Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Knick's season ends dreadfully

I barely watched game four of the series...was really not interested after the game three loss, and they didn't seem that interested either.

I was impressed by Amare however, playing with the bad back. He is a warrior, but the rest of the team needs work.

Being a defensive guy, I thought, although the team played defense well in game one and two, it was an aberration. The team really needs an overhaul to be called effective defensively, and without defense the Knicks will never be more than pretenders.

D'Antoni embarrassed himself in this series. He didn't even have enough sense to start AC at the point and put Douglas at the two. Douglas is not a point guard, he's a shooting guard.

To be continued...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Knicks lose a chance to make history

It was all set up for the Knicks to make history. Two games against the Celtics that took them to the buzzer. Two games where they overachieved, and did what no one though they could do- upset the Celtics. Two well-played games. Two games where they lost key players to injuries. The second game, where Carmelo went wild and carried the team on his back. He was a leader among leaders...incredible. Two games where they out-played and out-hustled the Celtics.

And the third game was in Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks. Amare Stoudemire who could barely walk inspired the team by being in the starting lineup. It was to be a Willis Reed type moment. The crowd was crazy. The Garden energy was amazing. The Knicks would make history. They would win game two and win game three, and New York would be buzzing...the media would be talking about the Knicks as a miracle-type team...

And then the game started, and the Knicks looked like bums. Like a team that didn't even belong in the playoffs. They were out-played , out-hustled, out-coached and outed as a mediocre team.

The only positives- Jared Jeffries was better on offense, aggressive and even effective at times. Bill Walker played a better game as well. Shawne Williams led the team in scoring and got his stroke back. And Amare proved once again why he is a leader- inspiring the team by showing up in such bad shape. I know. I have had similar back injuries. You can't even sit on a chair without having pain that makes you howl like wolf. Believe me, it's horrible. And yet, here was this man playing basket ball in that condition? Wow.

The rest of the players were rendered ineffective by a clearly superior team in the Celtics. For the first time in the series, the Celtics looked like Champions. They did everything right. They were on. While the Knicks looked like an 8th seed that squeaked into the playoffs with a losing record...one of those teams that don't belong.

I blame D'Antoni for not getting his team mentally prepared because they weren't. I blame the players because they didn't hustle. They let the Celtics get offensive rebound after offensive rebound, over and over again. Right from the start you could tell something was off. They were outclassed completely from the opening tip.

Was this the same team that played so magnificently in Boston? That played DEFENSE??? The only thing that stopped them in those two games was their inexperience and the Celtics experience. that was the deciding factor. But last night, it was more than that. The Knicks reverted back to the team that they have been since the trade. Inconsistent, mentally and physically soft, NO defense, and not willing to give up their bodies to hustle like they did in game one and game two.

I've said before that the only way the Knicks would win this series was to out-play and out-hustle the Celtics. They did that in the first two games.  They disappointed in game three. ESPECIALLY, when you consider what Amare did to even show up. He was physically ineffective, sure, but even Superman in that condition could not have been any more effective. His presence was supposed to ignite the team, and yet, they played as if he was missing and had no hope. Like they burned themselves out in Boston, and gave up when they lost game two.

Even if they win game four, they are done in five. Feh.
Anyone for Mark Jackson for coach?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Tonight's Loss, Knicks Prove They Can Beat Celtics

Like gladiators in the Roman arena, the Knicks battled as if their lives depended on winning tonight. They fought a superior foe through an incredible, blood, sweat and gut check game before falling in the final seconds by three points.

Carmelo Anthony, the Knick's Spartacus, had himself, one of the greatest nights in Knicks history, but with only backup caliber teammates around him, he could only do so much, and when surrounded, did the right thing in deferring to his less talented teammates.

After losing two of their three best players, the New York Knicks stood toe to toe with the five Boston Celtics starters at full strength and gave them hell. But in the end, the Knicks inexperience, and mental errors cost them a game they had already won.

Winning by one point, with 19.8 seconds left, after Jared Jeffries made an unexpected layup, the Knicks did not double Chris Rock's "man", Kevin Garnett, who worked his way inside vs. Jeffries to take a five foot shot. Instead, Carmelo Anthony and Toney Douglas, both within a few feet of the Boston Power Forward, elected to leave Garnett one on one with Jeffries. Their choice resulted in a basket for Boston putting the Celtics up by one.

