After seemingly years of hype, Tiago Splitter got a very cold reception to the NBA.
He was trying to cover Blake Griffin on the right low block when Griffin put a lighting-quick spin move on him, went baseline and threw down a monster dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
There’s talent in Europe, but not the explosive athletes you see nightly in the NBA like Griffin. It was a fine how-do-you-do.
If Splitter did not come in as a hyped European player you would have said he had a solid first game. A workman like game. He had a dunk to get his first basket (assist from Manu Ginobili), finished with two points, two rebounds and a +4 in 10 minutes. Some will expect more, but Gregg Popovich warned against that.
“It’s kind of funny how this all evolves,” Popovich said. “Everybody knows he’s a pretty good player. He was an MVP in Europe and they won this and they won that and he’s experienced. Then all of a sudden it got into, ‘well, you got another big guy who can step out and shoot those threes.’ Well, this kid never shot a three in his life. Where did all this come from?
“This isn’t the next Tim Duncan, this is a blue collar guy who is a good rebounder, a good defender, high quality worker, a blue collar guy. This isn’t a throw him the ball and go score 24 tonight.”
Splitter did some nice things. He fought Griffin for a rebound and ended up with a tie ball. He ran floor well on defense with DeAndre Jordan. He got the ball in the post and a smart kickout to Ginobili in the corner, who whipped it on to Gary Neal for a three.
It was a solid, blue collar performance. And if the Spurs can get that consistently they will be much better off for it.
Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.
Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.
Aaron Gordon has backslid this season while playing out of his comfort zone at small forward, but there are still signs he’s progressing from great dunker toward great player – like this crafty inbounds pass off Marcus Morris‘ back.
The NBA refuses to grant continuation when a player senses an intentional foul in the backcourt and launches a heave.
Fortunately, players continue to shoot anyway – which produced this fun Brandon Jennings non-basket.
Matt Barnes infamously fought then-Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Barnes even bragged that violence is sometimes the answer.
His self-earned reputation won’t earn him the benefit of the doubt over an incident earlier today.
Sacramento Kings star Matt Barnes is wanted by NYPD for questioning after he allegedly choked a woman inside a nightclub early Monday morning — and TMZ Sports got video of him right after the incident.
Law enforcement sources tell us cops got a 911 call to Avenue Nightclub after midnight, reporting a man assaulting 2 women and another man. We’re told things got physical when Barnes allegedly choked one woman during an argument — and when 2 other people tried to intervene … he punched both of them.
In the video, Matt and a teammate — it appears to be DeMarcus Cousins — are talking about the fight. The teammate is clearly heard saying, “Matt hit the s*** out this ni***!”
Barnes was also arrested for domestic violence against Govan in 2011. But she said the incident was blown out of proportion, and the charges were dropped.
The Kings have already played at the Knicks and Nets, so Sacramento doesn’t return to New York this season.