The anger and bitterness from Latrell Sprewell's last meeting with P.J. Carlesimo surfaced again two years later. And Sprewell wouldn't even meet his former coach halfway.
Carlesimo had expressed hopes of shaking hands with Sprewell during pregame introductions last night in Oakland, Calif., but Sprewell stayed by the Knicks' basket and the Warriors' coach was left standing by himself at mid-court before finally returning to the bench.
Sprewell took the game's first shot and missed badly, with one fan yelling, "Nice shot, Spree!" Fans booed each time Sprewell touched the ball.
Sprewell scored 14 points in the Knicks' 86-79 victory. He was replaced with less than a minute to play after he and Chris Mills got technical fouls for shoving each other.
Before the game, Sprewell was greeted by cheers, applause and chants of "Spree! Spree!" upon taking the floor for pregame warmups. He got in a brief shouting match with a heckler who came to courtside and yelled repeatedly, "Spree, who are you going to sue now?"
Sprewell, facing Carlesimo for the first time since choking the Warriors' coach in a fit of rage at a team practice, stopped taking his practice shots for a moment, turned toward the heckler and told the fan to shut up and used an expletive. Security guards escorted the heckler away from courtside and other fans shouted him down.
The sold-out Oakland Arena remained a house divided, erupting in a seemingly equal mixture of cheers and boos when Sprewell led the Knicks onto the floor for the last round of warmups, starting the drills off with a thundering tomahawk dunk.