The Knicks then went on offense, but the offensively challenged Jeffries stayed in the game, and ended up throwing a weak pass to Bill Walker under the basket. Garnett stole the ball  away, called time out, and the Knicks were left with one final chance.

They would have to foul and worst case scenario, take a three point shot with 2-3 seconds left. But Carmelo, already exhausted from playing the entire second half, did not follow MILFer Delonte West into the backcourt. West ran out the clock leaving only .6 seconds left, and hit both free throws to ice the win for Boston by three points, 96-93.

But through all of this epic struggle, the Knicks can see that they can beat the Celtics. In both games on the road, with key players injured in both losses, the Knicks took the Celtics to the final buzzer.

No one expected the Knicks to play like this. They have out-played and out-hustled the Celtics, but at crucial moments, have made costly mental errors that caused them to lose both games. Bad decisions, bad choices, and bad defense...

In game one, leaving Garnett open for that late layup from the inbounds play...

Confusion on guarding Ray Allen, the most prolific 3-point shooter in the game. He is the ONE player you can never leave open...

In game two, again leaving Allen open time after time...

The costly choice not to double team Garnett on his final shot...

Jeffries' weak pass, allowing Garnett to steal it away...

And more...

Still, in both games, the Knicks were not at full strength for either ending, and took the Celtics to the final buzzer on the road...

I believe the Knicks could have won one of those games had they been at full strength. In my playoff matchup post last week, I stated that if the Knicks were to have a chance in this series, they would have to:

1. Out-play and out-hustle the Celtics...
Check, except for most of the second half in game one, which is why they lost that game.

2. Out-rebound the Celtics...

3. Box out...
Sporadic results here, because D'Antoni doesn't seem to teach this very well. A new coach should do the trick.

4. Run the Celtics off the court...
Knicks have done a good job of playing up-tempo and have moved the ball around well, but...

5. Show mental toughness and play smart...
They lost game one because of mental errors, and the same for game two. Inexperience is the cause here, and there is nothing to be done about that, except having Billups and Stat in there with Anthony.

If the Knicks can learn fast, they can still win this series, but if they continue to have these mental lapses, they could be swept.

I believe that the Knicks will, out of sheer determination, bring home victories in game three and four to tie the series.

If I am wrong, expect a quick exit, but if I am right, then I may be wrong... in my pre-playoff prediction of Celtics in six.

ps- I'm not saying no to Carmelo anymore...:)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knicks lose Billups and game

Well, I think my halftime blog post said it all. The Knicks regressed without Billups in there at the end. During the last minute of the game, they let up, and just like I said, they lost. In that final minute, they actually looked like they did a few weeks ago during the losing streak... mental lapses and succumbing to the pressure. It was an ugly end to a great game.

Let's hope they have learned something from this.

Carmelo had 5 turnovers (gasp) and 5 made baskets. I don't blame him for taking the shot at the buzzer though. that's what he is here for. I don't think he should have taken the contested three point shot though. He should have drove and gotten a better shot off. he had a turrible game, as Charles would say. Turrible.

Billups will probably miss game two, so I don't think they have much of a chance without him, though while he was in there for game one, he disappointed. Both he and Carmelo did not play a good game. Amare carried them in game one.

Carmelo had better come to play in game two. Otherwise it's 0-2.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Playoff Halftime Blog: 51-39 Knicks

Did D'Antoni read my last post? Because the Knicks have done everything I suggested. They have moved the ball around, kept it up-tempo, laid back on Rondo, and played aggressive, hustling defense. They have out played and out hustled the Celtics.

Knicks have done everything right. You can't ask for a better half, but that's what worries me. the Celtics are playing poorly- too poorly. I'm sure they will be angry in the locker room and come out like porn stars who haven't had sex in a month...HUNGRY!

In the second half. the Knicks better not let up for a minute, because this is looking too good right now. However, if the Knicks can keep it up, they can take this game, and threaten the Celtic's somewhat fragile psyche....

Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Knicks-Celtics Matchups

This is a classic offense vs. defense matchup that should be fascinating to watch...let's look at the matchups position by position.

