NBA 2019: Spike Lee trolls ‘tanking’ Knicks, LeBron James on losing, Kyrie Irving


As Hollywood recognised Spike Lee with his first Oscar, the acclaimed director had his attention directed to the other side of the country.

The long-time Knicks fan was eagerly awaiting the announcement of the adapted screenplay Oscar, which he was his first Oscar win for the film BlacKkKlansman.

But before Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson could announce the nominees, Jackson added a score update from Madison Square Garden where the Knicks ended an 18-game losing streak at home with a 130-118 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

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media_cameraDamyean Dotson reacts during the second half of the Knicks win over the San Antonio Spurs.

“First of all Spike, so glad you’re sitting down,” Jackson said.

“After 18 consecutive home losses, the Knicks won tonight. I repeat. The Knicks won tonight, defeating San Antonio 130 to 118.”

Lee, wearing a purple suit with Knicks’ coloured wristbands, laughed before yelling back at Jackson.

“We’re trying to tank,” he said.

The Knicks win took them to 12-48 for the season, the second worst record in the league, ahead of only the Phoenix Suns who are 11-50.

With a shot at Zion Williamson the prize for the NBAs worst performed team, the side were in full tank mode after a stunning mistake sinking a basket at their own end.

There was also a stunning missed dunk that would have made highlight reels, had Dennis Smith Jr. finished it off.

But the fans were stunned with the Knicks unable to even tank well.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t see the joke however.

He slammed his side but admitted they did well to come back in the second half.

“That group gets credit for playing and doing their job the way they should,” Popovich said. “Other than that, it was a pathetic performance defensively, but the Knicks had something to do with it.”

When pressed on the performance, Popovich was clearly annoyed.

“I said it was pathetic, what do you want me to slit my throat?” he said.

LEBRON’S LOSING PHILOSOPHY

LeBron James seems frustrated in Los Angeles.

The Lakers’ star signed in the off-season knowing it would be a work-in-progress but

Five losses in their last seven has the Lakers 10th in the Western Conference with a 29-30 record.

With the playoffs slipping away without a bit of a turnaround, James was frustrated by the lack of urgency in the Lakers locker room.

“I knew it was going to be very challenging,” James said after the 128-115 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. “Just because of the experience the roster had at that point and time. I knew it was going to be challenging from that sense, but I felt like we could still play better basketball.

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media_cameraLeBron James definitely does not like losing.

“It’s kind of a fine line when you talk about that (playoffs). Because when you’ve never been there or know what it takes to actually shoot for something like that, sometimes you’re afraid to get uncomfortable.”

“So you got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. So I’m not saying that’s what we are as a whole. It kind of looks that way at times, that sometimes we’re afraid to be uncomfortable and kind of get out of our comfort zone and kind of, you know, have that sense of urgency from the jump, and not be afraid to actually go out and fail to succeed. So, I mean we have, what? Twenty-three games left. We’ll see what happens.”

For someone with a record like LeBron, who has made the playoffs in the last 13 straight seasons, he said it’s tough to be on a losing side.

“The last few years, everyone’s so accustomed to the losses that I’m just not accustomed to,” James said.

“I’m not accustomed to it. I will never get comfortable with losing. So, losing Game 1 to Houston, it feels the same way as losing game 59 in New Orleans to me. It’s just how I’m built. That’s who I am.”

PAYBACK IS SWEET FOR MAGIC STAR

Former Toronto Raptors star Terrence Ross haunted his former side with 28 points while Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the Orlando Magic’s 113-98 NBA win at the Toronto Raptors.

Ross chipped in with a season-high equalling nine rebounds, Jonathan Isaac scored 16 points and D.J. Augustin had 12 as the magic won for the sixth time in seven games to end Toronto’s seven-game winning streak.

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media_cameraOrlando Magic guard Terrence Ross was happy with his night’s work.

Orlando had won a season-best five straight before they lost at home to Chicago in their first game after the All-Star break.

Kyle Lowry had 19 points and 10 assists and Pascal Siakam had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the first time since January 31 against Milwaukee.

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard was rested after he scored 25 points in the win over his former side San Antonio.

Coach Nick Nurse said Leonard will return for their next game against conference rivals Boston.

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Marc Gasol scored 16 points and Serge Ibaka had 14, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points to a career-best 22. Denver Nuggets breezed past the cold-shooting Los Angeles Clippers 123-96 for their fourth consecutive victory.

Nikola Jokic had 22 points and 16 rebounds while Paul Millsap had 21 points and 16 boards.

The Nuggets (41-18) improve to 26-4 at home and pulled within a game of the western conference-leading Golden State Warriors.

Lou Williams scored 24 and Danilo Gallinari had 19 for the Clippers, who couldn’t capitalise on Denver’s uncharacteristic22 turnovers and 12 missed free throws.

The Clippers made just three 3 of their 24 three-point attempts. New York beat San Antonio to snap their franchise-recordhome losing streak at 18 games off the back of 27 points from Damyean Dotson.

Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Emmanuel Mudiay all had 19 points in the Knicks’ first home victory since December 1 against Milwaukee. DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs who fell to 1-6 on their trip that ends in Brooklyn.

— AP

Originally published as ‘We’re trying to tank’: golden NBA sledge





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