View Full Version : Pacers vs Knicks hype is starting.

02-02-2004, 10:10 AM



February 2, 2004 -- Isiah Thomas won't discuss rival Larry Bird and the looming Pacers' showdown until today.
But Knicks developmental coach George Glymph, Jermaine O'Neal's high school coach who spent three seasons in Indiana before following Isiah here, knows emotions will bubble at the Garden tomorrow.

Bird runs the Eastern Conference's dominant team that Isiah built for him. Tomorrow, the Pacers (35-13) face Isiah's upstart Knicks, who are tied for the seventh seed with Boston, in a preview of a potential first-round matchup.

"You know [Isiah] is looking forward to it," Glymph told The Post. "Just like those Pacers are going to look forward to seeing Isiah and saying, 'This is what you built, and this is what we're going to do to you.'

The Isiah/Bird rivalry is well-documented, dating to their '80s playing days when Thomas made the infamous remark that Larry Legend would be just another player if he were black. When Bird took over the Pacers in mid-July, he and the Pacers coach shook hands at the podium, but neither could manage even a forced smile.

Bird fired Thomas on Aug. 27, citing Isiah's failing to communicate with him. Glymph, O'Neal's high school coach, was soon on his way out too, along with Knicks assistant Mark Aguirre. Bird declined comment yesterday through a spokesman, who said the Pacers executive "doesn't want to get caught up in it."

"Larry had his game plan," Glymph said. "It's not about a person's feelings. It will be emotional. They are a great team. It's gratifying to feel part of building that and there's gratification if you could beat them."

During his introductory press conference as Knicks president, Isiah said of Bird, "I wanted to beat him as a player and I want to beat him now."

O'Neal believes Bird kept Isiah around just long enough for the Pacers' All-Star big man to re-sign as a free agent. In this month's "Slam" magazine, O'Neal said, "If I would've known that Isiah wasn't going to be back, I would have signed with San Antonio. That's a fact. I was pretty upset. But time heals everything."

Said Glymph, "Jermaine looks at Isiah as a father figure. He was buried on the bench in Portland and Isiah traded for him. He'll never forget how he believed in him."

Glymph, a high-school coaching legend in South Carolina, has never been on the opposite side of O'Neal — from Eau Claire High School, where he coached 27 years, to the Blazers, where he worked one season working with O'Neal, to the Pacers. "I've never been in this situation before, I don't know how I'll feel," he said.

When Isiah got canned, Pacers prez Donnie Walsh kept Glymph on, re-assigning him to the scouting department. "I never got an assignment, then I got the call from Isiah," Glymph said. "He said to me the day he got fired, 'If I go someplace, I want you to join me.' "

Isiah has certainly ruffled feathers here.

"Whenever you come into a situation and make changes, there's going to be bruised feelings," Glymph said. "He's done what he thinks he had to do. People second-guess whatever you do, but it's working."

02-02-2004, 10:12 AM

Pacers to Provide Test Of Knicks' New Offense

By Greg Logan

February 2, 2004

Since Isiah Thomas took over as president of the Knicks, traded for Stephon Marbury and hired Lenny Wilkens as the replacement for coach Don Chaney, the trend has been steadily upward in the weak Atlantic Division.

But for all the progress made by the Knicks during the easiest portion of their schedule, they are only 3-6 against winning teams since Thomas took charge.

As important as it was for the Knicks (22-27) to win their back-to-back weekend set with Boston and Phoenix, their biggest test yet comes against Indiana tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers (35-13) have the best record in the Eastern Conference, including a 2-0 mark against the Knicks.

Now that the Knicks have Marbury, there's new life for a rivalry that was as heated as any during the '90s. "It's a huge game," said Penny Hardaway, who accompanied Marbury in the trade with Phoenix. "It's going to be a war. It's going to be like a playoff game because those guys are the best team in the Eastern Conference and they're going to be ready to come in here and win."

Although the Knicks beat two other losing teams in the Celtics and Suns, they played so well offensively that it indicated they are beginning to come together now that they've had some practice time with Wilkens and are learning Marbury's playing style. The way Marbury ignited the offense in the second quarter of both weekend wins shows he is developing a feel for when to assert himself.

