Israeli Team Outdraws Knicks At MSG


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How bad have things gotten for the New York Knicks? Last night, at their first game at Madison Square Garden in nearly six months, more fans were actually cheering for the opposing team than the home team. Even worse: The opposing team was Maccabi Tel Aviv. That’s right. There was no Kobe Bryant or Lebron James to root for or some other superstar that might draw a large contingent of non-Knicks fans, just unknown Jewish juggernauts Ezequiel Skverer and Yotam Halperin. Yet embarrassingly, they garnered more cheers than the Knicks players. Boy, it sucks to be a Knick.


Jamal Crawford tallied a team-high 16 points and newcomer Zach Randolph contributed 15 to help New York [beat their Israeli counterparts 112-85] and improve to 2-0 on the preseason, but the atmosphere was much more interesting than the actual game. Head coach Isiah Thomas, who just [lost a salacious three-week sexual harassment trial,](http://nypress.com/blogx/display_blog.cfm?bid=92894365) received a [smattering of boos](http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/sports/basketball/12knicks.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin) from the small crowd during pre-game introductions, and the fans sat dead silent while the Knicks blew open the game during the third quarter. Later, Knicks shooting guard Quentin Richardson was boisterously mocked after he fumbled the ball away while going for a breakaway dunk.


Adding to the Knicks’ woes was NBA Commissioner David Stern, who yesterday announced he hadn’t ruled out [punishing Thomas] for the sexual harassment suit. But Isiah seemed confident he wouldn’t receive any further penalties. “I’ve worked with David Stern and the NBA over 20 years personally and professionally,” he said before the game. “He knows the type of person that I am and the type of family that I have. So I’m sure that if anybody in this league understands me, he does.” Then again, Thomas was also confident he wouldn’t be found guilty, and we all know how that turned out.


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