Walt Frazier, Mike Breen talk Knicks-Hawks

MSG Knicks announcers Mike Breen and Walt “Clyde” Frazier take a shot at some Q&A earlier than the tipoff of the first-round collection vs. the Hawks on Sunday. MSG Networks can have unique pre- and postgame protection all through the collection and the Hall of Fame duo of Breen and Frazier will name each Games 1 and a couple of.

Q: What do you bear in mind Red Holzman telling you earlier than your first playoff recreation?

Clyde: Just to be myself, and, “Clyde, just relax.” He needed me to get the blokes concerned, transfer the ball. Every playoff recreation, I might be the final man to come back on the courtroom ’trigger Red would pull me apart. Like if we had been taking part in [Earl] Monroe, he’d go, “Clyde, forget about offense tonight, I just want you to focus on defense on Earl.” Like in Game 7 when Willis [Reed] got here out, he instructed me, “Clyde, hit the open man, get everybody involved, make sure the ball moved.”

Q: How nervous had been you?

Clyde: Your knees are shaking (giggle). But when you get on the courtroom and so they toss it up, it goes away. See, that’s what the Knicks are gonna really feel, man. [Julius] Randle, seven years within the league, he’s by no means been within the playoffs. From the get-go, their entire focus is gonna be to disclaim him, so he’s gonna see double- and triple-teaming on a regular basis. The playoffs is about changes. You have 4, 5 video games to give attention to no matter your weak point is.

Breen: He’s seen double-teams all season. His playmaking and his decision-making has been unbelievable. So that sort of unselfish play out of your main scorer has acquired everyone prepared to share the ball.

Q: What recommendation would you give to Randle?

Clyde: Let the sport come to him. Don’t have any preconceived notion that you simply’re gonna get 40 in opposition to these guys. Thibs [head coach Tom Thibodeau] has mentioned it, “Hey man, that was the regular season. We’ve gotta play 48 minutes and try to beat these guys now.”

Breen: His expertise, and the best way he’s handled them, is gonna be essential. They’ve all flourished underneath him, and despite the fact that a variety of guys don’t have the playoff expertise, he’s the kind of coach that’s gonna be capable to put together them the proper method for it.

Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Mike Breen
Michelle Farsi/MSG Photos

Q: What makes Thibodeau, Thibodeau?

Breen: Most gamers wish to be coached onerous, most gamers wish to get higher, most gamers wish to play for a winner, and he provides them that chance. He pushes them onerous, however he additionally exhibits them and tells them that he trusts them.

Q: What do you bear in mind about him when he was a Knicks assistant?

Breen: His love of the sport. He simply needed to talk in regards to the recreation on a regular basis. So passionate in regards to the recreation and so prepared to share his data of it.

Clyde: He’s like Holzman, he’s onerous however truthful. You work onerous in observe, you get within the recreation. When a coach is difficult on you … You by no means see Thibs embarrass a participant. But within the locker room, Holzman would name you “F—–g Frazier, you’re supposed to be this, you’re f——g guy’s killing you (laugh). All-defensive team my ass!” But once we come on the courtroom, you’ll by no means see that and also you’ll by no means see it within the paper.

Q: What was the angriest he ever acquired at you?

Clyde: Letting Earl [Monroe] go off, Celtic video games, Jo Jo [White] and people guys, [Bill] Russell. He hated [Red] Auerbach, they hated one another (giggle). … Remember the Jerry West [60-foot] shot in L.A. to tie [Game 3 of 1970 Finals]? [Dave] DeBusschere fell down [under the basket]. And now we come again to the bench, that is Holzman: “All right guys, gotta do it the hard way now, we gotta play five more minutes. All right, this is how we’re gonna do it …” He calmed everyone down. That was the fantastic thing about Red, man, I see a variety of that in Thibs as effectively.

Q: Is Thibs price just a few factors in a playoff recreation?

Breen: Absolutely. Just as a result of his preparation, his consideration to element. … They exit on the ground defensively, and so they know what the opponent’s operating. He is aware of which matchups work effectively. His preparation earlier than the video games is nearly as good as anyone within the recreation. He realized that from Jeff [Van Gundy], and Jeff realized that from [Pat] Riley. Thibs is a aggressive coach. Watch him through the course of a recreation, it’s like he’s taking part in. I feel the gamers like and respect that as effectively.

Q: Give me a basic scouting report on the Hawks.

Clyde: They’re identical to the Knicks, however not nearly as good a defensive staff.

