It was difficult to nail down whether it was surprising that the NBA suspended Carmelo Anthony one game — tonight's game, at red-hot Indiana — for CARMELO-KG-BUS-FIGHT-GATE. On the one hand, nothing, you know, actually happened: Nobody threw a punch, nobody hammered anyone in the media, Carmelo wasn't ranting and frothing at the mouth or anything. On the other hand, Carmelo specifically waited at the Celtics' team bus for KG, with his coach pleading with him to leave, and it was all caught on-camera. It might not necessarily be fair, but it's easy to understand why the NBA had to do something.
This leaves the Knicks in a precarious situation against Indiana, a team that has won eight of its last 10 and is coming off a convincing win over the Miami Heat. With Danny Granger out, Paul George is growing into a superstar for Indiana, a team that struggled early in the year but is now in first place in the Central Division and third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks, suffice it to say, are not rolling right now. They've lost four of their last seven — they're actually 5-6 since December 17 — and now Carmelo's out. And don't expect Amar'e Stoudemire to start getting more minutes with Carmelo out of the lineup; coach Mike Woodson says doctors want Amar'e's minutes to decrease now that he's feeling some "soreness" in his repaired left knee. And as Seth pointed out on Posting and Toasting yesterday, it's tough to tell who will even take over Carmelo's minutes; Chris Copeland barely gets to hang around anymore. Maybe we'll all catch some James White fever.
The Knicks have to turn right around on Friday and play their old nemesis Chicago at the Garden, so this could get a little rough. Right now they're only a half-game behind Miami for the best record in the East. If that's still the case by Saturday, it'll feel like a huge escape.