INDIANAPOLIS – Carmelo Anthony had an excuse for not being at the New York Knicks shootaround Thursday morning. His coach told him to stay at the hotel and take it easy.
The Knicks star forward got even more rest Thursday night, thanks to the NBA.
Less than 24 hours after Anthony was given a one-game suspension for Mondays confrontation with Kevin Garnett, the Knicks prepared to face Indiana without their leading scorer. Amare Stoudemire was expected to play only about 20 minutes as he continues to work his way back from knee surgery.
No, this is not how New York wanted to go into a nationally televised game against the Central Division leaders. But Anthonys suspension left them no choice.
Im sure hes disappointed, but again it happened and we cant go back, Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters. Hes got to live with it, and hell rebound from it. Carmelo is a true pro, and hell deal with it.
Anthony contended he went toward the Celtics locker room after losing to Boston and later waited for Garnett outside Bostons team bus because he wanted to discuss Garnetts choice of words during a fourth-quarter altercation. Anthony had said he didnt believe he would be suspended because he said he was just looking to talk to Garnett.
NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson ruled otherwise.
Woodson learned of the decision Wednesday night, after the team arrived in Indianapolis to face Pacers. Indiana was 11-3 in its last 14 games and beat defending champion Miami 77-67 on Tuesday.
Weve got to move on and live for the next day, Woodson said. Theres not a whole lot we can do as an organization.
The options are complicated by Stoudemires situation.
After playing a season-high 28 minutes in Mondays loss to Boston, Stoudemire reportedly experienced soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. Woodson acknowledged Thursday that he would closely monitor Stoudemires minutes against the Pacers – even though Stoudemire seemed undeterred by that notion. He was expected to play about 20 minutes.
I think it was more having three games in four nights. I just dont want to overdo anything, Stoudemire said. Well see how it is tonight. Carmelos out, so I might get more minutes.
The Pacers expected to see the Knicks make adjustments. For instance, swingman Paul George said he believe New York would go to J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd more often and would take more than three-point shots than usual.