Phil Jackson tugged on Superman’s cape and then insulted him. Apparently, the Zen Master forgot that two legends he once coached, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, were masters at using any perceived slight for added motivation to rip your heart out.
As expected, LeBron James arrived at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday angry, rested and out for blood. That lethal combination slapped the Knicks back to reality as the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a 126-94 victory aided and abetted by the Knicks on the second night of a tough back-to-back without Derrick Rose.
“It wasn’t going to be easy,” Kristaps Porzingis said.
And Phil only made things that much tougher when he crossed the line last month in an interview with ESPN by publicly discussing LeBron’s departure from Miami — not exactly topical — and referring to LeBron’s friends turned business associates as his “posse.”
Jackson on Tuesday admitted he was wrong to be speaking about a player on another team. So instead, he publicly called out the Knicks’ best player for being a ball stopper.
Carmelo Anthony left the Garden as angry as LeBron was when he arrived. The final result and the fact that Carmelo scored eight points and was a minus-31 certainly had something to do with it. But mostly Anthony was upset with the loose cannon of a team president who in an interview on Tuesday with CBS Sports Network decided that now — in the middle of what was a four-game winning streak — was the proper time to let the world know that Melo stalls the offense.
Phil Jackson knows how to make the wrong people angry.
(Steven Freeman/NBAE/Getty Images)
“Oh, come on man,” Anthony said late Wednesday when asked about Jackson’s comments. “Sorry, sorry, I don’t want to answer those questions.”
Anthony began heading to the exit before he paused to take a general question about the game and then fielded one more questions about Jackson.
“Is it productive for him to say that during a four-game winning streak and you playing well,” I asked Carmelo.
“I don’t even know what was said,” Anthony replied. “So I just don’t want to even talk about that. What he’s talking about exactly, I want to stay away from that at this point. My main focus is my teammates. Whatever Phil said, he said. I have nothing to say about that.”
Phil should have taken the same high road rather than add more fuel to an already simmering feud with Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony scores a measly eight points on the heels of Jackson’s comments about him.
“Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than — we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop,” Jackson said on Tuesday. “That is one of the things we work with. But he’s adjusted to (the triangle), he knows what he can do and he’s willing to see its success.”
Earth to Phil: Since you haven’t been paying attention, the Knicks are not running the triangle with any regularity. So who cares if Melo is or isn’t compatible in an offense the Knicks are phasing out?
But it’s bigger than that. No other team president speaks this way about his most accomplished player. You can think it and/or say it directly to the player. But you don’t go public with it. There’s nothing to be gained.
It is already being suggested that this is Phil playing mind games and coaching the team through the media. Nice try. For one, Phil is not the coach. In fact, he’s not doing the actual coach, Jeff Hornacek, any favors with his analysis of Carmelo.
Just like Phil he didn’t help Hornacek by going after LeBron, who scored 25 points on 10 shots in 32 minutes. He sat the entire fourth quarter while Hornacek waved the white flag with 10 minutes remaining. It wasn’t a game in the second half.
LeBron James was a man on a mission at the Garden Wednesday night.
The Cavs, with Kyrie Irving scoring a game-high 28 points in 30 minutes, have beaten the Knicks by a total of 61 points in two games this season. And now Rose is out with back spasms.
The Knicks better pray this is a short-term deal because while Brandon Jennings is more than serviceable he’s better with limited minutes.
The same is true of Joakim Noah, who played 15 minutes and was a minus 29. As a public service, we’ll remind you that Jackson signed Noah to $72 million over four years last summer.
Phil should be more concerned about the health of his point guard and the future of his beaten down center. There is no upside to insulting LeBron or calling out Carmelo during a four-game winning streak.
There’s nothing Zen about that. It’s just plain stupid.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News