Newsday’s intrepid Alan Hahn basked in the splendor of Rip City’s video entertainment last night, and witnessed a classic bit of bonding between two young Knicks.

During the first quarter of tonight’s game here at the Rose Garden between the Knicks and Trail Blazers, the Kiss Cam was on. It caught the usual suspects: Middle-aged couples who bashfully shared a peck on the cheek, Older couples who exchanged tender smooches that drew high ratings on the “Awww scale,” and young couples who swapped spit (and maybe their gum) until the producers quickly took them off the screen. There was also a few embarrassing I’m-not-with-him moments and one poor sap got the snub. Another couple offered rigid grins and waves. Clearly their kissing days were long over.

And then the camera found the Knicks bench — a cliche move, yes, but always a laugh-producer. Channing Frye and Renaldo Balkman were caught watching and suddenly saw themselves together on the big screen. Frye quickly turned away. But Balkman smiled and looked to Channing tenderly.

OK, maybe not tenderly. But he didn’t turn away.

The Journal News’ Mike Doughty
observed the Knicks blowing out the Blazers and mused,

Anybody wants to see what rebuilding in the NBA is really like, watch a few more Portland games. That™s what happens when you blow a team up and rely on young players. New Yorkers could never be that patient.

Yeah, watching the ultra-competitive Knicks has required no patience whatsoever since Jeff Van Gundy quit.

thinks there’s something fishy about Pat Riley’s newly announced sabbatical. Hey, at least he didn’t announce it via fax.

I don’t mean to be cynical here, but this is the same guy who a few years ago dumped his coaching duties on Stan Van Gundy during the pre-season when it was obvious the team sucked. But then Wade ended up being much better than expected, and the team recovered from it’s 0-7 start to win 42 games. Then they got Shaq. And, well, you know the rest.

Now things kind of suck again, so Riley is taking a page out of Shaq’s book and going on vacation for the not-so-fun part of the season. I can just imagine The Big Coffee Break having a meeting with Riley and saying, “Dude, just take 20 or 30 games off like I do. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to dominate. Seriously.”

I know he’s a coaching legend and all that blah-diddy-blah. But at this point, Riley seems like he has a bad case of basketball-related Attention Deficit Disorder. He got tired of coaching a bad team, so he quit coaching. He got upset when the team didn’t win a title in Shaq’s first year, so he replaced pretty much everybody but Shaq and Wade (and yeah, I know it worked, but still…). Now the team is old and sucking, and suddenly he needs some time off to soak in Ben Gay. Funny how his physical condition wasn’t an issue before the team started falling apart. I mean, his hip and knee weren’t hurting him a few months ago when he was doing his victory dance…

Your NBA quote of the day :

“I know it’s crazy, but I kind of like Antawn Jamison — I’d keep him,” Antawn Jamison said before the Wizards overcame their defensive deficiencies and Arenas shot down Milwaukee, 108-105. “He’s a good leader. The guys respect him. And he’s all about team chemistry. I think it would be a mistake to change anything with this team.”

Sports On My Mind’s dwill took careful note of Allen Iverson’s ejection in Denver’s home loss to Philly Tuesday night and concludes,

When it™s crunch time in a playoff series this April or May, when the Nuggets are on the verge of an upset against a higher seeded team, you can rest assured that Steve Javie and crew will make an appearance to referee the key game. Hell, David Stern might even show up to watch Javie put the screws to AI. Then again, maybe not. He doesn™t want a repeat of the Mark Cuban screaming at him about game-fixing while leaving the court during last season™ s playoffs.

Whether Stern shows or not, even if the game is in Denver at the Pepsi Center, with Javie controlling the game, you better believe the Nuggets will leave the arena with an œL.