Bob Raissman: Unlike Leon Rose, Donovan Mitchell can’t hide from the Knicks-Cavs playoff series media spotlight

The downtime between the Knicks playing the regular season and their first-round playoff meeting with Cleveland gives the pontificators more time to set expectation levels while making Donovan Mitchell the Garden’s public enemy number one.

How exactly did that work out for the Knicks when the fans and Valley of the Stupid Gasbags targeted Atlanta’s Trae Young two years ago in the playoffs, making him Knicks Kryptonite?

Cats, like Stephen A. Smith, who keeps whining about the The Knicks’ inability to bring Mitchell to the Drecka last summer, he viewed the Cleveland series as a referendum on the “wisdom” of not reaching a deal with Utah, leaving the door open for the Cavs to finalize a blockbuster trade to acquire the star point guard.

As if he needed more motivation to succeed in the playoffs, the media focus on Mitchell will only serve to sharpen his lead. Unfortunately, however, unlike Knicks president Leon Rose, there is no place for Mitchell to hide.

Mitchell will be under the high beam for all to see. Rose can take refuge under her own acquisitions and the media goes crazy the Knicks reaching the playoffs. Quite an achievement, right? Especially in a league where it’s not that hard to make the playoffs?

Unlike Mitchell, Rose won’t have to face pushback.

His strategy of keeping it a secret has been successful. Media “opposition” to Rose, including the outlets the scribes work for, has offered minimal resistance. No matter how the Knicks do, win or lose, Rose will always maintain her right to remain silent. Or agree to join in on a Twinkie Munch with Mike Breen of the MSG Network.

Rose also has a perception thing working for him. According to the VOS bloviators, all it takes is winning the Cleveland series for the Knicks’ season to be declared a success. This is known as setting the bar low. It takes us back to the 1991-92 season, after the Knicks won a best-of-five first-round series against Detroit 3-2.

On the WFAN radio show, the late voice of play-by-play Jim Karvellas yelled as he gave the Knicks the most credit for the win and advancement in the series. The analyst, someone named Walt (Clyde) Frazier, wasn’t waving the pom-poms.

“They [the Knicks] I haven’t done anything yet,” Frazier said, much to Karvellas’ chagrin. They still have something to prove.” The two went back and forth, with Karvellas trying to convince Frazier: “Walt, give them some credit.” Frazier didn’t move. The Knicks lost to Michael Jordan and the Bulls 4 games to 3 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The moral of this story should apply to this edition of the Knicks, and to those who speak the loudest: Winning a series, even if it validates the trade you didn’t make, is nothing to cheer about.


The afternoon run for ESPN-98.7’s “The Michael Kay Show” to make up substantial ground on WFAN’s “Carton and Roberts” has at least one of the Gasbags acting out of character.

That would be Don La Greca. While he is known for his rants, DLG, who in his role as one of the voices of the MSG Rangers also represents that organization, has never shown a mean side.

Until last week. DLG said a caller who agitated/aggravated him “must have a metal plate on his head.” Sorry, but that characterization isn’t something to just throw around. It could be someone’s harsh reality.

And it’s not fun.


The faculty at Bristol Clown Community College have reason to be encouraged.

The Women’s Final Four not only produced great viewership ratings, but also provided plenty of bad sportsmanship videos (featuring prominent players like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese), which, until further notice, will be used in promos to promote the Season 2023-24.

Not a great message to send.


Evan Roberts might want to play the audio of his WFAN comments following the Mets’ 7-6 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon.

Roberts (at least three times): “I’m not panicking!”

Of course he could have fooled us.


It didn’t matter that the Mets, involved in a tight Wednesday afternoon and were in about to be swept by Milwaukee. SNY still had time for a shot of Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez in the broadcast booth.

There was a reason, more or less, for the free image. The Free World must have stopped because Hernandez received a FaceTime call on his iPhone. It was from someone in the production complex, so it had to be important, right?

I was just wondering if using this time to air pointless nonsense resulted in missing a play, would the SNY crew be embarrassed?


When it comes to NFL Films video history, THE standard bearer is “Inside The NFL,” which began in 1977 on HBO. Now the Paramount+ streaming service is downloading the show, which for a few years also aired on Showtime. While “ITNFL” may be slow for the times we live in, no high-speed substitute can match the artistry, wit and mix of personalities—especially on HBO—that made “ITNFL” so great for so long. It’s rumored that there’s still time left on Paramount+’s contract with the NFL, which means the NFL either already has a new “ITNFL” network deal or is confident it will get one. …

This just in: Michael Kay and David Cone were cold Working Phillies-Yankees Wednesday per se. We know this because they mentioned it numerous times. Pity party? …

The WWE/UFC merger sounds like a true image generator for both brands, right? …

Kay has found new ground to cover: reading betting lines during Yankee games on YES. At SNY, the voices in the booth let Steve Gelbs do the bet readings…

Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo must have feelings for Gene Steratore. Doggie can’t stop criticizing the CBS rules analyst.

* * *


The UConn basketball coach deserves all the praise after winning a title. He built his career from scratch. No silver spoon leaflets or copouts. It all paid off in one brilliant moment.


Assessing his silly altercation with a troublemaker, it becomes clear: This is what happens when you watch truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” all day.


That Aaron Hicks He said, “Right now, I’m just focusing on myself and trying to get off to a good start and just play baseball and have fun.

What Aaron Hicks meant: “I’m used to getting booed in the stadium.”


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