DENVER — Saturday night’s Knicks-Nuggets game may not have been a ratings-grabber in either city, but it was a big hit in Madrid, Spain.
Knicks center Willy Hernangomez and his brother, Nuggets forward Juancho Hernangomez, were set to play against each other for the first time in the NBA.
Willy outplayed his brother, but Juancho’s team routed the Knicks. Willy had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes in the Knicks’ 127-114 loss. Juancho? One point in two minutes.
The game was a 3 a.m. tipoff in Spain, but members of the Hernangomez family were expected to be glued to their sets (or whatever people use to watch NBA games in Spain these days).
“I’m excited,’’ Willy Hernangomez said. “It’s an important day for me and my family. I can’t wait for being on the court to play against my brother. All my family back home, my grandfather, too, will watch it. They’re going to sleep and wake up for the game. It’s a big day for my family.’’
Both players are NBA rookies. Willy is 22, Juancho 21. And they are close. “We have a really good relationship,” Juancho told the Denver Post. “We are more than brothers. We can talk about every situation, every problem. So I think that’s our key. Our relationship is really good. If he has problems, he knows we can talk to each other. And if I have an issue, I can talk to him. The good thing is we are rookies in the same season. So all of the problems that he has, we have the same. So we’re going to help each other to learn about the NBA, learn about everything.”
Sick of the road
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has had a bad cold since this five-city trip began on Dec. 9 in Sacramento. It has led to a gravelly voice that would be perfect for a blues singer but is not conducive to yelling at players from the sideline. “I hope they can hear me,” Hornacek said.