The Knicks blew out the Heat for the second time this season, this one coming in Miami and with Carmelo Anthony sidelined due to injury.
The loss didn’t sit well with LeBron James.
The reigning MVP did all he could, finishing with a near triple-double statistical line of 31 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. But the Knicks bombed away from distance with 18 three-pointers, and Miami’s defense continued to struggle, only forcing seven New York turnovers.
Afterward, James did something very unusual, but not unfamiliar for a superstar in Miami after losing a marquee matchup.
From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:
In case you aren’t up to speed on the postgame routines of the league’s biggest stars, they typically are done getting their exercise for the night after playing 39 of 48 minutes in an NBA contest.
Maybe it’s something about Miami.
In March of 2011, Kobe Bryant emerged from the locker room after his Lakers lost to the Heat, and began going through a full workout on Miami’s home floor, in full view of reporters and arena workers.
LeBron’s workout was more private, but the message he was trying to send was the same. He’s willing to put in as much work as necessary for his team to get better, and do so immediately. We’ll see if his teammates follow suit.
Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.
His swagger certainly remains intact.
Knicks president Phil Jackson compared New York’s No. 4 overall pick, Kristaps Porzingis, to Shawn Bradley.
Porzingis resisted that comparison, but he might appreciate these ones – to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki – a little more.
Knicks associate head coach Kurt Rambis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Perhaps the most successful European big men in recent times are Gasol, whom Rambis coached, and Nowitzki.
“He might be a combination of both of them,’’ Rambis said. ‘He can do so many things. You guys haven’t seen it yet. And some of it won’t come out for three, four, five years either. He’s got to grow up, mature, develop, get stronger and [get] used to the NBA game. He already understands basketball and knows what to do, and he’s an unselfish player. He makes really good decisions. It wasn’t like he was a blank slate coming here.’’
Aside from his intensive work ethic, Porzingis also has an unprecedented gift.
“He’s got 3-point range — like effortless 3-point range, too,’’ Rambis said. “It’s not even hard for him to shoot for distance.’’
I like Porzingis and think he has a bright NBA future, but is piling this level of praise on him really a good idea? Rambis adds the caveats that it could take years for Porzingis’ talent to translate, but this still sets up an incredibly high ceiling for Porzingis to reach.
Jackson and Knicks coach Derek Fisher had done a good job of keeping expectations in line, praising Porzingis’ work ethic and modest progress. Jackson might have gone too far with the Bradley comparison, but at least he limited the hype.
Rambis needs to show more perspective. Many rookies flash amazing potential before their first game. Far fewer become Hall of Famers. Ditto rookies who drill 3-pointers in practice relative to those who do it in games.
I still think Porzingis will be fine, and maybe in New York, an overhyping is inevitable. I’m just not sure Rambis is doing Porzingis any favors by contributing to it.