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NBA / Oct 14, 2009 / 10:24 am

Preseason Diary: Five Minutes With Jrue Holiday and A Forgettable Knicks/Sixers Preseason Game

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Madison Square Garden is my favorite place to watch basketball. The first time I’d been there was in the summer of 2003 when I was swindled by a scalper who sold me a fake New York Liberty ticket. Fortunately, a group of ladies had a soft spot in their heart for a naïve guy from Utah and gave me their spare ticket in exchange that I buy them a few beers. The second time was in 2006, where I caught a Knicks/Nuggets game that ended with the crowd chanting “Fire Isiah.” And the last time I went to a Knicks game at the Garden was last fall, which also coincidently ended with the crowd chanting “Fire Isiah.”

Last night was the first time I saw a game at the Garden as a member of Dime Magazine. I’d been credentialed to many games before in other cities, but this time was definitely more exciting. After getting a Circus Circus caliber turkey and stuffing dinner from the media room, I made my way to the Sixers locker room an hour or so before tipoff. With Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala nowhere to be found, I made my way to Jrue Holiday’s locker where I fired a few questions off to him.

Dime: Ever since the college year ended, what have you added or improved to your game?
Jrue Holiday: Definitely my jump shot. I’ve been real consistent with it. And I’ve just been trying to attack the rim a lot more.

Dime: How do you think you’ve played so far this preseason and training camp?
JH: I think I’ve played well. Coach definitely has confidence in me to play the point guard position and all that comes with that. They put me out there as a scorer and a passer so I’m just trying to do what they tell me.

Dime: People are looking to you and Lou Williams to replace the void left by Andre Miller. Do you feel the pressure to live up to the expectations?
JH: No, I’m just going to try to go out there and have fun. On a serious note, cut back on the turnovers and just trying to make an impact.

Dime: Being from California, how are you adjusting to life on the East Coast so far?
JH: It’s a lot different. We really haven’t got to all that cold yet, so it hasn’t been too much adjusting. But you know I’m wearing jeans, sweats and nice jackets to keep me warm.

Dime: What about the adjusting on the court. How has the pace changed from the Pac 10?
JH: It’s pretty much the same. It’s the up and down tempo. Washington, SC, Arizona – they’re really up and down like that. That’s the kind of team we are, we’re up and down.

Dime: Were you surprised you slipped so late to the Sixers? Did you think you were going to be a lottery pick?
JH: I mean I heard lottery, that’s why I was there in the green room. But I’m really excited to be here.

Dime: Who are you looking forward to playing this year?
JH: The Lakers. It’s the first time I get to go home and play in front of everybody.

After I talked with Holiday and got a couple of other interviews from guys, I headed towards my seat behind the basket. The aura of the Garden, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing and John Starks quickly disappeared as soon as the ref threw the ball up. The game, honestly was pretty sloppy and at a lot of times boring. The Garden wasn’t even half-full, but at the same time it is the preseason. Here are some observations from the game:

-The Knicks have talked about improving their defense, but they looked terrible on that end. The Sixers got so many transition buckets, it looked like a pick-up game at times.
-Thaddeus Young looked really good out there. He was filling in the lanes well and was knocking down jumpers. Wasn’t sure if he improved over the summer or whether it was just the Knicks’ defense.
-Elton Brand’s knee looked good. Brand was moving well and even got a nice put-back dunk in the second quarter.
-Larry Hughes shoots way too much.
-Nate Robinson was well, Nate Robinson. A year older and he’s still jawing at officials and opposing players. I think he said recently that his goal was to get four technicals all season. He got one last night, does that count?
-Where was Eddy Curry? I know he’s been hurt, but no sign of him in the locker room or in street clothes on the Knicks bench.
-Lou Williams struggled running the offense and with his shot. But to his credit, he had a couple of good passes in transition and some crafty penetration moves.
-Celeb sightings: Some guy from “Sex and the City” and Kevin Bacon. I spent half the third quarter trying to figure out what movies he’s been in other than “The Air Up There” (Jimmy Dolan shake and bake), “Footloose” and “Hollow Man”.

The Sixers ended up winning 93-85, improving their preseason record to a perfect 4-0. The Knicks now fall to 1-2 in the preseason.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.

