When you say Anthony Peeler to most NBA fans, they will probably automatically think of one specific shot. Not “shot” as in jump shot or game-winning shot but a shot to the jaw of his friend Kevin Garnett during Game 6 of the 2004 WCSF. A shot that Kings fans ranked second to only Doug Christie’s uppercut on Rick Fox in 2002.
“It was retaliation after he hit me with an elbow,” Peeler said after the 104-87 win. “It’s always the guy that responds that is the one that gets suspended or ejected. So if I get suspended or ejected, I think that he should as well.”
KG was fined just $7,500 as Peeler was hit with a two-game suspension without pay.
“I’m surprised that it was a little dirty,” Garnett said about the punch. “I played with him a couple of years, so I know what kind of player he is. It was surprising, but I wasn’t going to let anybody just hit me. Never have, never will.”
Hmmmmm…KG is one of the greatest forwards ever, but when it comes to fighting, we all know he tends to pick on “small guys” and white guys and doesn’t want to get into it with “big guys” — like Antonio McDyess big (I wish I could share Antonio’s funny commentary about this altercation).
Well, who needs deadly hands when you have weapons. Before Game 7, KG gave one of the best and most KG-like quotes of his NBA career.
“It’s Game 7, man. That’s it. It’s for all the marbles,” Garnett said. “Sitting in the house, I’m loading up the pump. I’m loading up the Uzi. I got a couple M-16s, a couple 9. I got a couple joints with some silencers on them. I’m just loading clips, a couple grenades. I got a missile launcher. I’m ready for war.”
He wasn’t kidding either. KG dropped 32 points, 21 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 steals on the Peeler-less Kings; 15 of those 32 points came in the 4th quarter, which was more than all five of the King’s starter. As for those starters, Chris Webber had just 16 points, Peja Stojakovic missed 9 of 12 shots, Mike Bibby missed 9 of 13, Vlade Divac only had six boards and zero blocks and their leading scorer was none other than Doug Christie with 21 points and 0 uppercuts.
When the dust cleared on the battlefield, KG, Sam-I-Am, Spree and the rest of the Wolves were victorious and now had an upcoming date (disaster) with Shaq, Kobe, The Mailman, GP, and Rick Fox.
PEELER, THE LAKERS AND HORNETS
The other play some people might remember Peeler for is another he probably doesn’t want to be remembered for. If you watch any Best Dunks Ever Montage or Alonzo Mourning Career Mix you will probably see Peeler getting his dunk rejected by Zo (20-second mark of the following video).
For me, it’s not this moment between the Lakers and Hornets that I think of. It’s the rumor of the Lakers initially offering Peeler to the Hornets for the 13th pick in the 1996 draft, which became Kobe Bryant — and you thought Vlade Divac for Kobe turned out to be a steal.