by Russ Bengtson
Among the players who did not suit up for the Miami Heat last night: Dwyane Wade, Jason Williams, Shawn Marion, Dorell Wright, Marcus Banks, Udonis Haslem, Alonzo Mourning, Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, James Posey, Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Tim Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, Matt Geiger, Willie Burton, Glen Rice, Steve Smith, Rony Seikaly, Bimbo Coles, Ike Austin, Harold Miner, Billy Owens, Keith Askins, Alan Ogg and Grant Long.
I pretty much vowed that I wouldn’t go to Isiah’s press conferences anymore—that I wouldn’t bother writing down (or even listening to) anything he said. But Lang was sort of convinced that he might get fired, so I took notes in the pregame conference anyway. I might as well share, right? (Of course he didn’t get fired—at this point Zeke is making John Gotti look like the Velcro Don.) ANYWAY:
“I think this is probably one of the toughest and most difficult challenges that coaches have in the League.”
(Um, what about the poor FANS?)
“Fortunately enough for me, I love basketball. I think I have the greatest job in the world—I get to go to the gym every night.”
(He went on in this vein for a while—my writing hand couldn’t keep up. But of course he had a refrain later that I had slightly better luck with.)
“The good thing and the bad thing about me is that I love basketball. I watch it every day. I dream about it, think about it—it consumes my every thought. I’m fortunate to still consider it a joy and a love.”
(Maybe after Isiah gets canned by the Knicks he can get a job with Successories.)
Apparently there was a brush fire in Westchester that caused all sorts of traffic problems and made everyone late. Nate Robinson fell asleep en route—no, he wasn’t driving. One of the Knicks beatwriters laments that no one got a photo of Isiah stuck in traffic alongside the fire, just so it could go on the front page with the headline “FIRE, ISIAH.”
Someone asks Malik Rose a question pregame, and he declines comment, saying that he doesn’t talk pregame because “it’s like voodoo.” Um yes, but without the dolls.
New Jordan shipment today, apparently. Both Fred Jones and Jared Jeffries have been blessed with new Air Jordan IIs in a Knick colorway (Jones high, Jeffries low). Fred Jones also has a baby blue McAdoo Braves jersey in his locker, presumably to get signed after the game. It’s also worth noting that Jared Jeffries last name is spelled wrong (JEFFERIES) on his locker nameplate. It’s that kind of attention to detail that’s gotten the Knicks to where they are today.
Referee Ken Mauer strolls down the hallway in a suit, hair slicked back, looking like a one-episode-and-you’re-whacked Sopranos cast member.
Over on the other side, the Heat are having a meet-and-greet. In addition to the nameplates on the backs of their jerseys, perhaps they should also wear “Hello, my name is __________” tags on the front. Along with Daequan Cook and Chris Quinn, who both spent time in the D-League this year, the Heat have callups from three different D-League teams. Active from the 2006 championship team tonight are…um, nobody important.
Actually, hardly any Heat are in the locker room at all—they’re all out on the court, presumably learning plays as well as each other’s names.
The arena is STILL nearly full at tip-off. No wonder why Isiah hasn’t been fired yet. Who in their right mind would go to a game featuring two teams with a combined 100-plus losses? Oh yeah, me.
Quick, who are Stephane Lasme, Blake Ahearn and Kasib Powell?
A) The group that sings the National Anthem
B) The newest members of the Knicks City Dancers
C) Members of the Miami Heat
How you know it’s a terrible game: Celebrities include Billy and Stephen Baldwin (smart Alec), a guy from some band named ‘Oar,’ a couple of Rangers, and a UFC champion named ‘Rampage.’ It’s the F list!
It happens too.
Yep, right after halftime and right before the fourth.
Ricky Davis earns the ire of every journalist on the premises by hitting a few clutch threes and forcing overtime.
What? Oh sorry, I was watching the McDonald’s game.
Final score, 103-96, Knicks.
Riles: “We just couldn’t overcome the terrible disparity.” That would be the rebounding disparity that saw the Knicks outboard the Heat 69 to 42. Good job, uh, whatever your names are.
Ricky Davis has played every game for the Heat this season. If he makes it through all 82, someone should nominate him for a Congressional Medal of Honor.
Riles: “I hope that we can get Marcus [Banks] back for at least two weeks.” Marcus Banks probably does not share the sentiment.
Oh yeah, Daequan Cook left the game early after getting, as Riley puts it, “smacked in the face.” “If he’d gone to Kentucky, he’d have gotten right back up—I’m kidding.”
Fun fact: The Heat are 0-14 on Wednesdays this year.
Riley again: “You’re gonna have your good days and bad days, you’re gonna have your good weeks and bad weeks, you’re gonna have your good years and bad years. This is a bad year.”
Isiah Thomas fails to get fired.
Jamal Crawford speaks to the media in his shirt, tie, jacket—and a towel. Oh well, the TV cameras only shoot the top half, right? He assures all assembled that one day the Knicks and Heat will be back to their late ‘90s heights. He does not give a timeframe.
Someone jokingly mentions to Malik that after his offensive display the other night (he scored a season-high 20 over the weekend), it was shocking that he didn’t play tonight. Malik is not bothered. “Tonight’s one of those nights I didn’t mind.”