The Tale of a Knicks Fan Forced to Listen to the Other Clyde
Though the New York Knicks have had their ups and downs since the Ewing Era (okay, downs and downs), they have had the phenomenal broadcasting duo of Mike “BANG!” Breen and Walt “Clyde” Frazier since 2004. Before Breen, they had Marv Albert, so the Knicks have always had a broadcasting team you could really sink your teeth into.
But for Knicks fans beyond the tri-state area, sometimes listening to the announcers of other teams while watching the Knickerbockers is the only option. Though often left longing for the MSG dynamic duo, the broadcasters of other teams usually do not significantly hinder a fan’s game-watching experience. That is, unless the game is being called by Bill Worrell and Clyde Drexler, the broadcasting team of the Houston Rockets.
I found myself in this unfortunate predicament when the Knicks faced off against the Rockets on November 21. Zach Lowe and other NBA media members had mentioned Houston’s poor playcalling in the past, so I figured I’d be in for a good chuckle. Boy, was I wrong.
Never have there been announcers more biased, petty, and uninformed than these two. Their atrocious game calling became so appalling that I decided to take notes on the most absurd things they said. Here are those notes:
FIRST QUARTER – “Okay, Lowe was right; they’re bad.”
- As the game begins, Drexler disputes Worrell’s statement that 7’3” Kristaps Porzingis is, in fact, 7’3” tall. When Worrell affirms his listed height as a fact, Drexler acts unimpressed by stating, “Well Sampson was 7’4”…………”
- It takes two minutes for the Rockets to be called for a foul. Coincidentally, it takes two minutes for Drexler to argue a call, claiming not enough contact was made in order to warrant a whistle.
- Roughly two minutes later, both broadcasters — acting in their professional roles as living witnesses of Hakeem Olajuwon — claim that Robin Lopez travelled on a completely legal drop-step move.
- When Derrick Williams is subbed in for the Knicks halfway through the first quarter, Worrell claims he was a #1 overall pick, forgetting the Cavs were “completely randomly selected for the #1 pick” after losing LeBron.
- When Arron Afflalo is at the foul line, Worrell says, “Afflalo used to have some success while in Denver. I say some.” While in Denver from ’09-’12, Afflalo averaged 12.2 ppg, 2.2 apg, and 3.3 rpg on 48/42/80 shooting. His best years were in Orlando, where he averaged 17, 3.5, 3.5 on 46/42/85 shooting. It’s unclear why Worrell is so negative towards Afflalo, especially while mis-identifying his best years. Bill Worrell has had no success.
- With ten seconds remaining in the quarter, a pick is set by Terrence Jones on James Harden’s defender, Lance Thomas. Worrell states, “After the switch on the screen, Harden is being guarded by… someone else…” There was no switch on the pick, and Thomas had been guarding Harden since subbing in near the four minute mark.
- Having one foul to give, Thomas fouls Harden on a drive attempt with four seconds left before he crosses the foul line to reset the play. This happens a few times every game. Worrell claims, “Well, after that switch, there was no way Thomas could keep up with Harden,” as the reasoning for the foul. Harden had not made a shot since Thomas entered the game. As the Rockets ran their final play with four seconds left, Thomas forced Harden into taking a highly contest jumper, which bricked off the front iron.
SECOND QUARTER – “Wow, these guys love arguing calls…”
- Whoever the hell their third guy in the booth is (COMMISSIONER’S NOTE: It’s Matt “Fucking Insufferable” Bullard, the Matt Bonner of the 90’s), he busted out this gem before the quarter started: “The Rockets’ bench ranks 29th in scoring in this league of 30. The Knicks’ ranks 4th. So the Knicks have a much better scoring bench than the Rockets.” How profound.
- One minute into the quarter, Ty Lawson goes in for a layup but is blocked cleanly. Both Worrell and Drexler argue for a minute that he was fouled, failing to comment at all on the following two possessions.
