A holiday garden tradition was shattered on Monday when the NBA forced the Knicks to play their first ever game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day outside of New York City.
Two years ago, the Knicks played their first MLK Day Matinee outside the garden – in Brooklyn – but there were logistical problems with the MSG Grammys. This time, however, the NBA brought them to Cleveland, where they played against Cavaliers 106-86 in the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Some members of the Knicks organization were disappointed because they wanted to continue a garden tradition. Knicks President Steve Mills did not attend on Monday.
The Knicks, which were also removed from the league's Christmas list, are the NBA's standard bearers for setting diversity in their front office.
Mills and GM Scott Perry became the first African-American front office tandem in the history of the NBA. The majority of the staff / scouting team consists of blacks, including Craig Robinson, Harold Ellis, Gerald Madkins, Fred Cofield, Allan Houston and Walker Russell. They had an African American trainer in David Fizdale before they released him in December.
Perry, whose father Lowell was the first black assistant coach in the NFL, attended MLK Day. A ceremony was held prior to the game based on King's memorable quotes. The Knicks and Cavs wore t-shirts that said before the game:
"We cannot go alone."
The Knicks shifted their MLK Day record to 22-12.
The Knicks and Lakers gave up their respective practices to attend David Stern's private memorial service at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday morning. The Knicks host the Lakers on Wednesday
The Cavaliers rookie point guard Darius Garland, who was selected fifth in the draft, was very busy on the Knicks' radar with internal discussions about buying back number 3. Garland, who scored 12.3 points on average at 40.7 percent shooting, had one of his worst games on Monday – finishing 4 out of 20.
According to several sources, some members of the coaching staff preferred to swap a few slots back, but Perry held on to his weapons and insisted on RJ Barrett as an option.
Garland wasn't just fighting. Her 2018 lottery pick, Point Guard Collin Sexton was 6 out of 20.
"Call Reggie [Bullock]Said Elfrid Payton. “He did a good job at Garland, starting with him. It was a team thing. We knew they would get their shots. Just make it as hard as possible. "
John Beilein, coach of Knicks rookie second-round Ignas Brazdeikas last season in Michigan, believes the left 6-foot-7 sniper will have an NBA future due to its versatility. Brazdeikas had no chance at the Knicks, but was successful in the G-League Westchester Knicks with an average of 19.8 points in 13 games with 48 percent shooting. Brazdeikas did not play against the Cavs.
"He is so big and tough that he can sometimes play different positions," said Beilein. "He is a tough boy and you can play two little strikers and he can protect many of the 4 men in this league. Eventually he becomes a player. He has to learn the NBA, the distance defense. He's got it all. He played a year College basketball is currently the trend for many players of his talent, but there's a big learning curve waiting for him in the NBA. "
In his second interview after the December settlement, David Fizdale was on “The Jump” and repeated that he had no “regret”. However, he added: “For me personally, the most difficult thing was that I didn't fulfill what I went for. I wanted to give the fans a relative team, a winner. The fan base was so great and so passionate about the team. The fact that I couldn't get over the hump where I wanted to take it; This part is a difficult pill to swallow. "
Dennis Smith Jr. (sloping strain), who has been out since December 23, may be back in action just in time for Friday's game against Toronto. It will be reassessed Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Then we have a pretty good idea," said Miller. "We'll see if he's ready."