Breen: They’ve acquired nice offensive weapons, and [coach] Nate McMillan has them taking part in higher protection. [Trae] Young’s not scoring as a lot, however he’s been a greater level guard. We talk a lot about his lengthy vary and his skill to attain, however his playmaking has actually gotten higher and McMillan’s been a huge impact on him.

Clyde: And I like this child [DeAndre] Hunter. … They shoot the 3-ball, man, that’s gonna be a giant issue on this recreation, the 3-ball capturing.

Q: What are the keys in opposition to the Hawks?

Breen: Randle and [Elfrid] Payton and RJ Barrett, three guys who will begin, they’ve by no means been in a playoff recreation. It’s so totally different than something you’ve skilled. From a broadcasting standpoint, I hyperventilate on the finish of a detailed recreation. … My first playoff recreation, I’m hyperventilating on the primary bucket. It’s onerous to regulate your feelings.

Clyde: When I performed, I had 20 factors, the common season, six rebounds, six assists. I made the All-Star staff. I used to be All-NBA, All-Defense. And you already know what they needed to know once we had been taking part in the Bullets? “Clyde, how are you gonna stop Earl The Pearl right now?” And that’s the essence of the playoffs. You couldn’t go down the road as a result of everyone’s, “Hey, what are the Knicks gonna do? Hey, how’s Willis doing?” You can’t get away from it whenever you play in New York.

Q: What do they do about Trae Young?

Clyde: Keep him out of the paint, man. The X issue to me is Payton, and [Frank] Ntilikina. One of these guys should rise to the event and deny the man’s forays within the paint.

Q: What issues would possibly Nerlens Noel have in opposition to Clint Capela?

Clyde: Weight-wise [20 pounds lighter].

Breen: Most nights he takes the courtroom he’s been outweighed, however he’s such a fighter and battler, he makes use of his instincts and smarts. He’s one of many unsung heroes on this staff.

Q: Where has Barrett made the biggest Year 2 strides?

Breen: His decision-making. When to shoot, when to cross. Where to cross, seeing the courtroom. And he’s capturing the ball so significantly better, so now defenses have to protect him on the perimeter, and he’s been ready to make use of his energy to get to the basket.

Clyde: He’s that second man that may get 17-20 factors per recreation. But he must be extra constant from the get-go within the playoffs. The different factor is Barrett’s gotta guard [Bogdan] Bogdonavic, this man is hard, so a variety of instances that distracts out of your offense. That’s an adjustment that Barrett should make, as a result of Nate McMillan is old-school — if one thing is working, they’re gonna go to it. So like, if the Knicks are usually not defending the pick-and-roll, that’s what they’re gonna run now.

Q: How massive of an element will Derrick Rose’s expertise be?

Clyde: That’s an amazing issue. Just like [Danilo] Galinari has for them. And “Sweet” Lou [Williams] — three-time Sixth Man of the Year. So he’s a bench by himself!

Q: Who may very well be a sleeper shock for the Knicks?

Breen: I feel Reggie Bullock has been the man that has been so instrumental of their success however doesn’t get the correct quantity of credit score as a result of he does it at each ends. He’s solely performed in 4 playoff video games whole, however he’s a type of guys that Thibodeau is aware of he can depend on each single night time. Plus he’s acquired an important chemistry with Randle, the 2 work so effectively collectively. I feel he’s gonna be crucial, ’trigger they’re gonna want him defensively as a result of Atlanta’s acquired so many various weapons on offense.

Q: What do you bear in mind about your first Knicks playoff recreation as a broadcaster?

Clyde: The noise, the anticipation, the hoopla, the pageantry. … It’s like faculty.

Breen: The followers get there a lot earlier. There’s no such factor as a late-arriving crowd ’trigger they wish to get there early and really feel the thrill, it’s unimaginable. The gamers and coaches need no communication, they don’t need you to trouble them. Normally guys who’re pleasant and smiling, they’re identical to trying straight forward. It was an actual awakening as a result of I discovered shortly it’s like two totally different sports activities, regular-season basketball and playoff basketball.

Q: What are probably the most memorable Knicks playoff video games on the Garden?

Clyde: [John] Starks’ dunk. LJ [Larry Johnson’s] shot. When they’re singing the anthem, the singer can solely get midway by (giggle). Right now I’ve goose bumps, man. In the playoffs, my palms are sweating, and after I hear the anthem I get goose bumps like I’m taking part in the sport. I’ve all these recollections cascading by my head — Earl The Pearl, Big O [Oscar Robertson], Holzman telling me what I gotta do, who’s popping out on the courtroom.

