The chants of “Carl Is Better!” rang in Marcus Landry’s ears during last night’s 105-96 loss here to big brother Carl Landry and the Rockets. And the moment was punctuated when the older Landry finished a drop-step dunk around Jared Jeffries in the fourth quarter and then pointed to Marcus on the Knicks bench.
“It was like, ‘You’re on the bench where you belong, now stay there and watch me play! Get your pen and notepad out and learn something,” Carl joked after the game. “It was just big brother talk, that’s all.”
It was the first NBA meeting between the Landry brothers, both of whom are longshots who have made it to the game’s ultimate level. Carl, 26, was a second round pick of the Rockets and now is one of the league’s best Sixth Men, while Marcus, 24, was an undrafted rookie who not only made the Knicks roster, but now plays over lottery pick Jordan Hill.
“Sometimes when you get in the NBA you get a little money and you get comfortable,” Carl Landry said before the game. “There’s always guys out there that’s hungry. I was one of them and so was Marcus.”
While both played in the game, which was attended by several family members, Carl had the more standout performance with 14 points in 28:06. Marcus played just 3:33 and did not score.
Marcus had bragging rights before the game, however, as his alma mater, Wisconsin, knocked off Carl's alma mater, Purdue, to hand the Boilermakers their first loss of the season. It was in those games when the Landry boys met in those Big Ten matchups that Marcus first heard the "Carl is better" chants.
But never in their wildest imaginations did either brother expect to one day share an NBA court. Both credited their parents, both hardworking people from Milwaukee, as their inspiration and their standard.
And it was Carl who reached out to assistant coach Ken Atkinson, previously an assistant with the Rockets, to get his brother a tryout with the Knicks last summer. Carl even paid his little brother’s way to
Marcus’ $457,588 contract was guaranteed for the rest of the season on Friday, which should have afforded him enough money to repay his big brother. But Carl laughed at the notion and said, “He asked me for money last night!”
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* - Wilson Chandler managed to score 17 points against Shane Battier's stingy, physical defense, but Chandler did record five turnovers. Tough night for Wilson after a recent stretch of strong performances.
* - Mike D'Antoni was clearly frustrated after the game with the loss because he felt the team's defensive intensity dipped in the second half. The team had a 13-point lead with 2:02 left in the first half but, as we've seen this season, they didn't close it out properly and, instead the Rockets took a 9-2 run into halftime to close to within six.
* - You get good and bad from Nate Robinson, who provided all but two of the Knicks' 22 bench points. Robinson had four turnovers and struggled most when he had to run the offense, but had to be out there to counter the lightning quick speed of Aaron Brooks (20 points).
* - Plenty of Knick representation at the Toyota Center, with Willie Naulls -- a great from the 1950s-era -- on hand and Charlie Ward in attendance, as well. Coincidentally, it was on this date in Knicks history, 1958, when Naulls scored 33 points in a 136-123 win over the Celtics (in Syracuse), that saw the Knicks set a franchise record with 50 free throws made in the game. Naulls made 13-of-13 and legend Richie Guerin was 17-for-23.