Candace Parker accepts the backlash from Knicks fans over her recent hot takes about Jalen Brunson, calling it her “first taste of welcome to the NBA commentating with the diehards.”

The TNT analyst and two-time WNBA MVP also stands by her opinions, saying Tuesday that it was “no slight on Brunson” to suggest it’s difficult for an NBA team to win a title with a smaller guard as its leading player and that she believed that he didn’t play as well in the second round of the playoffs last spring against Miami as he had in the opening round against Cleveland.

Parker had received numerous angry replies on social media from Knicks fans, who pointed out that Brunson’s per-game average rose from 24.0 points and 4.8 assists against the Cavaliers to 31.0 and 6.3 in their second-round loss to the Heat.

“Well, I feel like, first of all, I love Knicks fans … and I get it,” Parker said Tuesday on a Zoom call for TNT ahead of this weekend’s All-Star Game. “What I was alluding to was the fact that in the first round of the playoffs, he was the best player on the court against Donovan Mitchell. He was the best player on the court.

“And the second round, especially on the defensive end, Miami picked on him a great deal. And Jimmy Butler was, in fact, the best player on the court. And my thing was basically it was no slight on Jalen Brunson. I think he makes everybody better around him. I think he makes winning plays.”

Parker, who said “it is my job to give my opinion,” added that she also believes the Knicks in-season trades for OG Anunoby in late-December and for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks last week addressed their needs for a defensive upgrade and additional shooting in building around their two All-Stars, Brunson and Julius Randle, for the playoffs

“I think what the Knicks have done in this trade, and in the season, that has been surrounding him with defense, which was something that they struggled with last year and getting stops against Miami in the playoffs. So that was my hot take.”


Former NBA ref Steve Javie, now a rules and officiating analyst for ESPN, compared the last-second officiating mistake that cost the Knicks against the Rockets by referee Jacyn Goble to a brain cramp in a radio interview Tuesday with “The Bart and Hahn Show” on ESPN New York.

“When you decide a game like that, it’s tough,” Javie said. “What it becomes, really, is mostly a learning situation for this young official. And I know for me it was for me when I did it. What happens is you have a momentary loss of concentration. Because you have to know the situation.

“You know it’s a tie ballgame. You see the ball, and the clock running down, the ball gets thrown out, and you have that feeling, and you know it’s desperation time, because there’s a second left, and you can’t really guess on the play and you can’t have a doubt on the play. Because what’s the worst-case scenario? You go to overtime, and the guys decide it. And that’s the thing. But every once in a while, you get that brain cramp and a loss of concentration, and that’s exactly what happened.”

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