Q: Was there any second apart from Willis limping out Game 7 versus Lakers, May 8, 1970, as loud as these two?

Clyde: No, probably not. I couldn’t even hardly hear Mike, I couldn’t hear something.

Breen: The four-point play by Larry Johnson, that was the yr that I used to be doing TV. That was the loudest I’ve ever heard the constructing.

Q: What are another loud Garden playoff moments?

Breen: The final time they had been within the playoffs moving into there have been some expectations, that was the Carmelo Anthony yr, there was an opportunity they may get to the Eastern Conference finals or possibly the Finals. It was thrilling as a result of they had been again within the postseason. And that’s what’s gonna make this yr so loopy is that it’s been so lengthy for the reason that followers felt that electrical energy, since they felt that playoff fever. It’s gonna be off the charts as a result of it’s been eight years.

Clyde: And now with 15,000 allowed to be in the building, come on, it’s gonna be like 35,000. When we had 2,000 there it was getting louder and louder.

Q: How a lot of a home-court benefit will the Knicks have?

Breen: These rookies are gonna be shocked at how loud that constructing could be ’trigger they haven’t skilled it but.

Q: Why does New York City have such a love affair with the Knicks?

Clyde: It’s the City Game. It’s the mecca of basketball. Guys are 70 years previous nonetheless making an attempt to play basketball. You acquired an unorthodox shot, so long as it goes within the basket, that’s the camaraderie that you’ve got with basketball whenever you’re with your folks.

Breen: Growing up, and whenever you watch on TV, after the sport you could possibly go right down to the park [Coyne Park] and you could possibly play. It took me about three minutes to get to the park from my home. If you didn’t get down there early sufficient, you wouldn’t be taking part in until the third recreation.

Clyde: Mike figured it out, he took his personal ball so he knew he’d get chosen (giggle).

Breen: There’s a sure magical staff in each metropolis that for some cause will get into the soul of town’s sports activities followers. And I feel Clyde’s staff of ’69-70 … the best way they received it and the best way they performed, and the kind of basketball they performed, that’s a central a part of the soul of the sports activities fan in New York, and I feel that fostered so many nice sports activities followers that had been handed down in generations.

Clyde: And it’s much like what’s occurring now, tumultuous instances … Vietnam, individuals in disarray, the nation in disarray … so for two ¹/₂ hours you could possibly go to the World’s Most Famous Arena and watch these guys play basketball — black guys, white guys, staff, cohesion, protection, unselfish play. So you could possibly neglect about what was occurring on the earth for two ¹/₂ hours and root for these guys … Reed and Frazier, [Bill] Bradley, DeBusschere, man, they only captivated town. And now you will have one other group of men which have captivated a metropolis due to the identical factor — the protection, the teamwork, reminiscent to the staff that I performed on.

Q: Do the Knicks must win this collection for the season to be successful?

Clyde: No. Nobody anticipated this. I assumed they might win 25 video games, possibly. So they’ve actually overachieved. And what they’ve is actual, this isn’t a fly-by-night factor. They’ve acquired one thing to fall again on, they’ve acquired protection, teamwork, seems to be like they could have their chief, if they will purchase one other good participant. Their downside is gonna be making an attempt to signal these different guys.

Breen: The entrance workplace made all the proper signings. They didn’t get the celebs, however boy did they get the proper position gamers to come back in, not solely with the roster that they’ve, however to play for a coach like Tom Thibodeau. To me, primary on the agenda was to vary the notion of the place the franchise was, and so they have finished that. And now it’s like throughout the league, each recreation we play, the opposite coaches talk about how onerous the Knicks play, how effectively they play collectively. It’s now grow to be a lovely place.

Clyde: And it’s superb how individuals are completely happy. There’s no hatred for the Knicks and their success, as a result of individuals perceive when the Knicks are good, the NBA is sweet.

Q: Your picks?

Clyde: For me, the home-court is the panacea. It needs to be sufficient for the Knicks to prevail.

Breen: I feel it’s gonna be a tricky, lengthy, onerous collection, as a result of the groups are pretty evenly matched, each well-coached. But with Thibodeau, and the best way Randle is taking part in, I give the sting to the Knicks.

Q: Do you will have a particular playoff outfit for Game 1?

Clyde: Oh yeah. … It’s comparatively new, so I’ll be stylin’ and profilin’.

Breen: I might put on a potato sack and no person would discover what I’m sporting.

Clyde: He can’t do this now, he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s gotta carry it now (giggle).

Breen: You know what the most effective factor in regards to the Hall of Fame is? Clyde says I now not have to hold his luggage on the street.

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