Follow Gerald Narciso on Twitter at @Gerald_Narciso.

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  • Kobeef

    The Knicks suuuuuck

  • Dennis Castro

    I would expect Elton’s knee to look fine, didn’t hear about any problems with it, it was his shoulder that was the issue.

    Also, according to Kate Fagen, who is the Sixers beat writer for the Philly Inquirer, Jrue has been getting minimal run in practice because he hasn’t adjusted well to the pro game just yet. I don’t expect any impact this year for Jrue, it’s going to be a learning experience for him.

  • control

    The Garden maybe a great place to watch basketball, but the team that plays there sucks, the people who watch the games there suck, and the entire city surround the place sucks.

  • Boofrog

    @Gerald

    Don’t forget “Tremors” man. You can’t sleep on “Tremors”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremors_(film)

  • Ross

    I highly recommend “Stir of Echoes”
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0164181/

  • Rizwan

    You highly recommend Stir of Echoes?!!

    Whats your next recommendation? White Chicks?

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    @Ross…yeah IMO “Stir of Echoes” was his best film. With Mystic River or Sleepers (definitely recommend this one) a close second.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald. Just remembered Wild Things. That was a great movie also.

  • Real Basketball i.Q.

    Knicks??? Why am I reading this?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Bacon’s best work was in “A Few Good Men.”

  • http://dime fan

    The Knicks are an embarassment to the N.B.A. No wonder our city is down in talent & players. Look at our home team. What can you learn from going to a Knicks game. Who’s our last player that we’ve related to. Remember NYC is home of guards. Excluding Sprewell. Igudoula looked liked a major star compared to our roster. We could acutall lose a lot more games this yr. I’m crying internally. A New York team shouldn’t look like this. I’d rather a team of Skip,Homicide,L.O.,Harrington,Artest,T2,Yatta Gaines,Showtime Hill,SFX,M.Glover,Big Baby from Tennesee. We’d be more competitive than this group. The Knicks right now would lose to top college teams now. It’s sad that as a fan you spent more time worrying about who’s at the game. Meaning crowd. The worst teams in the N.B.A. are better than us. I don’t even want a lottery pick. Cause we’ll mess that up. Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas Seriously. What do people do w/ free Knicks Tickets?

  • LakeShow84

    Holy shit Wild Things..

    That movie deserved serious Oscar consideration.. Right next to Showgirls we talkin some of the best movies ever made..

  • LakeShow84

    Stir Of Echoes was a trip.. light weight spooky..

    Sleepers is a classic.. sad but bomb movie..

    Tremors is the most annoying cult classic i have ever watched..

  • Mr. Wang

    lol u went to go see a WNBA game??

  • DeLa

    The Knicks do suck, but it’s because the organization has been a mess for years. If you think IT messed up the Knicks, then check out the roster prior to Frank Layden and all the moves he made.

    Control–You are just biased, why I have no idea. NYC is a great place.

    Kevin Bacon is in many movies, so many there is a game called the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. I ‘m sure everyone knows about it, but my personal favorite is Animal house.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Gotta love Sleepers, but for real, how has no one mentioned AIR UP THERE yet? Kevin bacon as basketball god with bum knee too good for recruits to come to his squad–classic (only because I watched 100 times when a kid).

    And Gerald, you don’t know us well enough yet to be talking about noticing people from watching Sex and the City…you better say your girl mentioned it like Austin always does (yeah I’m calling the cop-out) otherwise you just raising eyebrows…

    and Murder in the First is a highly underrated flick.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Yeah, damn Gerald, WNBA scalpers tickets instead of spending $4 at the gate and SEX AND THE CITY comments…I know you’re from Utah, but damn you rolled all over yourself there…

  • doc

    control is just a little bitch.And Thad Young been doing that shit.He’s our best player.

  • http://www.geraldnarciso.com Gerald Narciso

    @ Sans

    hahaha. no the gate was closed because the game was half done. It was my first time in NY and just wanted to go to the Garden. And the only reason I knew it was some dude from Sex and the City is because I heard people around me saying it. Ive never watched that show in my life. With that being said, I did see the movie im not going to lie ha ha