The interplay between Smith and the Philips Arena crowd was lively throughout the night. Smith, an Atlanta native who played his first nine NBA seasons with the Hawks, was booed loudly whenever he touched the ball. The catcalls grew louder in the third quarter, after Smith drained a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim several times before dropping in. Smith then shushed the crowd by placing his finger over his lips as the Hawks called timeout. “I mean, those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”
November 27, 2015 | 10:08 am EST Update
In talking with Knicks sources recently, there was a sense that the environment was better than last year, where guys did not buy into the process and everyone had their own agenda. This year, that has not been the problem; guys are willing and that’s a great first step to having success. That’s not as good as total buy-in, but it’s a starting point.
But heading into a mini-break for the American Thanksgiving, Raptors forward James Johnson was in a different mindset. “Mood: Under-utilized,” he wrote on Twitter after his team’s ninth victory of the season. A few hours and a few hundred re-tweets later, Johnson changed his tune. “My bad,” he wrote on Thursday morning, “just want more than anything to be a big part of something special for fans, teammates and coaches.”
For a long time, basketball separated the family, with the brothers scattered around Europe in pursuit. Now it is bringing them together in New York. The brothers, including the middle one, Martins, speak fluent English, so the transition should be easy. The father, Talis, a former bus driver in Latvia, is eager to learn the language, but his wife Ingrida is stubborn about these things. “Mom doesn’t want to learn,” Kristaps said. “She lived in Spain for a year without knowing the language. She still found a way to live there.”