The Knicks lost to the Cavaliers on Monday in a game in which they led by double-digits for most of the second half. Kyle Korver hit some very big threes down the stretch and Porzingis missed a few key free throws that could have changed the outcome of the game. But when the final buzzer sounded and the teams went back to their respective locker rooms, the focus wasn’t on the score or x’s and o’s. Many of the questions and reactions to the game were based on one sequence during the game when Frank Ntilikina pushed LeBron James a few times on his way to go pick up the ball, which was rolling around James’ feet. LeBron being the physical specimen he is was not easily moved by the still slim rookie but did take. But he did take exception to Enes Kanter who quickly came over and got in James’ face and we can only assume the lovely conversation that the two had at that moment.
When asked about the sequence, the three all had different responses. Ntilikina said that James “was on [his] way to get ball,” and that he wasn’t going to let LeBron push him around. But things took an even more interesting turn when Enes Kanter said, “king, queen, princess…..nobody out there gonna punk us” This is all riled up by the fact that a few days ago, James said that Dennis Smith should be a Knick and Kanter quickly tweeted about how the Knicks love what they have in Ntilikina.
I can’t say for sure but I don’t think James had any bad intentions. But knowing the media, and especially the media in New York and around James, he is naive to think that this would not be blown out of proportion. Regardless, I don’t think anyone here did anything wrong. LeBron may have been able to handle the situation better, but he was asked a question, and answered it by praising Smith. Was it unnecessary? Very possibly. But this is not egregious. And Kanter replied by saying he loves his teammate and stood up for him during the game. I know people on social media called Kanter a loser and laughed at him for picking a “fight” or getting into it with LeBron but Kanter is a grown adult who has enough pride and loyalty to not let his teammate be pushed around. And props to Ntilikina for not backing down from LeBron.