Enes Kanter defends James Dolan, says Knicks owner is unfairly criticized

Enes Kanter defends James Dolan, says Knicks owner is unfairly criticized

Enes Kanter is used to voicing controversial opinions, but this is a hot take even by his standards.

The Boston Celtics big man was back in New York on Sunday to play the Knicks, who employed him for a season and a half from September 2017 to February 2019.

Kanter was spotted giving Knicks owner James Dolan a hug at Madison Square Garden, and apparently the gesture was genuine: After Boston's 113-104 win, the veteran forward offered a rare defense of his much-maligned former boss.

"We text. We are actually really cool buddies now,” Kanter said of Dolan, via The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov. "I got no problem with him. Some of the people can have problems with him, but I got no problem with him."

Kanter is in the minority, as many view Dolan as one of the worst owners in professional sports. The Knicks are well on their way to their seventh consecutive losing season and have gone through three general managers and five head coaches in that span.

New York also has failed to land marquee free agents such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, a shortcoming that some blame on Dolan's poor reputation. But Kanter insisted the Knicks owner doesn't get a fair shake.

“I will say this, it’s terrible that they blame on this guy every time," Kanter added. "I feel that he had nothing to do with it. You just got to go out there and play basketball. He cannot just push you to go out there and play basketball.

"I feel like people have put blame on him and people are wrong. I feel like he’s a really good dude. And we’re buddies now. I see those eyebrows raising up."

Maybe Kanter had a different experience with Dolan than, say, the fans Dolan has had kicked out of MSG for criticizing him. And Kanter did play some of his best basketball in New York, averaging 14.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game during his Knicks tenure.

But he likely won't find many who agree with his latest hot take.


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which tips off Wednesday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Pacers odds: Best NBA picks as C's eye fifth straight win

Celtics vs. Pacers odds: Best NBA picks as C's eye fifth straight win

The Boston Celtics are back to their winning ways ... and so are we.

The Celtics' current hot streak -- four consecutive wins -- coincides with our good luck on the betting front, where we're 4-0 picking the moneyline and point spread in Boston's last two games.

The C's face a tough test Wednesday night when they roll into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to play the Indiana Pacers, who are in the Eastern Conference hunt at 15-9.

How will Wednesday's game shake out? Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Pacers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Gordon Hayward showed virtually no rust in his return Monday night as the Celtics rolled to their sixth win in seven games. The Pacers have been inconsistent over the last two weeks, so I think Boston's talent wins out here. Take the Celtics (-120).

Point Spread: Indiana is a pedestrian 5-5-2 against the spread at home this season. The Celtics have won seven of their last games in Indiana and are well-rested after whupping the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pacers will put up a fight, but Celtics (-1) is the smart bet here.

Point Total: The Celtics boast the NBA's second-best defense. The Pacers are sixth. The total has gone under in nine of Boston's last 12 games and four of Indiana's last five games. Sign me up for the UNDER on the 209.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 32-21-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors (+2.5): If I'm on the Raptors, I really want to beat Kawhi Leonard in his return to Toronto. The Clippers are 5-6 on the road this season, and it should be quite the hostile environment Wednesday. I'm backing the home team.

Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls (-5): The Hawks are coming off a brutal overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday (Trae Young called game ... for the wrong team) and haven't won the second leg of a back-to-back yet this season. Chalk this up as a scheduled loss.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 20-15-1

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers live stream: Watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers live stream: Watch NBA game online

The last time the Celtics faced the Pacers, Boston swept Indiana out of the playoffs with a four-game sweep, with each win coming by 10 points or fewer.

But this year's Pacers club is much different than last year's. Three of Indiana's top four scorers this season — Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, and Jeremy Lamb — are in their first seasons with the Pacers.

Luckily for the C's, they won't have to contend with Victor Oladipo, who is currently on a rehab assignment in the G-League.

The Celtics are currently riding a four-game win streak and just got Gordon Hayward back in the lineup, while the Pacers are coming off an 11-point loss in Paul George's first game back to Indianapolis since joining the Clippers.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 7 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app


Listen and subscribe to our Celtics Talk Podcast>>>


BEFORE THE GAME: At 6 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Chris MannixMike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, Chris Forsberg, Tom Haberstroh, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

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