No one ever taught New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony how to hug, but he sure knows how to tackle.
Late in the third quarter of the Miami Heat's 106-91 victory over New York Saturday night, Anthony channeled his inner Luke Kuechly, wrapping LeBron James up before he could score an easy bucket in transition:
Heat president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra wanted a flagrant foul called, but it never came.
James, to his credit, took the foul in stride, popping right back up as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. There was no confrontation with Anthony or arguing with the referees to follow. There was only nonchalance on his part.
After the game, Anthony expressed no remorse for his hard foul on James, per NBA.com's Adam Zagoria:
Told that LeBron is wearing an ice pack on his shoulder after Melo's open-court tackle, Anthony smiled and said, "I did my job then."— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) February 2, 2014
Anthony also told reporters he had no choice.
"He was coming at me full speed, man" Anthony explained in the video above.
When you're a fellow superstar, tackling a known buddy in the open court, you have the luxury of being honest and shrugging these things off. Both Anthony and James handled the situation like pros or, you know, friends who have no qualms about engaging in the occasional tackle-football grudge match.
"As long as he was all right, that's all I care about," Anthony said in the above postgame interview.
And as long as it's Anthony, not Mirza Teletovic, bringing him to the floor, that's all James (probably) cares about too.