Rajon Rondo vs. Chauncey Billups

Rondo has not played well down the stretch.  His weakness is shooting and so, Chauncey needs to play loose on him. With Rondo's strength, speed and vision, he can beat Chauncey inside, and tire him out. But playing loose D on Rondo will allow Chauncey to hang in there, and on offense, Chauncey can post up Rondo, and sink the big shot as we all know. Chauncey Billups' play may be the key to this series. If he is healthy, able to run, and keep the ball moving. If he's playing at the top of his game, circa 2009, the Knicks will have a chance.

Edge: EVEN

Ray Allen vs. Landry Fields

Ouch. Allen's shooting is great and Fields is a rookie. But between Fields and Toney Douglas, they can tire Allen out when he covers them on defense. Movement will be the key. Keep moving, keep making him run. Then you've got a shot. Allen also is a streak shooter, that can be both good and bad for the Knicks, but all told, this is the worst matchup for the Knicks.

 Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has played great lately, proving me (somewhat) wrong in my assessment of his defensive play. If he can keep it up vs. PP, he can help his team immensely. A step back (literally) on defense can doom the Knicks to a quick exit. Playing tight defense on PP is important, and though you risk tiring Carmelo out, you must take that risk. Pierce can kill the Knicks with his shot, and it will take a top-notch effort by Carmelo to stop him. On offense, again, movement is the key. Iso plays will play into the Celtic's hands. NO NO on that. Knicks must move the ball around. Carmelo must stay away from his signature plays. Tough to do.

Edge: EVEN


 Kevin Garnett vs. Amare Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire is much younger than Kevin Garnett. He can beat Garnett on the offensive end and play him even on defense, but can is not a done deal kind of word. Remember Garnett is still a defensive force. Again, we come down to age and speed/movement as the Knick's asset. Amare must take the ball to the basket and challenge Garnett, hopefully getting him into foul trouble. On defense, Amare must give 100% effort and BLOCK OUT Garnett. Otherwise, the Knicks will have no chance. Amare must come close to Garnett in rebounding in this series for the Knicks to have a good chance to upset.

Edge: EVEN
 Jermaine O’Neal vs. Ronny Turiaf

Double ouch. The Knicks have Turiaf , Shelden Williams, and Jared Jeffries at this position. The Celtics have the O'Neal brothers-  Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal. Which would you rather have? The O'Neal's health has not been great, so it is possible for something good to happen here for the Knicks, but don't count on it. If the celtics get anything from Shaq, it will destroy the Knicks chances more than anything else.

Edge: EVEN


Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green, Carlos Arroyo, Delonte West vs. Toney Douglas, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, Jared Jeffries, Shawne Williams, Bill Walker.

Baby Davis is a tough player for the Knciks to handle. But Douglas is a player that will be tough for the Celtics to handle. The difference is that Davis has the experience, while Douglas has never been in a playoff game.Shawne Williams hasnot played well lately, and the 3-point shot has not been sinking as it did earlier in the season. Carter could play a difference here, and should get BIG minutes  as Billups' backup, because he has playoff experience, and can play well here. I would love to see him get 18 minutes a game at PG, and let Douglas play the two position. Green hasn't set the world on fire since coming from Oklahoma, but Krstic is another big man that may cause the Knicks trouble. Too many big men for the Knicks to stop here.


Doc Rivers vs. Mike D’Antoni

Oh Dear. Rivers has won a championship. D’Antoni has won the title of worst defensive coach of the year. If Rivers can get the Celtics to snap out of their recent funk, this won't even be close. Meanwhile D'Antoni can frustrate the Celtics if he can get his team to keep moving the ball and run the Celtics off the court. Very difficult in the playoffs. The Celtics will not let the Knicks run, but they can still move the ball around and play up-tempo. The slower the Knicks move, the less chance they have.


Total Edge= BOSTON 4-0-3
The Knicks’ rebounding and defense is not good enough without a top-notch Center. But they can hang in there and get close, if they each put in 100% effort on every single possession. Hustle will be the key. If the Knicks can out play and out hustle the Celtics, they have a chance to upset. The Knicks however, have been inconsistent and not tough mentally throughout the season. Whereas the Celtics are as tough as they come.

Secondly, the Knicks must block out and rebound well. They won't out-rebound the Celtics, but if they can come close, they can make things interesting. They haven't shown any ability to do this well, at all, however, outside of Carmelo Anthony.

