For one half, the Knicks pulled the plug on music, video and in-game entertainment in the nationally televised game against the Warriors. It was a little risky to expect Knicks fans to supply the noise against the team with the best record in the NBA, but the Knicks are nothing if not outside-the-box thinkers.
The Warriors used words like “weird” and “bizarre” to describe such a bold move in a high-profile game.
“You sort of take it for granted because every NBA game, you got all this stuff going on, music in the background. You don’t even think about it until it’s not there. It felt like church,” Kerr said (via ESPN). “It was very quiet. It is Sunday, after all. Maybe that’s why they chose it. It was strange. I kind of liked it better in the second half. It felt more normal with the music.”
The players seemed a little nonplussed as they warmed up. Steph Curry said “it was, like, back in middle school warm-up games, where it’s just you and the teammates … [and] there’s no music or entertainment whatsoever, so it was definitely different. I read the sign on the scoreboard, and they wanted to see fans enjoying the game in its purest form. That’s a great way to put it.”
Draymond Green thought it was way beyond weird, bizarre or strange.
“That was pathetic,” Green said. “It was ridiculous. It changed the flow of the game. It changed everything. You get so used to playing the game a certain way and to completely change that? To me, I thought it was completely disrespectful to Michael Levine and Rick Welts and all these guys who have done these things to change the game from an entertainment perspective and give the game a great vibe.”
Green added that he didn’t think it was an attempt by New York to throw its guests’ game off, noting that it affected Knicks players as well.
“Did you see that first half? It was just bad, sloppy, all over the place. There was no rhythm to the game,” Green said. “All of that stuff makes a difference, believe it or not.”
For the Knicks, it was odd/different/weird to diminish a home-court advantage for a half. They led 50-49 at halftime, but succumbed 112-105. “It was kind of weird because that’s home-court advantage, having the crowd involved, having the music going, having that energy behind you,” Courtney Lee said (via the New York Daily News). “So it was different.”
Kristaps Porzingis said flatly, “I didn’t like it.” Carmelo Anthony said only that it “was different.”
For the viewers, it was a little odd to hear only the sounds of squeaky sneakers and whistles. ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy initially was pleased, praising the absence of “an assault on your senses like most arenas,” before pivoting to say he wished there were some of happy medium for NBA games.
Regardless of how it was received, it was a fitting throwback as the Knicks celebrated their 70th anniversary and a respite from a season marred by the James Dolan-Charles Oakley ugliness, Phil Jackson’s tweets about Carmelo Anthony, Jeff Hornacek’s problems with Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson’s regrettable use of the word “posse.”
Good job, Knicks, at least for one half.
Tim Bontemps contributed to this report from New York.