Associated Press

Three things we learned Wednesday: Knicks saga just gets weirder and weirder

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If you tried to pitch this New York Knicks season as a reality television show, would the executives laugh you out of the building because it’s unrealistic? Just a thought as we break down the takeaways from last night around the NBA.

1) Just when you thought things couldn’t get stranger with Knicks, Charles Oakley gets ejected from MSG, arrested.
Well, at least you can’t blame Phil Jackson or Carmelo Anthony for this part of the saga. However, the downward spiral into madness that has become the Knicks season picked up serious momentum Wednesday night.

Former Knicks enforcer Charles Oakley may be loved by the team’s fans, but he has had a rocky relationship with the franchise itself over the last decade plus — he has criticized the organization publicly, particularly owner James Dolan. So when Oakley got a ticket and showed up to Wednesday night’s game against the Clippers, sitting just a few rows behind Dolan, it raised some eyebrows. From there the official account (via the team and NYPD) is that Oakley was verbally combative and insulting to Dolan, security showed up, Oakley resisted and even shoved a security guard, and at that point he was thrown out of the building and arrested, all while Phil Jackson tried to calm him. Oakley was charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal trespassing.

Oakley’s version of events is that he bought a ticket and was just sitting there quietly when security came up to him and asked him why he was there — that Dolan wanted him thrown out for no reason. That’s when the confrontation started, and things got physical, because he refused to leave a seat that was his.

This part of the saga isn’t over as Oakley will have court dates coming up soon, he will have lawyers, and James Dolan will have his name back in the paper for something other than his band again.

Also, the Clippers (still without Chris Paul) beat the Knicks, while more Jackson/Anthony drama filled the air with Anthony not wanting to be forced out of town. Oakley is just a part of the spiral down this season has become in Madison Square Garden.

2) Cavaliers’ “remember we own the East” tour continued with win over Pacers (while Raptors, Celtics lose). The Indiana Pacers had won seven in a row and were one of the hot teams in the East. They had done that thanks to very good defense — best in the NBA over the seven games of the streak — and the one thing they were doing better was defending the arc, taking away three-point chances for opponents.

Enter the Cavaliers, who got 36 threes up as a team, led by Kyle Korver who was 8-of-9 from deep. Throw in 29 from Kyrie Irving, 25 from LeBron James, and the fact as a team the Cavaliers shot 62.9 percent between 3 and 23 feet from the rim, and you get a 132-117 win where the Cavs offense overpowered that Pacers defense.

Adding to the reminder the Cavaliers own the East, the Celtics fell to a Sacramento Kings team playing without the suspended DeMarcus Cousins 108-92, and the Toronto Raptors lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-109 behind 31 points from Andrew Wiggins.

Interesting test for the Pacers on Friday against the hot Washington Wizards.

3) Injuries piled up: Bucks’ Jabari Parker, Nuggets Kenneth Faried join the list. A couple of what could be critical injuries came up on Wednesday night around the league. Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker has been having a borderline All-Star season averaging 20.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game went down with what appeared could be a serious knee injury. If he’s lost for any stretch of time it’s a real blow to a team currently two games behind Detroit for the final playoff slot in the East.

Elsewhere, Denver big man Kenneth Faried rolled his ankle, left the game, then was seen leaving the arena on clutches. Faried has played well for a Nuggets team trying to hold on to the final playoff slot in the West.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.