Brandon Jennings, in his seventh NBA season and first with the New York Knicks, couldn't contain his emotion. He was playing at Madison Square Garden and on fire in the third quarter as he sparked his team to take the lead on the Wizards.
Someone forgot to tell Jennings that this was just a preseason game and he was getting hyped about draining a floater over Casper Ware, a generously listed 5-10 free agent who is trying to find a roster spot in the league.
“He’s trying to make the team," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who can relate to Ware's predicament of being undersized and working so hard to just make the final 15. "You got to respect guys like Casper. He’s putting himself in positon to make it in the league… I’m proud of the way Casper handled himself."
Jennings shoved Ware after the floater and appeared to mock him by clapping in his face to rile up the home crowd. They had to be separated. Jennings then drained a three-point shot over Ware, who also fouled him.
By the time Ware got comfortable, Jennings was off the floor. He scored eight points, including a floater of his own over the 7-foot Marshall Plumlee to tie the score at 88.
He didn't have much to say about Jennings after the game, but both California natives have a history playing against one another in a pro-am league during the offseason.
"Yes, I was honestly," Ware said when asked if Jennings' behavior surprised him. "You got to take the good with the bad. I just got to focus and keep playing."
Like Brooks, Bradley Beal was complimentary of his teammate's composure.
"Casper did a great job," he said. "If I was in Capser’s position, I probably would’ve retaliated a little different."