MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Walt Frazier has “profound memories” of playing against Jo Jo White and the Celtics, and remembers the Hall of Fame guard as being the catalyst for some great teams.
White passed away Tuesday at the age of 71.
“The guy was one of the quickest guys in the league,” Frazier said. “He could really shoot off the dribble, get you going back and pull up and shoot off the jumper. He epitomized what the Celtics were. They were always a running team. He provided that.”
Frazier, 72, said he was never close to White and didn’t know he was sick. He was surprised at his death.
He said he rarely spoke to White when they were on All-Star teams together because of the “intense rivalry” between the two teams. They met in the playoffs four times from 1969-74, including three straight years. White played in the last three series with the Knicks winning twice.
“Those days there was no camaraderie,” said Frazier, who led the Knicks to their only two NBA championships. “Certainly not like it is now. Out of respect we speak to them but no fraternizing.
“We talked, but never any social type of thing. Even at the All-Star Game we didn’t talk. The rivalry was that intense.”
Frazier, now an MSG analyst, said when the teams met, former Knicks coach Don Chaney used to guard him, and he would have to defend White.
“I can remember him coming down, stopping on the dime and shooting the jumper,” Frazier said. “He was very difficult because of that quickness.”
n Kanter’s minutes
Enes Kanter said he didn’t have any conversations with Jeff Hornacek about playing a season-low nine minutes in Monday’s win over the Nets. But Kanter has spoken to Hornacek previously about playing fewer minutes in the fourth quarter over the last three weeks.
“We had a good conversation,” Kanter said. “Whenever he gives me minutes I’m ready to go. We’ll just wait and see, I guess.”
Hornacek said he would play guys depending on situations. If he needs defense, Hornacek said he would go to Kyle O’Quinn or Joakim Noah (although he was inactive Wednesday). He also said if Kristaps Porzingis and Michael Beasley are on the court together, “then we don’t necessarily need an offensive threat that’s not really going to touch the ball at that point. Maybe it’s more defense. It’s all about winning as a team.”
n Hardaway’s minutes
For the time being, Hornacek said Tim Hardaway Jr.’s minutes would be in the mid-20s. Hornacek said it could change after the Knicks return from this six-game west trip when Hardaway gets “some more evaluations from the doctors.”
Hornacek said he could give Hardaway a little more time, which he did when Hardaway played 33 minutes in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Pelicans.
The extra minutes in just his second game back after missing six weeks with a stress injury in his lower left leg led to Hardaway being deactivated Monday. Hardaway returned Wednesday against the Grizzlies.