February 12th 2017: Latrell Sprewell and James Dolan bury the hatchet as the Knicks defeat the Spurs
The Knicks snapped a 4-game losing streak with a 94-90 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on a nationally televised broadcast. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 25 points (including 3 three-pointers), 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points and blocked 4 shots. Willy Hernangomez made his second start of the season and had 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Willy’s minutes increased steadily after a shoulder injury sidelined Noah for the remainder of the season.
Despite the victory, it off-the-court headlines dominated the story. Throughout the 2016-17 season, Phil Jackson sent veiled shots at Carmelo Anthony expressing disappointment that he’s not a “star” in the realm of a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. Days before the game, Phil sent a cryptic tweet aimed at Melo:
Bleacher's Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.
Additionally, Charles Oakley was arrested only a few days earlier after an altercation with security personnel during the Knicks/Clippers game. Oakley allegedly hurled some parting shots at James Dolan. Dolan subsequently alerted security to escort him out. Oak was subsequently banned from MSG for one year.
To quell the PR backlash, Dolan decided to reconcile with Latrell Sprewell and ended their 13+ year feud. Spree sat courtside with Dolan, Bernard King, and Larry Johnson. Since the moment, Spree has spent plenty of games courtside at Madison Square Garden and participated in various Knicks charitable causes.
In one of the many bizarre events of the 2016-17 season, Derrick Rose disappears shortly before a Monday night home game against the New Orleans Pelicans. D-Rose attended shoot-around in the afternoon, but left unannounced soon after. The team later announced that Rose was not with the team due to a “family situation.”
The mysterious disappearance confused everyone from the coaching staff to the players. No one seemed to know where Rose was and whether his well-being was ok. Brandon Jennings started for Rose in his absence as the Knicks lost 110-96 against the Pelicans.
In a sign of a frustrating night, both Carmelo Anthony and Kyle O’Quinn were ejected from the game. Melo received two technical fouls and O’Quinn committed a flagrant 2 foul on Anthony Davis. Davis injured his hip on the play and exited the game as a result.
Rose returned to the team the next day, but the team fined him $200,000 for a failure to properly communicate in a timely response. He admitted he flew to Chicago to attend to a family matter. Rose did apologize to his teammates, coaching staff, and front office. There was an initial rumor of discontent with head coach Jeff Hornacek due to his 4th quarter benching against the Bucks, but Rose dispelled that thought in a post-practice interview.
While Rose had his best overall year since his run with injuries, the 2016-17 season was frustrating for both him and the team. Rose regained a lot of his quickness and athleticism, but was lackluster on the defensive end. His season was cut short due to torn cartilage in his knee that required arthroscopic surgery.
November 30, 2016: Carmelo Anthony hits game winner over Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves
Carmelo Anthony countered an off-shooting night by making the game-winning basket against Andrew Wiggins. Melo used his signature jab-step to get space against Wiggins to hit the midrange jump shot. This was Melo’s 2nd game-winning basket in 5 days hitting the go-ahead shot against the Charlotte Hornets.
Coming into the game, the major anticipation was the matchup between fellow sophomores Kristaps Porzingis & Karl Anthony Towns. Porzingis had a well-rounded game with 29 points on 55% from the floor, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Towns, on the other hand, scored a then-career high 47 points and 18 rebounds on 68% shooting and 17-20 from the free throw line.
For the Knicks, Brandon Jennings & Mindaugas Kuzminskas both made significant contributions off the bench. Jennings had 12 points and 7 assists and was integral to Porzingis’ offensive outburst in the game. Kuz scored 14 points on 4-5 from three.