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NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett got into an altercation in the bowels of Madison Square Garden after the Boston Celtics' 102-96 win over the New York Knicks on Monday, and building security and New York City police officers were called upon to defuse the incident, two sources with knowledge of the incident told ESPNNewYork.com.
"It was like being in the schoolyard," said one witness to the incident.
The two stars did not come to blows, according to a police source. But Anthony was still hot after getting into a confrontation with Garnett in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' win that resulted in a double technical.
After the game, Anthony angrily walked off the floor and out of the tunnel that visiting teams use to exit the floor, instead of exiting out of the Knicks' tunnel.
Tyson Chandler appeared to try to stop Anthony, but he blew by the Knicks center. According to one of the sources with knowledge of the incident, Anthony approached the Celtics' locker room and was screaming. It is unclear whether his ire at the time was directed at Garnett.
Anthony approached Garnett near the Celtics' team bus. MSG security and the police intervened, according to a source.
A video posted by Comcast Sports Net New England showed Anthony waiting outside the team bus as Knicks coach Mike Woodson appeared to try to calm Anthony down. Team and building security were also present, as were several uniformed police officers.
The incident could result in a suspension and/or fine for Anthony and Garnett.
Woodson declined comment on the incident.
Listen, heat of the battle, man, guys throw back and forth. He's trying to get his team to go; I'm trying to get my team to go. Both teams are colliding. Not to mention that it's the Knicks and the Celtics. Just what it is.” -- Kevin Garnett after his on-court tangle
with Carmelo Anthony
Anthony did not make himself available to the media after the game. Garnett said there was no altercation, noting, "No, no, man. Just basketball. Just basketball."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't exactly deny the whispers in the hallways when asked whether Anthony came in search of a confrontation.
"I'm going to let y'all figure that one out," Rivers said. "I'm going to stay out of that. If it was the playoffs, I'd tell on him, but since it's not, I'm going to just be quiet."
Rivers took two subtle jabs with that remark: While offering a non-denial on Anthony's actions, he referenced reports that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry snitched on Rajon Rondo for bumping a game official during Saturday night's game in Atlanta, an act that led to Rondo being hit with a one-game suspension that forced him to sit out Monday's game in New York. Ferry was fined $15,000 by the NBA for inappropriate interaction with game officials following the game.
Rivers downplayed the on-court chippiness with the Knicks, which saw Anthony and Garnett tagged with double technicals in the fourth quarter after some jawing during a dead-ball situation, but he hinted again that Anthony might have gone a bit too far by pursuing things after the game.
"The game just got heated. It's just basketball," Rivers said. "There's nothing wrong with getting heated. It happens. It's a fun game, it's competitive, it's rough at times. That's good, I think all that's good. It should never carry over past that. I've had my moments as a player as well. It does, but you don't want it to. And whenever it does, you feel terrible later. This is the way the game should be played, to me; it should be a competitive, hard game. I thought overall the officials let us play, both teams. That's good with us."
Garnett tried to defuse the situation.
"Listen, heat of the battle, man, guys throw back and forth," Garnett said of the on-court dust-up with Anthony. "He's trying to get his team to go; I'm trying to get my team to go. Both teams are colliding. Not to mention that it's the Knicks and the Celtics. Just what it is."
Amar'e Stoudemire also weighed in on what Garnett might have done to anger Anthony.
"It was more just talk," he said. "More talk more than anything. Words are pretty sharp, so when you say certain things, it gets under your skin and it gets you a little angry. And that happens to the best of us. We've got to make sure that we keep our composure and see if we can beat a team like Boston."
Garnett and Anthony are on pace to comprise part of the Eastern Conference frontcourt at the All-Star Game next month in Houston. The Celtics and Knicks meet again before that during a national TV game on Jan. 24 in Boston.
Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger brought some levity on the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden.
"That's testy? That's testy?" he asked. "I've seen way worse stuff in the '80s, and I wasn't even born in the '80s. So, if that's testy, I didn't see it."
Information from ESPN Deportes reporter Adriano Torres contributed to this report.