(2-0, 1-0 home)
7:00 PM ET, October 11, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jamal Crawford scored 16 points, Zach Randolph added 15, and the New York Knicks beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 112-85 Thursday night in a preseason home opener that often felt more like a road game.
There was little reaction toward Isiah Thomas during introductions in the first game in New York since a jury found that the coach and Madison Square Garden sexually harassed former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders.
Thomas said he expected a warm reception, though a harsh one wouldn't have been surprising, less than 10 days after the verdict. But with the arena still mostly empty minutes before the game, there were only some light boos when his name was announced.
"Whatever reaction that happens to me or for me, I'm a big boy and I've handled and conducted myself well, and I've been yelled at, screamed at, booed at," Thomas said after the game. "I know how to handle myself, so I'll be fine."
Instead, fans seemed more interested in the Israeli team. The Knicks had granted Maccabi control of all 19,763 tickets, resulting in a large contingent cheering and waving Israel's flag. As the Knicks began to pull away in the third quarter, some of their baskets were met with almost complete silence. The Knicks' Quentin Richardson was loudly mocked when he lost the ball while going for a breakaway dunk late in the period.
"We pretty much expected it," Thomas said. "The support that the Maccabi team has, particularly here in New York, the way the Elite team has played over the years, they're an excellent basketball team and they have a great following. And we're glad that we were able to put this game together."
Though the NBA's statement the day of the verdict indicated there would be no punishment from the league because it was a civil case, not a criminal one, commissioner David Stern said action hadn't been ruled out during a press conference Wednesday in London. But Thomas said he isn't concerned.
"I've worked with David Stern and the NBA over 20 years personally and professionally," he said before the game. "He knows the type of person that I am and the type of family that I have. So I'm sure that if anybody in this league understands me, he does."
The Knicks were without center Eddy Curry, who won't play until at least next week because of a labral tear in his right shoulder. Allan Houston, who signed with the Knicks on Wednesday after a two-year retirement, wasn't at the game and will begin his bid to make the team at age 36 at practice Friday.
New York got off to a slow start and trailed by 10 points in the first quarter. But the Knicks seized control by outscoring Maccabi 33-18 in the second to open a 53-43 halftime lead.
Former Chicago Bulls forward Marcus Fizer had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Maccabi. Vonteego Cummings, who played collegiately at Pittsburgh, scored 21 points for the Israeli team, which arrived Tuesday after a 12-hour commercial flight and returns Friday.
"It's great for the NBA and the Euroleague, but this was a long trip for one game," Fizer said.