Thomas and New York was swept by Martin and New Jersey in the first round of last season’s playoffs, but that wasn’t the story. Thomas suffered back, hip and ankle injuries after a hard foul by New Jersey’s Jason Collins in Game 1 and did not return for the rest of the series.
After ripping Collins during an off day between Games 2 and 3, Thomas also took out his frustration with some pointed comments about Martin, who he labeled a “fugazy” - a slang term for fake.
“He’s fugazy as far as the whole tough guy role,” Thomas said. “You get techs and you get fines and that makes you tough? Because your game is wild and crazy, that makes you tough?”
Thomas, who trains with super middleweight fighter Omar Sheika in the offseason, went on to challenge Martin to a boxing match.
Martin responded by taping a newspaper with Thomas’ picture on it to his jersey at practice and had some choice insults about Thomas.
“He’s a career underachiever. He hasn’t done nothing in his career. I’ve been to the finals twice,” Martin said. “His teammates in Milwaukee last year questioned him. That should tell you something right there.”
On the court, Martin’s new team is on a serious surge, winning four straight and 10 out of 12 games. Denver improved to 2-0 on a seven-game road trip with a 101-87 victory at Toronto on Friday behind Carmelo Anthony, who had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
New York is back home after a 1-3 road trip. The Knicks blew a 97-89 lead with 6:51 remaining in a 106-104 loss at Washington on Friday.
Knicks guard Allan Houston is set to make his home debut. Houston missed the first 18 games due to offseason knee surgery and scored eight points in 19 minutes on Friday.