Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Melo Laughs Off Crawford’s Verbal Shenanigans as Celtics Force Game 6 Friday Night
NEW YORK — In the aftermath of the Knicks’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics, things got a little chippy at Madison Square Garden.
As the two teams went through the handshake line, Jordan Crawford appeared to mouth some words about Carmelo Anthony’s wife as shown in the above video.
Anthony did not respond, but Raymond Felton had to be held back by Terrence Williams.
“Oh, I’m not thinking about no Jordan Crawford, not at this point in time, I’ll tell you that much,” Anthony said after the 92-86 loss that forced a Game 6 Friday night in Boston.
“I don’t even think he deserves for you to be typing right now.”
Crawford, who did not play in the game, may have been referencing the January confrontation between Anthony and Kevin Garnett,in which Garnett reportedly made a cereal comment related to Anthony’s wife, La La Vasquez. Anthony was suspended one game in January for confronting Garnett outside the Celtics’ locker room and near the team bus.
Like Anthony, Felton dismissed Crawford’s chatter as meaningless.
“Just some words,” Felton said. “That’s the game of basketball. When you’re in the playoffs, things get intense sometimes. And some words were said. Nothing serious.”
Garnett and Anthony had another issue in this game when Garnett appeared to pull Anthony’s arm in the fourth quarter, causing Anthony to wince in pain and head to the bench briefly before returning to the game.
“I think he was trying to take my arm with him,” Anthony said.
Many Knicks players wore black to the game because Kenyon Martin had suggested on Tuesday that they dress for a funeral.
Instead, after failing to close out their first playoff series victory since 2000 on their home floor, J.R. Smith told reporters, “We was going to a funeral, man, but it looks like we got buried. I’m done with this black stuff.”
He added: “Basketball is a humbling game. I’m done with this black stuff, man. I’m a superstitious person. I’m going to go back to my old routine.”
The Celtics, who appeared to be guilty of their own post-game shenanigans, called out the funeral attire.
“Whatever shenanigans they want to pull, dressing all black, let them do that,” said Brandon Bass , who scored 17 points while also guarding Anthony “We’re here to win games and not talk.”
Martin and Smith had given the Celtics bulletin board material Tuesday.
Smith said that the Knicks would’ve swept the series on Sunday had he not been suspended for Game 4 after elbowing Jason Terry in the face. He said he would’ve been on the golf course instead of practicing Tuesday.
Then he came out and shot 3-for-14 for 14 points while Terry had his second strong game, going for 17 points off the bench.
“I’m a streaky shooter,” Smith said. “If I hit one or two I get in my rhythm, and that’s how my teammates want me to play.”
Smith and Anthony shot a combined 11-for-38 in the game, but the Knicks insisted they were confident heading into Game 6 despite having lost two games in a row.
“For sure, for sure,” Felton said. “This is what playoff basketball is all about. Yes, we wish we could’ve swept them. Yes, we wish we could’ve won this game tonight. Sometimes things don’t happen that way. Things aren’t always pretty. Things are not always the way you want them to be. We just gotta grind it out and go get a win.”
The Knicks once led this series 3-0 and now face the prospect of playing a Game 7 on Sunday on Madison Square Garden if they lose Friday.
No NBA team has ever come back from 0-3 down, but the Red Sox famously overcame such a deficit en route to beating the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series.
Anthony said his team was confident that it could win this thing in Game 6, without having to go to a Game 7.
“I told you from Game 1 that this wasn’t going to be an easy breeze, it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, them guys was going to fight,” Anthony said. “And they showing some fight right now. They threw a couple punches at us, now it’s time for us to do the same.
“We feel very confident going into Boston. We feel that we can go in and get a win there and close this series out and that’s our mentality.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.