In London, Carmelo Anthony praises Knicks owner


In London, Carmelo Anthony praises Knicks owner

LONDON (AP) If MSG chairman James Dolan is listening to what Carmelo Anthony has to say in London, he'll probably be happy to hear it.

Two days after the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Dolan had put listening devices on the court to monitor everything said to and by Anthony, the New York Knicks forward spoke about the hubbub.

``I got an owner that looks out (for me),'' Anthony said before practice Wednesday at London's O2 Arena. ``You can't beat that.''

The report said Dolan had technicians stationed at opposite corners of the court during Friday's home game against Chicago. Holding umbrella-shaped parabola microphones, they were told to record Anthony's interactions and send the tape directly to Dolan himself.

Anthony and Boston forward Kevin Garnett exchanged words during the Celtics' 102-96 victory Jan. 7. Anthony, clearly thrown off his game and finishing just 6-of-26 from the field, later tried to confront Garnett near the locker room and team bus and received a one-game suspension from the NBA.

Anthony would not reveal what was said by Garnett, only that it was something he felt a man shouldn't say to another man.

``If an owner tries to protect their players, trying to protect his player, you can't beat that,'' Anthony said one day after arriving in London.

The Knicks are in the British capital to play a regular-season NBA game against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, the second time the league has come to London for a meaningful game.

And Knicks coach Mike Woodson easily was more interested in the Pistons than the miking story.

``I don't really care about the miking thing. I don't follow it and haven't followed it,'' Woodson said. ``I got better things to worry about than this miking thing that you guys are talking about.''

The Knicks are coming into the game off a 100-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. And after Wednesday's game, they won't play again until they meet the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

``This is not about vacation and I don't think any of us is treating it that way. This is a regular-season game. It's a game that we got to win,'' Woodson said. ``It's not about vacation time. Vacation's in the summer.''

To make things seem even more like home, director Spike Lee walked out on court before Knicks practice. The longtime Knicks fan was wearing a big orange hat and a Knicks sweatshirt.

``The orange and blue, baby,'' said Lee, who has been in London many times but is in the city to watch his beloved Knicks for the first time. ``My wife gave me permission to come to the game.''

The NBA came to Europe in 2011, with the then-New Jersey Nets swept a two-game series against the Toronto Raptors at the O2, the first regular-season games to be played in Europe.

Last year, there was no NBA at the arena, but it did host the Olympic gold medal game, something Anthony and Knicks teammate Tyson Chandler helped the United States win in August.

``How can I forget? It was a special time in my life, a special moment,'' Anthony said. ``Just to be back in this arena once again, having a chance to play one last time back here in London in front of the fans who've been very gracious to myself and the game of basketball.''

The schedule this year has only one NBA game in London, making it quite a long way to go for only 48 minutes of action.

``At the end of the day it's competition,'' Pistons center Greg Monroe said. ``This is a game we have to take very seriously. They're a very good team; we understand it's a business trip.

``We're enjoying ourselves as much as possible, but I think everybody is focused on the right thing.''

The Pistons had the earlier practice Wednesday, giving the players the afternoon off to explore the city. That's when the vacation feel is more likely to take hold.

``As long as they don't get trapped in the Tower of London,'' Pistons coach Lawrence Frank joked.

``That's part of the maturity of being a professional,'' Frank added. ``When you step off this hardwood, enjoy yourselves. But when you step back on, you got to be locked in.''

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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