Marbury scored 33 of his 35 points against Phoenix in the first three quarters. "I think Stephon had a nice rhythm to his game and did a good job of understanding when we needed to score and when to step up and hit shots," said Keith Van Horn, who had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. "He's really done a good job of utilizing what this team needs at a particular moment in the game. He's shown it in a lot of games this year."

The Knicks will be without Allan Houston (right knee), but he struggled in both losses to Indiana while being guarded by stopper Ron Artest. Now Van Horn is likely to be the object of Artest's attention, but the forward has broken out of a five-game slump with two strong outings.

If there were questions about how well Marbury and Van Horn would work together, their 65-point explosion against the Suns should put that to rest.

What's With Williams? There isn't much playing time behind Stephon Marbury at point guard, but second-year backup Frank Williams is wondering why his time has all but vanished under Lenny Wilkens, who has been going with veteran Moochie Norris. The Suns game marked the third time Williams did not play in nine games under Wilkens, who has given him no explanation.

"You always want to know what's going on," said Williams, who indicated he's thinking of talking to Wilkens or team president Isiah Thomas today about the situation. "If you don't talk to someone, how do they know what to do or how to change anything?"

Asked if it seems Wilkens has more faith in established veterans, Williams said: "I don't know yet. I'm still trying to see where he's going with it. It's early to try to judge. At the same time, I would like to be out there."

02-02-2004, 10:15 AM
Wait did Isiah trade for Jermaine or did Donnie?

02-02-2004, 10:16 AM
There are some incredible statements in the first article. About how Isiah traded for J.O and about how Isiah built the current Pacers team.

isiah was the coach and he deserves some credit for the pacers current success, but Donnie Walsh built the current team and he made the J.O trade. Isiah had only been the pacers coach for about 5 weeks when J.O was traded for

02-02-2004, 10:26 AM
Wait did Isiah trade for Jermaine or did Donnie?

Isiah had nothing to do with that. I bet he THINKS it was completely his doing though.

I doubt he thinks that but I am sure he wants us to think that. Of course he is not responsible for the writers miss statements.

02-02-2004, 10:36 AM
They sure are giving Isiah a lot of credit for the job Donnie Walsh did.

I was thinking the same thing.

I was reading through and thinking "Isiah traded for him? Try again!"

02-02-2004, 10:38 AM
Wait did Isiah trade for Jermaine or did Donnie?


It's a joke to think otherwise (that's not directed at you, btw)

02-02-2004, 11:03 AM
Wait did Isiah trade for Jermaine or did Donnie?


It's a joke to think otherwise (that's not directed at you, btw)

I know it was Donnie I was just pointing out the absurdity. I think it is more likely that Rick had something to do with it than Isiah since Rick was the one who was with him as a rookie and Rick was there right before we went and got him. But I would still give the credit to Donnie. It was a bold move for sure and I doubt that a first time first year coach would have had the pull to make it happen.

02-02-2004, 11:11 AM
Isiah did not even like the trade. He said all the right things at the time but kept lamenting all season long how he wished we had a Dale Davis like player on our team.

Even at the press conferance to announce the trade Isiah made the statement that he understood why the trade was done & looked forward to working with Jermaine. He just wished the team could have kept Dale.

So, no. Isiah had nothing to do with that trade other than being on the recieving end of it.

02-02-2004, 11:44 AM
well, you know how it is with some writers. never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

funny, glymph is quoted as saying isiah built the team.

"You know [Isiah] is looking forward to it," Glymph told The Post. "Just like those Pacers are going to look forward to seeing Isiah and saying, 'This is what you built, and this is what we're going to do to you.'

you'd think he'd know better...

02-02-2004, 11:59 AM
Goofy stuff.

I'm waiting for the Knicks board I'm on to get going. So far it hasn't all that much. Most of them are fairly intelligent and while it's a big game from NY's perspective I think they realize that to Indy (with the exception of Reggie) it's pretty much just another game.

For us it's a measuring stick. I just hope Indy plays their game so we can get some reality setting in. Even without JO, if you defend like you can we'll have a lot of trouble.