Unless there was still some discounted Domino’s Pizza intrigue to be settled, Wednesday’s Nets-Knicks was over. With 30 seconds left, the Knicks led, 110-91.
That’s when Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tried to score on a layup, but was knocked hard to the floor by Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Knicks teammate Willy Hernangomez then reached to help Hollis-Jefferson up, to demonstrate his concern for an unintentionally hard, potentially dangerous foul and to show some humanity.
But then new Knicks “firebrand” Brandon Jennings yanked Hernangomez away from Hollis-Jefferson. Didn’t matter if the fallen was hurt, that it was garbage time or that Hernangomez was compelled to let an opponent know he doesn’t take either’s professional status lightly.
Jennings, ejected from the Knicks’ next game — his sixth career ejection — wanted Hernangomez and the rest of us to know that there will be none of that, not in his house, not on his watch!
Afterward, Hernangomez, who should’ve told Jennings to mind his own basketball business, was confused but newly schooled in the ways of NBA and American sports culture: You demand respect in exchange for none.
“I’m not going to help anyone again in the game,” he said. “In Spain, we know every player there. Someone fouls him hard, you try to help him. Not here. Not anymore. Maybe a Spanish guy from my country.”
Helping an opponent to his feet — similar to trying to break one’s fall as he tries to save a loose ball while steaming toward an opponent’s bench (wouldn’t Jennings expect such benevolence?) — is not a sign of weakness.
This is another Knicks team even minimally discerning basketball fans will have to swallow extra hard to root for.
Even MSG’s Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier had a hard time keeping their sunny sides up on Friday, as the Knicks were hit with six T’s against the Celtics. After Carmelo Anthony was tossed in the second quarter for two technicals after one whistle, they took Anthony’s side — he may have been unfairly whistled for a foul. But then, they asked, after his first T, “Why didn’t he just walk away?” from referee Tony Brothers.
The next day it was reported and unilaterally “confirmed” by Anthony that he and Brothers have a “history.” Don’t know about that, but what about Anthony’s history? That was his seventh NBA ejection!
Then there’s new Knick Joakim Noah, the easy-to-anger anti-militarist who refused to attend a team meal with cadets at West Point.
Wednesday, in a Veterans Day salute, he was the one Knick who didn’t wear game-issued, NBA “Hoops for Troops” socks.
Is there no one in Noah’s milieu — Phil Jackson, perhaps — to explain to him some indisputable facts of life, specifically his?
Noah’s a first-generation American of a black French father. Is he unable to consider what would be if not for the combined Allied Forces’ Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944, the start of the liberation of France from the master race, genocidal Nazis?
Or would Noah have condemned such a military operation? Would he, and his father before him, have even been born — or born free — had it not been for the U.S. military, thousands of men, including West Pointers, buried in France, many in graves marked, “Known Only To God?”
And so the one Knick who should get it far more than the rest is the one who doesn’t get it at all. It’s nauseating.
Then there’s another new Knick, Derrick Rose, who, at 28 and a college man — Memphis — exhibits the discretion of a slug. At his welcome-to-the-Knicks news conference, shown on MSG, a vulgarity so casually flowed from his mouth he provided evidence of zero social awareness.
Then his preseason was abridged by a court case in which he and pals admitted to have practiced the Triangle Offense — during three-on-one sex.
Again, these Knicks, unless we only consider that they’re Knicks — and nothing else, better or worse — are tough to root for. To borrow from post-election protestors, “Not my team!”
Perhaps we’ll take the too-late advice Breen and Frazier gave Anthony, Friday, and “just walk away.” And, having helped push us out, we won’t need Brandon Jennings to help us up.
When broadcasts become vocabulary tests …
“Which way to the attic?”
It’s as if someone pulled a switch that removed plain talk, replacing it with long-form silliness, as if unintentionally funny is the new funny.
Saturday during Nets-Suns, YES play-by-player Ryan Ruocco first told us that Nets’ coach Kenny Atkinson is impressed with Justin Hamilton’s “verticality.”
Hamilton has the ability, said Rucco, “to go up, vertically.”
Moments later, when the Nets’ 6-foot-9 forward Luis Scola blocked a shot, Ruocco said he was able to do so by “going up, vertically.”
Unless one can “go up” horizontally, I think he meant by jumping.
Saturday, ESPN’s Steve Levy, deep into a long — four minutes — replay review stoppage in Pitt-Clemson, said, “We are right next to the instant-replay booth.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, posing as an expert, Friday, discussed NFL strategy and stats with Mark Schlereth. Smith once told ESPN’s audience that teams looking to tie or take the lead late in games should try field goals on third down because, if they miss, “they can try again on fourth down.”
Then there’s the King of Colossally Wrong Comedy, Mike Francesa, who Friday told CBS’s Gary Danielson the top college teams are “home free.” The next day, Nos. 2, 3 and 4 — Michigan, Clemson and Washington — lost.
‘We’ll be right back after this commercial break!’
What’s killing NFL ratings? Here’s one: Rams-Jets, replay stoppage to determine/guess the spot after a third-down play, so off to commercials. Back from commercials, it’s ruled a fourth down. Punt. Back to commercials.
FOX sideline reporter Peter Schrager, during Rams-Jets, wasn’t called on a lot, but made his observations — delivered concisely so not to intrude — count. He saw, knew, reported what was worth knowing.
So 9-0 Washington, Saturday on FOX, forsakes its school colors to come out dressed in Nike Bad-Boy Black, and the eight-point home favorite loses by 13 to USC. Kismet.
ESPN sideline college football apologist Jerry Punch, during Baylor-Oklahoma, reported that massively and perhaps criminally scandalized Baylor — he didn’t report that — is at a disadvantage as per assistant coach Phil Bennett’s plaint that, “We have 63 scholarship players left, that’s all!”