INDIANAPOLIS -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Carmelo Anthony "did something crazy" Monday night, and that Kevin Garnett never uttered the things that reportedly set off Anthony.
The Knicks forward became incensed after Garnett reportedly made derogatory remarks about his wife, LaLa, in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss. Afterward, he confronted Garnett outside the Celtics' locker room and then the team bus, which led to Anthony's suspension for Thursday night's game against the Pacers.
Anthony wouldn't address the reports on Tuesday about what Garnett said, and Garnett hasn't spoken to the media the past few days. But Rivers defended Garnett during a radio interview on WEEI in Boston on Thursday.
"I know what's been reported did not happen," Rivers told the radio station. "I know that as a fact. Guys, you know how this works. A guy does something crazy like Carmelo did, and the way to get out of trouble is to say, 'Well, he said this.' It happens all the time, and what bugs me about this whole thing is this is not a Kevin Garnett issue. And it was made into one, and it shouldn't have been made into one."
Anthony wasn't available for comment Thursday. Mike Woodson said he told him to stay at the hotel and rest for Friday night's game against Chicago rather than attend Thursday's shootaround. Anthony also couldn't be in the arena during the game while serving the ban.
This isn't the first time Garnett allegedly has said things to get under an opponent's skin. Two years ago, Charlie Villanueva, who suffers from a skin condition, tweeted that Garnett called him "a cancer patient." Garnett denied saying that.
The day after his flare-up with Garnett, Anthony said he didn't think what he did warranted a suspension. The league disagreed. The fact that TMZ and other outlets had footage of Anthony outside the locker room and in the garage didn't help his case.
"Hey, that's their decision and we just got to move on," Woodson said. "There's not a whole lot we can do as an organization. They made the decision and we got to live with it."
All of this should make for an interesting game when the Knicks visit Boston on Jan. 24.
Woodson started rookie Chris Copeland in Anthony's absence Thursday night. A well-rested Anthony will be back for Friday night's game against the Bulls in what should be another physical, heated contest.
When the Knicks and Bulls met Dec. 21 at the Garden, Anthony, Woodson, Tyson Chandler and Chicago's Joakim Noah were ejected. Noah and Chandler were thrown out for nearly fighting late in the Bulls' 110-106 victory.
As the playoff races heat up, there will be more trash-talking and more physical play. So the Knicks will have to find a way to keep their emotions in check.
"Part of the game," Jason Kidd said. "Emotion is what this game is built on, beside talent. Sometimes it gets the better of us. You have to learn from it, and I trust Melo will learn from this and we'll be all right."
Said Woodson, "You can't go back and get it. It's something that happened a few days ago in our arena. He's got to live with it and he'll rebound from it. Melo's a true pro. He'll bounce back."