(Jamal Crawford is slightly easier to leap over than Spud Webb.)
So much for that truce, then. From the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola.
Larry Brown revealed yesterday that Stephon Marbury had asked out of Friday’s win over Detroit with 41.7 seconds remaining because his body was stiff, and hinted that Marbury didn’t want the responsibility of taking the last shot.
“Stephon, he said he sat too long, he was stiff and he wanted Jamal (Crawford) to have the ball,” Brown said following a 90-minute practice in Greenburgh. “Jamal’s not afraid to take the big shot.”
When asked on Friday about being on the bench for that one possession, Marbury replied, “What about that? I don’t know.”
“I was sitting for 11 minutes,” he said. Asked if it was a problem, Marbury said, “I mean, I don’t have any choice. I’ve got to be fine with it. That’s a decision that (Brown) chose to make.”
Assuming Marbury was indeed too stiff to be on the floor with 41.7 seconds left, that doesn’t explain why he came back with 18.3 seconds to go and the Knicks leading 103-101. Brown says that Marbury came in for defensive purposes.
“We needed him to guard and he went back in and guarded,” Brown said. “Like I said, when he puts his mind to it, he’s an exceptional defender.”
Still, it’s unusual for a starting point guard to be on the bench with 41.7 seconds left and his team trailing by two. Perhaps Marbury, who had been booed during Wednesday’s win, didn’t want to risk making a mistake down the stretch and turn the Garden crowd against him even more.
Am I mistaken, or did Larry Brown favorably compare Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis to Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe? Wasn’t that him, swooning about the supposed compatibility of the two guards immediately after Francis was obtained? So, in other words, had he coached the Knicks’ 1972-73 title team, Clyde and Pearl would’ve crocheted beautiful quilts sitting – not playing – together.
For someone who swears he signed off on acquiring Francis, the coach sure has a strange way of proving it. By not using Francis at crunch time of tight games, particularly after performing well earlier in the game, it’s clear to me Brown is intent on showing up team president Isiah Thomas.
Though last night’s 110-100 loss to Miami put an end to the Knicks’ two game winning streak, there are some positives New York can take from the defeat. For one thing, Dwyane Wade missed nearly half of his shots from the field. For another, the Knicks held Michael Doleac scoreless. True, Doleac did not play, but I’m sure he’d have been shut down had he entered the game.