled, flummoxed ... forced off his rhythm. Suffice it to say, he was rattled against the Celtics the other night.
The blowback from Carmelo's postgame stalking/fuming/Yosemite Sammin' of Kevin Garnett after the Knicks' loss to the Celtics on Monday night continued yesterday, as Carmelo said his piece, rumors flew, and the team awaited word of whether or not Carmelo would be suspended for the non-incident. Carmelo wouldn't go into detail about what Kevin Garnett said to him that made him so lunatic loco — “There’s certain things that you just don’t say to men, another man,” was all he'd say. “I felt like we crossed the line.” — but the Post has a "confidant" source. It probably won't surprise you that this enraging comment involved a woman. It's like Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson, and Toni Braxton all over again, if not nearly as much fun.
Yeah, KG made a La La comment. No one knows exactly what it was, other than that “[Carmelo] really, really had a reason,” the confidant told the Post. “KG must’ve never gotten hugged [as a child], but Melo’s OK now.” We assume it was worse than when Garnett called alopecia-suffering Carlos Villaneuva "a cancer patient." We don't get into much gossip around these parts — we honestly still don't quite understand who La La Vazquez is or what she does — but this "report" might have had something to do with it as well.
We'll know later today if Carmelo is suspended for tomorrow night's game with Indiana — Carmelo doesn't think he should be, but he wouldn't, would he? — but, if it's okay if we talk about basketball again for a moment, this does speak to a larger problem with the Knicks this season: They lose their composure easily, and when they do, they completely fall apart. If you're an undermatched opponent, your strategy against the Knicks, in many ways, can be "shove them around, be total dicks, and wait for them to self-destruct." The Bulls have done this, and now the Celtics have as well. Everyone's already looking forward to the next three Celtics games, including the one in two weeks in Boston, but that sort of business is exactly what the Knicks need to fight against. These Knicks have thrived when they've avoided the drama, when they've just played hard, moved the ball around on offense, held tight on defense, and relied on their experience. The crazier things get, the more the Knicks get rattled. The Knicks win when they stay within their own heads, and keep everybody else out. Carmelo might have lost control after the game the other night, but the larger issue is that he lost it during it. Just chill, Carmelo. Just cook this here soup.