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.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony sat at his locker in the corner of the Knicks’ locker room, battered and bruised, just like his team.
Anthony took five stitches above the left eye after a mid-air collision with Celtics’ guard Rajon Rondo as both jumped for a 50-50 ball with about two and a half minutes remaining in the Celtics’ 96-86 victory at Madison Square Garden.
“I thought I was cool until I got in there and I guess it started seeping into my eye or whatever,” Anthony said, referring to the blood. “I couldn’t open my eye after that.”
After the collision, Anthony remained face down on the Garden floor as Glen “Big Baby” Davis scored on a layup to make it 90-86. Anthony stayed in for one possession but then left the game for good.
“I couldn’t see nothing at that time,” Anthony said. “Blood was coming out of my eye, so I couldn’t really see. I didn’t even know what was going on.’
The Celtics used a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to take charge, and outscored the Knicks 33-17 in the fourth.
Asked if he thought a foul should’ve been called on the play, Anthony said:
“The way they was calling, it ain’t no telling, so I don’t know. I can’t really answer that.”
Anthony scored 17 of his team-high 22 points in the first half, when New York led 51-37. The Celtics outscored the Knicks 59-35 in the second half.
Ray Allen also suffered a cut on his hand in the third period.
The Knicks (35-35) have lost three straight and six of seven and are in a free-fall as the playoffs approach.
“Melo took some [contact],” Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire said. “I think everybody was on the floor. Everybody was trying to win. They’re having issues, we’re having issues. You can point at what you want but at the end of the day everybody was trying to win. It felt like a playoff game tonight.”
Despite the collapse, Anthony said he was optimistic going into Wednesday’s game with Orlando.
“This ship is going to turn right and I’m excited about it,” he said. “I know it’s a tough time for us right now. We’re losing games. But for the most part, we just want to stay positive about everything that’s going on and just look ahead. We got Orlando in here Wednesday and this is over with.”
The Knicks are currently in seventh place in the East and could conceivably face the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
Boston is tied with Chicago at 50-19 atop the East.
“We love the intensity of the game, the energy,” Anthony said. “The physicality of the game. If they let us play like that, then we’re cool. We’re going to go out there and battle. We battled tonight.
“It just got out of our hands.”
**Walsh takes responsibility for poor Knicks’ play
**NBA.com notebook with notes and quotes
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.