On the court, despite a fairy tale first night, Tracy McGrady has not done all that much for the Knicks. He already is playing through a banged up knee, his legs are heavy and tired, he said he won’t be 100 percent until next season, and the team is 0-3.
But off the court, he’s already had some benefits, according to the New York Times.
In a three-day period that began last Thursday — the day McGrady was acquired — the Knicks recorded 1.5 million page views on their Web site, the most for any three-day span since 2005.
For McGrady’s debut on Saturday, the MSG network reported 172,351 household viewers — the biggest audience for a Knicks game since Feb. 2, 2009, when they played the Cleveland Cavaliers. In three games with McGrady, the Knicks’ average viewership is 79 percent higher than their season average, according to MSG.
The Knicks reported a 40 percent spike in on-site merchandise sales during Saturday’s game at Madison Square Garden — including more than 200 McGrady T-shirts and more than 100 McGrady jerseys. All for a player who might be here for just 39 games.
The New York market is so starved for good basketball — or the hint of good basketball — that it will ravenously devour any sign of hope. They gravitate toward a star, even one that is imploding. Even one that’s turning out to be not that great. Even one that was got for its expiring contract, not its play.
It’s all a reminder just how big and how important that NYC market is to the NBA, and how great it would be to have a good team there again.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.