One-time Knick coach Larry Brown, who got a memorable sendoff when he was treated to a boatload of New York cash (just to get the fuck of the city), was back in his old stomping grounds last night. The legendary coach, who registered the worst winning percentage in Knick history during his brief stay, was shelled out a celebrity's ransom to lead the 05-06 Bockers to an abysmal 23-59 bungle. His stay in the Big Apple featured an 0-6 start to the heavily-anticipated campaign and various public feuds with Stephon Marbury, who now owns the easiest high-end job in America.
The well-traveled Brown, back near the traditional hoop breeding grounds where he learned and absorbed the game that's provided him with more bread than Dominoes, didn't feel quite at home.
A loud chorus of boos resonated throughout the Garden when the old-timer was introduced, and the Knicks gutted out a 101-98 win before an electrifying 10-minute span from Nate Robinson.
To quote Clyde Frazier, "the majesty of the little man" was on display.
The pint-sized, pugnacious, back-against-the-world Robinson scorched the nets to the tune of five treys in the first half. He went scoreless in the second half, funnelling the offensive duties to Zach Randolph (25 points) . Z-bo gave an efficient account of himself, putting his full repertoire on display. He finished with a game-high 13 boards.
Little Money shot a scintillating 9-for-12 from the field, hitting the trifecta at a 5-for-5 clip during an unconscious second-quarter binge. It was nuts.
His volcanic eruption occurred during a 10-minute span that allowed the Knicks' comfortable bulge to balloon. Nate's offensive arsenal ignited a ressurrected crowd (one that, as we recall, constantly booed the Knicks during Brown's one-year stay). New York resuscitated itself after a dismal, ugly loss at the hands of the Bucks Sunday night.
Nate stuck threes, jumpers, and snaked through traffic for his patented runners. His blink-quick scoring outburst spurred a 15-3 run. Robinson also got his revenge on Larry Brown, who gave him bench splinters during his first season in the league.
"Larry blamed me for everything, even if it wasn't my fault," Robinson told The New York Post. "He made me tougher so I'd be able to run a team one day."
While Nate and Wilson Chandler (18 points) provided the offensive fireworks in the first half, the Knicks' suspect defense ensued.
A few nights after making Andrew Bogut and Chuckie Villanueva look like all-stars, the Bobcats came clawing back from a 40-26 first-half deficit.
Raymond Felton dropped 18 points and peddled out six dimes and a Gerald Wallace hit a timely trey in the waning minutes. The Knicks would hold on, though, improving to 2-2 on the neophyte season and sending Larry Loser home an unhappy camper.
When Brown benched Robinson during their lone season together, the 5-foot-7 assassin wouldn't flinch. He hit the street scene and began dominating pickup games in NYC while the Knicks faltered on the hardwood. He was located on the West 4th Street playground (aka "the cage") while the Knicks were still in season. A professional playing streetball during the regular season? Now that's simply unheard of.
Brown, who's been through more cities than Carmen San Diego, was exasperated with the refs and his fresh, new ballclub last night. Nate got the last laugh in an eye-popping performance. As David Lee noted after the game, "2-2 sounds a lot better than 1-3."
Not all homecomings are special. Sometimes your prom date wants nothing to do with you now that you've moved on to the different pace college girls. Larry Brown's homecoming was controversial and one that Knicks fans were interested in for another reason.
Nate's wild walloping and the Knicks grind-it-out victory made Brown wish he never got off the bus, back to the place where his career took a considerable blow to the head.