K-Mart: Thomas' words mean nothing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kenyon Martin taped the back page
of a newspaper with the headline "Whiny Tim" to his practice jersey Thursday before his New Jersey Nets' Game 3 against the Knicks.

Martin also mocked and challenged Knicks forward Tim Thomas, who criticized his own teammates and called Martin a phony tough guy a day earlier.

"He knows I'm going to be there at 7 o'clock tonight," Martin
said. "He knows where to find me. ... Lock me and him in a room
together and see who comes out."

A league spokesman said NBA vice president Stu Jackson was
monitoring the developments, which have provided the most intrigue
in a one-sided series. New Jersey won the first two games by an
average of 21 points.

To the amusement of teammates and the Nets' staff, Martin walked
out of the trainer's room at the team's practice facility wearing
the back page of the New York Daily News across the front of his
jersey. He then proceeded to insult Thomas for several minutes.

"If you take a poll around the league and asked people who they
want on their team, they're not going to say Tim Thomas. Teammates
never questioned how hard I played," Martin said. "They know what
they're going to get out of me when I step on the court. I'm not
like Pandora's box -- you open it up and don't know what you're
going to get. That's him."

Thomas hasn't played since being flagrantly fouled by Nets
center Jason Collins in Game 1, taking a hard fall and bruising his
hip, lower back and ankle. He has been ruled out of Game 3.

Thomas made his first public comments since the foul at practice
Wednesday, criticizing teammates for failing to retaliate and
dismissing Martin as "fugazy" -- a slang term for a fake.

"I think it applies to him more than me," Martin said.

Asked to rank the use of the word "fugazy" on a 1 to 10 insult
scale, Martin gave it a zero.

"If it was coming from someone who did something in his career,
maybe," Martin said. "Coming from him, it's nothing."

Amid the increasing tension, Nets coach Lawrence Frank said he
felt no need to remind his team of the NBA rule prohibiting players
from leaving the bench area during a fight.

"Our focus is on winning, our focus isn't on bench control or
fighting," Frank said.

Thomas wasn't at the Knicks' morning shootaround but was
expected to be in street clothes at Thursday's game.

Martin was surprised Thomas would make such inflammatory
comments on the eve of a game he wasn't planning to play in.

"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.

"Sooner or later his teammates now are going to start
questioning him calling people out when he's not playing."