Third, they must run and tire the Celtics out, but the playoffs are a difficult time for any team to run, and the Knicks have been inconsistent in their offensive philosophy as it is. Too many questions...


Game 1 at BOS: Celtics
Game 2 at BOS: Celtics
Game 3 at NY: Knicks
Game 4 at NY: Knicks
Game 5 at BOS: Celtics

If the Knicks win, it will have to be in six, because game seven at Boston will be all Celtics. They would have to take one game at Boston and sweep in NY. That's the only way they can make it happen, and I don't see it. In the end, I think the Celtics big men will just be too much for the Knicks. Rebounding, the Knick's Achilles heel, will be their undoing.

Game 6 at NY: Celtics 

Final: Boston 4-2

Friday, April 15, 2011

Knicks- Celtics Playoff Preview

The Knicks have a shot to upset the Celtics. Give them a puncher's chance. They don't have the talent yet, to play man for man, but they may be deeper overall, if their bench can overachieve in this series.

What the Knicks do best is rely on their three stars, who can win games by themselves. But they must move the ball around, and avoid the isolation plays that will play into the hands of the Celtic defense.

Carmelo Anthony will be doubled for most of this series, but he's still a great shooter. Amare Stoudemire can play with Kevin Garnett and maybe even out play him. Chauncey Billups has been there before. He's a champion, and with the game on the line, can sink any shot, as Carmelo can.

If the Knicks can play with 100% effort on defense and execute the offense close to perfectly, they can beat the Celtics, but it will take all 3 players to play at the top of their game. The bench must contribute as well. Simply put, they must out play, and outhustle the Celtics. Certainly a possibility since Perkins' departure has torn the heart out of the team.

If Boston's mental attitude is not "on", the Knicks can take the series.
We'll know after the first half of the first game. From that first moment, the Knicks must outplay their rivals. If they are lookin' good at halftime, we'll have a series.


Game 1 at BOS: Celtics
Game 2 at BOS: Celtics
Game 3 at NY: Knicks
Game 4 at NY: Knicks
Game 5 at BOS: Celtics

If the Knicks win, it will have to be in six, because game seven at Boston will be all Celtics. They would have to take one game at Boston and sweep in NY. That's the only way they can make it happen, and I don't see it. In the end, I think the Celtics big men will just be too much for the Knicks. Rebounding, the Knick's Achilles heel, will be their undoing.

Game 6 at NY: Celtics

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Knicks- Celtics in the Playoffs

Nevermind the meaningless Chicago game last night. The Knicks pulled their starters in the last few minutes to surrender, electing to rest Carmelo and Chanucey.

The game meant nothing but it was fun to see the Knick run early in the 4th quarter. They got as close as 7 points and then the Bulls closed it out.

Onto the playoffs...Knicks have clinched the 6 seed and will face the Celtics.
The game tonight won't mean anything either. Expect it to be a sub vs. sub game.

Paul Pierce had this to say on the Boston-NY playoff matchup...

“I think it’s going to be fun...You definitely have that rivalry in baseball. Maybe we can spark a rivalry there in basketball. You’ve got two cities who are close, next to each other, great sports towns. I think it’s going to be great for the game...It’s going to be a very interesting series. I know everybody’s going to tune in to watch it. I know this is going to be as exciting as probably that series versus the Lakers last year, or even the series we had [two years ago] versus the Bulls. I think it’s going to be very exciting for the fans to watch.”

More to come...

PS- I have decided not to change this blog's name till the offseason.  Seems like a better idea to start fresh...:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Carmelo plays D!

Carmelo plays D!

I was shocked to see Carmelo Anthony block Danny Granger's shot with only a few seconds left in the game last night. This came after he made the winning shot with 4 seconds remaining in the game.

So, as I have said before, when Carmelo proves he can play defense, I will change the name of this blog. I always keep my word. Before the first playoff game, we'll be at a new blog address.
Stay tuned for details...

The Knicks are now a winning team at 42-38 and the worst they can do is 42-40. Although they will never be a great defensive team (sigh), they can play good defense, good enough to beat most teams.

Since it looks like they will be playing the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, I don't hold out much hope, however...the Celtics have been shaky lately, and their attitude and swagger is not as solid as it was with Perkins. Since he left, they haven't been the same team, and it wouldn't surprise me if they faltered...

