Frank Ntilikina-LeBron James

The Knicks are back! Maybe. Well, probably not, but they’ve brought Madison Square Garden alive the last three weeks with a flurry of wins, and rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina got the crowd on its feet again during Monday’s game against the Cavs in an unexpected way.

In the second quarter, LeBron James stood over the ball after finishing an alley-oop, preventing Ntilikina from picking it up for the inbounds. You’d think a 19-year-old rookie would bow down to a guy nicknamed The King who’s arguably the best player of all-time, but — possibly in light of LeBron’s comments that the Knicks messed up by drafting him, which seemed to be a shot at Phil Jackson — Ntilikina gave LeBron a pair of forearm shoves to the chest.

James appeared to share some words with Ntilikina afterward, which brought Enes Kanter into the fold to defend his teammate. James and Kanter were assessed a double technical as the Garden crowd gave Ntilikina a standing ovation.

It’s only November, but the Knicks are 1.5 games ahead of the Cavs, and they’re hanging with the former Eastern Conference favorites in the first half of tonight’s game. And their young point guard is showing some verve.

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.