Obi Toppin says Knicks celebrities and crowds ‘don’t excite me anymore’

There are plenty of storylines in this second-round playoff series between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers that begins Monday, May 6.

One of those is the return of former Knicks lottery pick Obi Toppin to Madison Square Garden, where Knicks fans were rooting for him. But now that he’s part of one of the Knicks’ fiercest rivals in the 1990s, Toppin isn’t expecting a warm welcome.

“We understand what kind of crowd there will be,” Toppin told reporters after the Pacers’ Saturday practice. “The celebrities will be there like we need to focus on our main things and play our type of basketball.”

The Knicks will try to slow down the Pacers, who averaged 113.0 points (2nd in the playoffs) in six games won against the injury-hit Milwaukee Bucks. It will be the classic duel between attack and defense. The Knicks had the second-best defense – holding the Philadelphia 76ers to just 108.2 points per game – behind only the surging Minnesota Timberwolves in the West.

Toppin said the MSG crowd no longer excites him.

“I’m from New York,” said Toppin, born in Brooklyn. “You play in Dyckman, you play in Rucker Park. You see it every day, so it’s like being from New York, and that doesn’t excite me anymore.”

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