- Clyde Drexler utters the phrase “They are playing basketball.” This was one of the few true statements made all evening.
- Clint Capella shuffles his feet and dips his shoulder on a pick and is called for a illegal screen. Worrell yells “Aww, come on! The guy ran into him!” Clyde sarcastically states, “Well, you have to be a really good official to make that call.” Worrell replies, “Wow. You have to have a bit of an imagination to make that call.”
- Throughout the quarter, Drexler argues the Rockets should stop taking threes and should look to get closer shots. Clearly he is unaware of Morey’s “The Midrange is Lava” technique. He later goes on to say “The mid-range jumper is probably the best part of the NBA right now.”
THIRD QUARTER – “How are these men still employed?”
- Harden drives, draws help defense, and kicks it out to a wide-open Trevor Ariza, who misses the three. Drexler cries, “Oh no, don’t start that again. We’ve seen that all season. Attach the basket.” Ariza has been shooting 35% on 3s at this point in the season, which is just above the league average.
- Lance Thomas has to sub in as Melo picks up his 4th foul, three minutes into the quarter. Since he was not expecting to sub in this early, he takes a bit of time to get off the bench and remove his warmups, but is clearly rushing to do so. Bill Worrell claims that the Knicks should be called for a delay of game penalty because Thomas took too long to take off his warmups. Drexler adds that Thomas should be penalized for entering the court with an untucked jersey.
After this happened, I muted my television for the rest of the third quarter because I couldn’t believe they were actually lobbying for this. I wanted to enjoy the Knicks playing well for a bit without the distraction of these two.
FOURTH QUARTER – “Clyde Drexler should be stripped of his ring.”
- Corey Brewer, who had made back-to-back three pointers to end the 3rd, finally misses a three early in the fourth. Drexler chimes in, “When the threes aren’t hitting, you gotta take it inside.”
- Harden attempts to draw an offensive foul on a drive to the basket by the Knicks, and no call is made either way. Worrell comments, “I thought they would’ve called foul! You know, Derek Fisher was a world-class flopper. Don’t think he didn’t pass that on to his team as well.” Did he forget Harden also enjoys a good flop from time to time?
- Capella commits a loose-ball foul by grabbing the arm of Robin Lopez on a rebound attempt. Clyde asks, “Wasn’t he over Capella’s back?”
- While Lou Amundson is shooting foul shots, Drexler states “Amundson had a great year for the Phoenix Suns. [laughs] A good year I should say. I don’t want to misuse that word, he had a GOOD year.” “Yeah, not great…” Worrell adds.
- Jones goes up for a layup, and is fouled. Worrell: “T Jones, fouled MULTIPLE times on that attempt.”
- Jones misses his first free throw. Drexler asks, “Wait, is he not a great shooter?” Worrell states, of the home-team player, “48%” Clyde responds, “Oh. Well, you gotta hit that.”
- Ariza goes for a loose ball, and is called for a foul as he knocks over Langston Galloway while obtaining possession. Drexler argues, “I don’t think Ariza fouled him there. I thought he got all ball.” While Drexler’s comments are technically true, he’s simply never thinking at all.
- “Earlier in his career, Carmelo could average 7 or 8 rebounds a game.” – Worrell. At the point when this game took place, Carmelo was averaging 7.2 rebounds per game.
- They both argued that this was not a foul:
Fortunately, the game ended shortly thereafter. The experience showed me that if for some reason the Rockets are the only broadcasting team available for a game, I’m better off listening to LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE. Listening to their broadcast is the equivalent to watching a game called by your two pick-up buddies who argue every foul call against them and call foul every time they miss a shot. In other words, it’s equivalent to watching a game called by your two pick-up buddies.
I’d rather listen to a game called by Bill Worrell, the painter, sculptor, and writer. That’s BillWorrell.com. And remember to carpe EVERY diem.
I’m sorry Zach Lowe, I should have heeded your warnings and never subjected myself to this misery. May this post serve as a warning to all of you: do not make the same mistake I did.