Midway through the third quarter of the Knicks’ win over the Sixers on Sunday, Carmelo Anthony apparently was done wrestling with Spencer Hawes. After the two were battling for position for most of the possession, and once the shot went up, Anthony smacked Hawes in the back of the head with his right hand, and waited for his reaction.
It came swiftly, with Hawes turning and getting in Anthony’s face, before Tyson Chandler came to the defense of his All-Star teammate and shoved Hawes pretty good, before all parties were separated by the officials.
It was undoubtedly an intentional physical act by Anthony that started it all, but he won’t be suspended for his actions.
Both Hawes and Chandler received double technicals and Anthony, in addition, was called for a flagrant foul. He said after the game that Hawes had elbowed him prior to the incident.
The league, according to a source, reviewed the matter but has decided against suspending Anthony, who has been in the middle of several skirmishes — both with officials and opponents — this season.
The referees at the time didn’t rule Anthony’s hit as a “punching foul,” because if they had, it would have resulted in an automatic ejection. The league office must have viewed the play similarly (perhaps as more of a slap or a swipe) in order to decide it wasn’t worthy of further punishment.
Anthony and Chandler each have 10 technical fouls on the season, tying them for fifth in that category with the likes of Matt Barnes of the Clippers and Kendrick Perkins of the Thunder. J.R. Smith is right behind them with nine, so it’s an issue the team may want to address and attempt to get under control before things get much more physical and intense once the postseason begins.