Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is in Indianapolis. But he stayed back at the team hotel and did not attend Knicks shoot around at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday morning. Anthony is suspended for tonight's game against the Pacers, a battle of division leaders in the Eastern Conference.
The NBA suspended Anthony for one game after he tried to confront Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics following Monday night's game in New York. Anthony attempted to speak with Garnett at the Celtics locker room and near the team bus. Anthony was upset over Garnett's language during a 4th quarter altercation. Anthony says he was just trying to talk to Garnett. But NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson said it is unacceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game.
"That's their decision and we just have to move on," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who said he kept Anthony back at the team hotel to rest since he is not available to play tonight. "You can't go back and get it. You have to live for the next day."
"They're different," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel when asked about facing the Knicks without Anthony. "But they're every bit as lethal. He's obviously the best scorer in the game right now. So it's a little bit different. But we don't view it as a weaker opponent in any way."
Woodson declined to reveal his starting lineup without Anthony.
"This is a big game," said Woodson. "This Pacers team is playing extremely well here at home. We're trying to stay at the top of the leaderboard. It should be a good game. I feel good about the guys that are going to play tonight. I want them to feel good about their play."
The Pacers have won eight games in a row at home, coming off a convincing win over the Miami Heat Tuesday.
"These are definitely two big games on our schedule," said Paul George, who scored 29 points against the Heat. "We did the first obstacle. It would be good if we get this one tonight."
"We have to make sure we move the ball," Tyson Chandler said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. "We have to play unselfish tonight. We have to do a good job of continuing to attack the glass because they are excellent rebounders. That's the way they beat Miami."
Pacers point guard George Hill watched shoot around Thursday morning as he recovers from bronchitis. But Vogel says Hill will play tonight.
"He's still a little bit weak," said Vogel. "We just have to keep an eye on his energy level."
The Knicks and Pacers tip-off at 8:00 p.m. tonight in a nationally televised game on TNT. Pacers Hall of Famer Reggie Miller will serve as color analyst on the broadcast.