Heated words and technical fouls flew the last time Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett met on an NBA floor, sparking a media firestorm over the content of trash talk in the NBA.
The Boston Celtics host the New York Knicks Thursday night at the TD Garden for the first time since Garnett allegedly told Anthony that his wife LaLa “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.”
Both sides have refused to say what sent Anthony into a rage that night, with Boston head coach Doc Rivers flat out denying that his star power forward said anything about Anthony’s wife. Anthony waited outside of the Celtics team bus after the Knicks 102-96 loss on Jan. 7, and earned a one-game suspension for his actions.
Anthony stated publicly that he and Garnett have spoken since and that there won’t be any more controversy surrounding the matter. However, the MVP candidate is reportedly challenging his suspension after losing a $176,000 game check as a result, according to the New York Post.
Despite Anthony scoring 30.3 points per game, New York has gone 2-2 since that ill-fated game, including an 88-85 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. Anthony netted a game-high 29 points, but only one other Knick starter managed more than 10 points, and Brooklyn dominated the rebounding battle, 52-37.
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Forward Amare Stoudemire came off the bench for 15 points and six rebounds, while guard J.R. Smith continued his All-Star campaign with 16 points, four rebounds, and three steals.
The Celtics haven’t fared well either, and hope to snap a four-game losing streak that was capped by a 95-90 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Known for staunch defense since Garnett arrived in 2007, Boston surrendered 40 points to Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, and was also out-rebounded by the much younger Cavaliers squad.
Age may have caught up to the Celtics, who are now 20-21, barely holding on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston has averaged just over 88 points and 41 percent shooting during their losing streak.
The Celtics offensive troubles could rest on team-leading scorer Paul Pierce, who has had a difficult January thus far, averaging 15.9 points and shooting 40 percent from the field.
Coverage begins at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by TNT. You can watch their live online stream for free at TNT Overtime here.
Betting Odds: New York is favored by 1.5 points
Over/Under: 189 points
Prediction: Anthony has insisted there is no further grudge with Garnett, but he should go off in this game. The most interesting matchup could be between Smith and Pierce. Look for Pierce to break out of his recent slump, but the Knicks should pull out a late victory with center Tyson Chandler containing Garnett throughout.
Predicted Score: New York 102, Boston 98