by Russ Bengtson
For this edition of Game Notes, I thought I’d try something new. I’m not going to write anything about the game. At all. Not even the score, or who won or lost. Because if you really needed that information, you’d already have found it. And neither the Pacers nor the Knicks require further analysis. But, in the interests of basketball, I’ll sum up the game action in one sentence. You can go from there:
The Knicks showed a complete inability to stop Kareem Rush (10-13, 24 points, zero turnovers) or the devastating Dunleavy/Foster pick-and-roll.
There. That’s all you get. Happy? Good.
Jamaal Tinsley may not be playing, but he sure can dress. Resplendent in a brown suit that probably cost more than most reporters’s entire wardrobes, he swaggers in from the trainer’s room—and immediately stumbles over one of Jermaine O’Neal’s giant sneakers. He yells in surprise, sits down on the bench grabbing at his ankle. Great. I’m in the corner, talking quietly to erstwhile New Yorker Troy Murphy, who at that moment is talking about resident character Travis Diener. Diener, who looks like a college freshman who still hasn’t learned to shave, chooses that moment to emerge from the back, sees Jamaal still muttering over the shoe. Decides to make his feelings on the matter known. Loudly. “WELL, WHY DON’T YOU WATCH WHERE THE F*CK YOU’RE GOING?” Murphy laughs, shakes his head. “See what we have to put up with every day?”
The funniest part about the whole thing is that Jermaine isn’t even playing—at the time of the incident, he’s sitting in the stands talking to Knicks assistant George Glymph, who was his high school coach back in South Carolina.
For the record, Murphy doesn’t understand the Shaq trade either.
There are 15 New York Giants in the building tonight. Plax. McQuarters. The entire offensive line. No Eli, though. And no Strahan—he was at the Izod the night before. He knows what state he plays in.
You know how rookies are always getting sent out for donuts and stuff. Well, I think the Knick vets have been sending Wilson Chandler out for tattoos. I swear he’s got a new one every game.
Anytime David Harrison doesn’t play, it should be listed as DNP-THC.
Joey Crawford didn’t call a single tech. For shame.
The tunnel is literally crawling with Giants. They’re everywhere. I hedge my bets, shaking hands and saying “congratulations” to any large men who aren’t Knicks or Pacers. It’s entirely possible that I congratulated a bodyguard or two. I don’t know. The only reason I’m even mentioning this at all is to make Sam and Ben extremely jealous. Plax isn’t back there. I would have recognized him.
When the Pacers locker room opens, Jermaine O’Neal is sitting in the back already talking. He stays the entire time, until everyone else is gone, speaking candidly about his future (he thinks he has five or six All-Star level years left in him provided he waits until he’s truly 100 percent before he comes back), despite the fact that he doesn’t know where that future lies (he’s already spoken to his family about the possibility that they might have to move). When he’s asked about getting a fresh start, whether he’d request one or accept one, the long pause before his answer says more than his actual answer does. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
He also defends Isiah again, as he did the last time the Pacers were here, despite the fact that the Knicks are 21 games under .500. His defense is admirable, if a little thin. (“They just need to address some small issues—like shooting.”)
Troy Murphy gets dressed using what he refers to as “The Uncle Cliffy Method”—shoes and socks first, then the pants. Apparently Troy learned it from Cliff Robinson himself in Golden State. Of course, Cliff probably started getting dressed like that because he was high as hell.
A female reporter from ESPN the Mag sits next to Marquis Daniels to ask him some questions, and Stephen Graham can’t let an opportunity pass. “SO, LI’L WAYNE,” he exclaims loudly, “HOW DOES IT FEEL TO PLAY IN THE NBA?”
Travis Diener, part 2. Diener sits in the corner, soaking his feet in a cooler full of ice. Tinsley, still in his suit, grabs one of those neoprene toe covers, fills it with ice, and grinds it into Diener’s bare neck and shoulder. “I KNEW you were gonna do that!” Diener exclaims. Tinsley moves away across the locker room, and Diener fires ice cubes at him over, around and through the assembled media.
It’s not over.
Twenty minutes later. I’m back in the corner, talking to Murph and half-listening to Jermaine. Diener’s in the corner, wearing jeans and no shirt. He grabs a Chap Stick out of the top of his locker, pops the cap, puts some on. Pauses, throws the tube down in the corner. “Those MOTHERF*CKERS!” He laughs. “They put Flex-All on it!” He goes in the back, looks around, comes back, gets a bottle of water to wash away the taste. Upon further inspection, and with the help of Graham, the offending substance is revealed to be Icy Hot. Which apparently isn’t burning quite as much as expected. Diener is no doubt already plotting revenge. The chief suspects appear to be Foster and Tinsley. “Oh man, it’s war now.”