The most interesting thing about this game was that the Tel Aviv coach would not leave the game when he was tossed by the replacement refs until he was threatened with a forfeit. The ESPN report is here and the New York Times details the role of the Rabbi in trying to restore peace at Mid-Court.
Regardless of the merits of the ejection, do you think the striking referees got a little chuckle out of this one? Someone should interview the regular refs to find out how they would have handled an international incident during a charity game.
Overall, in my opinion the refs handled it the way they should have. But, clearly folks had a different take on the significance of this exhibition/NBA Pre-season/Charity/Community Building Game.
Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman -- founder of the charity game's beneficiary, the Migdal Orh orphanage -- said "I said to [the official], 'This is not a regular game, this is a game for the children and the children are watching and I don't want the children to see a picture of a fight. I wanted the children to see a picture of peace.' The kids are watching and it's very important that they see he is forgiven . . . But he said this is the law. And you must leave. What can I do? I tried. I tried to make peace."
Perhaps there was not a lot you could take from this game, but, and I don't want to say I told you so (yes I do), D'Antoni is seriously considering starting Nate Robinson. He claims it's because of the energy Nate brings, but that is only partially true. D'Antoni would like to run his offense and the only way he can run it right now is with David Lee and Nate Robinson on the floor. Lee and Robinson together start the uptempo play immediately. The ball moves quickly either after a made basket with David Lee tossing long passes up-court or a series of quick curls and pick and rolls to free up an open man mid-range or to the hoop. Then the Knicks are off and running and have set a tone which is never set by having Duhon stroll up the court.
Is D'Antoni starting the game through David Lee? It seems that the first offensive plays of the game are either for Lee or Nate. Lee is very quick to take the early shot. So much for D'Antoni not liking Lee's game.
Does anyone notice that the strongest unit consists mostly of players who were here before Walsh and D'Antoni? Lee, Robinson, Jeffries, Chandler plus Duhon. It's a decent unit for a few reasons. First they have been together for a few years and there is great chemistry. Second, Nate on the floor frees up Duhon to play combo guard and takes the ball out of his hands. Duhon is a nice three point and mid-range threat. No one is afraid that he might score on a drive to the basket. Third, Lee seems to be the only big on the team who knows how to make an up-court pass. (C'mon Chandler). And Jeffries is just energetic and disruptive, these days more often in our favor than not. Fourth, when D'Antoni brings in the new youngin's, Douglas, Gallo, Landry, Milicic (will he stick?) and old head Harrington, he does not lose the energy level he wants.
D'Antoni is a stubborn coach, with terrible endgame skills, like his predecessor, but I think he might have this one figured out.
Larry Hughes, Statesman's boy, is done which is why he was on the bench in Chicago last year. Done. If Gallo does not improve his scoring (not shooting) he will be practically useless for most of the season. I feel for Gallo like I felt for, now get this Mets fans, Greg Jeffries. Jeffries was supposed to be a hitting wonderkund, the natural. He could hit, but no where near as perfectly as the hype had him. He entered such slumps under the pressure that I found myself rooting for him after every pitch. The press had turned on him because they were overzealous in selling him as the best hitter ever to come out of the minors. Heaven forbid that Gallo is just a decent shooter -- but I won't say I told you so before he was drafted. No, I won't say that.