The way it looked was Hawks forward Marvin Williams mugged Knicks counterpart Shawne Williams in the back of the head, Shawne Williams bucked up, and then Marvin started swinging.
But Marvin said his outburst instead was in reaction to a culmination of unspecified actions by the Knicks.
“There was just things going on throughout the game,” Marvin said today in his first public comments since the incident. “I finally reacted, I guess. What happened has happened. I’ve obviously gotten my punishment. I accept full responsibility for what I did. Just move on from here.”
Officials ejected Marvin from the game and the NBA suspended him for two games. He sat out Saturday’s loss at Dallas and also will miss Wednesday’s game against the Raptors at Philips Arena. The league suspended Shawne Williams for a game.
The Hawks play at New York on Feb. 16. As far as Marvin is concerned, there will be no carry-over from Friday’s fight.
“It’s all good,” Marvin said. “I have no hard feelings towards Shawne. What happened, happened. I am sure when we go to New York it will be interesting. But I had no problems with him before the game and I have no problems with him today. Like I said, some things happened throughout the game and I just finally reacted.”
Hawks coach Larry Drew got caught up in the aftermath when Marvin Williams shoved his coach away as he tried to restrain him.
“That’s kind of been a joke [among the team] the last couple of days,” Marvin said. “I did apologize to him. I told him I had no idea at that time who was who, or what was what. He said it was no hard feelings. Coach has been around this a long time. He’s seen things like that before and he said he understood.”
Drew laughed off the shove from Marvin the day after the game. And today he said the Knicks fracas could be good for his team’s reputation around the league.
The Hawks have long been known as an athletic, finesse team but not particularly tough or physical. Drew said he thinks the fracas with the Knicks could help change that perception.
“I really do,” Drew said. “I don’t condone fighting in any shape, form or fashion. But I know this is a game where emotions do get high. The one thing as a team, you don’t want to be labeled a ’soft’ team. Through the course of the season, there are going to be some moments there those type things break out.
“I don’t condone fighting. But certainly you don’t want to be put into a situation where you feel things got tough and you backed away, because that will carry around the league. As a team you just don’t want that label. What happened with Marv is just an unfortunate incident and we have just got to move on from it.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat