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Winner of the Carmelo Anthony-Kevin Garnett battle is…

Jan. 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) have words on the court during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Boston won 102-96. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

… the fans! Of course it’s the us, the NBAbrethren. Think about it for a second. We just watched two players, two mega stars nonetheless, in Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett scuffle all over the basketball court, with ‘Melo trying to scuffle just as much off of it as he “hung out” by the Celtics team bus after the game.

Now with chaos ensuing, we have everything NBA fans dream of… an intense, dramatic and at least “in-season” rivalry, where the two teams will meet another three times before the end of the season (twice in Boston, once more in New York).

We’re going to have hostile basketball, trash talking, video clips, exaggerrated interviews, social media blowups and lord willing, a continued storyline heading into the playoffs. Another fact: If the playoffs started today, take a guess at who would meet in the first round. That’s right, the #2 Knicks would host the #7 Celtics. After last night, please, please let this happen.

Now, I don’t need to go into the rant about how much KG is disliked on the basketball court, his reputation proceeds him. But we saw a side of Carmelo Anthony last night that we have never seen before. Angry Carmelo. Like he needed even more support from New York’s MSG faithful, now he’s chirping raucously at one of the league’s most hated players? Spike Lee was having a baby on the sideline. And we all know that Spike represents the “people.”

My favorite part of the Carmelo video (linked to above) was the fact that halfway through the clip, Rajon Rondo just wanders into the picture with his hands in his pockets. Remember, this is the guy who didn’t even play in the game because he was already serving a 1-game suspension, and now he’s just casually surveying the scene? We’re even getting unintentional comedy out of MeloGate, BusGate, whatever “Gate” label will be cast upon this. But we all love it.

Thursday, January 24th is when Round 2 is scheduled. This time in Boston. Like Spike, they’ll be ready.

mhallihan