The NBA on Monday reviewed several altercations during the Knicks-Nuggets game Sunday, including two in which Amar'e Stoudemire got physically involved with Denver's center, Nene. No supplemental punishments were handed down. A suspension, which would have been an extreme measure, would have cost the Knicks their best player in perhaps their most important game to date against the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics Wednesday night at the Garden.
According to a league source, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson personally requested video of the plays. Nuggets coach George Karl, who was furious that Stoudemire wasn't assessed at least a technical foul for shoving Nene into the baseline with a high forearm in the second quarter, ordered the Nuggets' staff to make sure a copy of the play was sent to the league offices.
If Stoudemire had been assessed a technical at that point, with 6:07 left in the second quarter, he would have been ejected. He had been hit with a technical earlier in the game when he reacted angrily after taking a forearm to his face as Nene dunked.
Stoudemire clearly was frustrated with Nene's high elbows and very physical defense throughout the game. He's been manhandled before by some teams and it's going to continue, especially as long as he remains at the center position.
But Knicks vs. Nuggets was unusually chippy, given that it was a game between two team from opposite conferences with no real history between them. Only Eddy Curry remains from the 2006-07 team that was involved in the brawl at the Garden almost four years ago to the day, on Dec. 16, 2006, so it's not as though there's any residual bad blood.
The game might have been a good primer for their game against the Celtics, who have won 10 straight - with the most recent game a 93-62 victory over the Bobcats on Saturday.
The Knicks and Celtics have had some dust-ups in the past, and Stoudemire is no stranger to Kevin Garnett's trash-talking antics. If Stoudemire and the Knicks showed anything in their win over Denver, it's that they're not averse to a physical game.
Notes & quotes: The NBA did not reward Stoudemire for another dominant week, as Dwyane Wade was given the Eastern Conference player of the week honor. He averaged 30.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists and shot 58.4 percent from the field in a 4-0 week for the Heat. Stoudemire averaged 33.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in a 4-0 week for the Knicks but had 11 turnovers vs. the Wizards . . . The Knicks will hold a third annual Knicks Legends Night in which the honoree for the 2000s decade will be announced, as selected by a committee. Fans will be able to vote on their choice for player of the decade for each of the six decades in Knicks history by going to nyknicks.com or knicksnow.com.