Monday, December 18, 2006

Knicks-Nuggets Slugfest Inspires Rare Moment of Candor on MSG Network

Mike Breen Tells It Like It Is, Rather Than How James Dolan Wants It To Be
Those who admit nowadays to being fans of the New York Knicks were incensed enough by James Dolan, owner of the Knicks and chairman of Madison Square Garden, when he dumped the peerless Marv Albert as the team's play-by-play announcer in 2004.
Besides providing game calls against which all others are compared to, Albert was unfailingly honest with his audience, sometimes too much so, as far as the Knicks were concerned. Dolan, with his typical cluelessness and ignorance of Knicks traditions, preferred a cheerleader instead.
That's something Albert never was nor will be, which is why he now calls Nets games on YES and other NBA games for TNT.
Those who work Knicks games on the MSG Network nowadays are more given toward spin, sycophancy and utter lack of peripheral vision, as Bob Raissman reminded us in his Daily News column on Sunday. It's a shame given that bootlicking broadcasters are not standard issue in New York, unlike in many other cities.
So, it was refreshing that Albert's play-by-play replacement Mike Breen -- an exception to the above -- not hold back on Saturday night when the Knicks and Nuggets squared off to fight instead of shoot hoops.
“Another dismal evening at Madison Square Garden, and this one turned ugly not only from a basketball standpoint," is one of the Breen quotes chronicled by Richard Sandomir in The New York Times.
Or, how about:
"This is turning into some kind of disaster" or "Just makes you sick to your stomach."
Not exactly a cheerleader, huh? But since Breen grew up idolizing Albert, as many announcers did, you wouldn't expect anything less.

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