We'll have a long playoff preview posting next week where I will elaborate...

Friday, April 8, 2011

New York Knicks stopped the worst losing streak in their history tonight

New York Knicks stopped the worst losing streak in their history tonight...nine straight losing seasons. By beating New Jersey on the road, 116-93 this evening, they have clinched at least a .500 record for the season. Standing at 41-38 for the season, the Knicks can now do no worse than 41-41.

The team did a good job minus Amare, dominating their inferior neighbors. Let's see how they fare in their final three games of the season...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pfunky Pfinish In Philly

SNTC Post game Report

With 11 seconds to play, Carmelo Anthony hit a dramatic three point shot to lead the New York Knicks past the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia 97-92. The clutch three point shot came after the Knicks dominated for the first three quarters, leading by as much as 19 points, but almost lost the game to the 76ers in the final three minutes.

The win pushes the Knicks past the 76ers, into 6th place in the playoff race with five games to go. It was the Knicks fifth win in a row after losing 9 of their last 10.

Chauncey Billups, the Knicks starting point guard was injured in the third quarter, when he collided with a 76er player and fell to the floor, laying motionless. Though he continued play, Billups left the game a few minutes later, and did not return.

As the fourth quarter wore on, the Knicks leading by 13 at the start of the quarter, began playing a slowed down, "hold the ball" type game, and seemed lost without Billups. Although the team only committed three turnovers all game, the 76ers were able to mount a furious comeback with Thaddeus Young coming off the bench to score 15 of his 25 points in the final quarter. Philadelphia took the lead 88-87 with 2:46 left as a result of multiple fast break opportunities, and a near total collapse of the Knicks.

It was then that the second team point guard for the Knicks, Toney Douglas stepped up and hit a three point shot to put the visiting team up 90-88. On the other end of the floor, the Knicks Rony Turiaf made a key defensive play, blocking a shot by 76er Jrue Holiday.. Douglas sank two free throws with 42 seconds left to give the Knicks a four point lead, followed by the 76ers Andre Igoudala firing back with a three pointer of his own to bring the 76ers within one, finally ending with Anthony's winning three point shot with 11.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Amare Stoudemire sprained his left ankle during the fourth quarter, and after the game, said his left ankle is "pretty sore" and "we'll see how I feel tomorrow". When asked about the game, Stoudemire explained, "Once we get a lead we need to maintain it... we can't afford to get down and let them get back into it."

Meanwhile, a relieved Chauncey Billups said that his leg did not "harden up" as the left leg did after the Magic game, leading to 10 games where he was unable to play, and that he will probably be fine. When asked about Toney Douglas' leadership in his absence, the veteran point guard Billups said "he's going to have to learn to close the game out, make good decisions". He explained that his protege Douglas played well but that he would have a talk with him about the mental aspects of his play. 

After Billups left the game, the Knicks suffered multiple shot clock violations. All the ball movement exhibited in the first three quarters disappeared, and at times, the Knicks passed the ball back and forth near mid-court, past the three point line. Penetration and movement were non-existent, and in spite of the lack of turnovers, the Knicks suddenly regressed back to the team that went through a 9 of 10 losing streak.

But when the game was being closed out, Billups's replacement, Toney Douglas did the closing, hitting that clutch three pointer and two important free throws when the Knicks desperately needed someone to score. The shot by Carmelo won the game, but Douglas was just as important in the final moments.

My take....

After Billups left the game, Douglas did not seem to take charge of the team. At times, he let other players bring the ball upcourt and when he did handle the ball, he excessively dribbled, and is responsible for the team suffering multiple shot clock violations. He must become better at running the team., or Anthony Carter should be inserted into the point guard slot with Douglas as the SG.

Meanwhile, Melo commiting a ridiculous foul with 4 seconds left could have been disasterous. If it was a 3 point play, the Knicks would be up by one, and a steal could have led to a Reggie Miller type loss. DUMDUMBDUMB!

Regardless, this was an important win, mostly because the Knicks proved to themselves that they could handle adversity, fall apart, and put themselves back together again in a matter of moments. It bodes well for the playoffs, as long as the injuries prove to be minor. Mentally, they can gain strength and confidence from this game, and be able to call upon this memory in tough times ahead, most likely vs. Miami or Orlando in the playoffs.

As I wrote in my third quarter breakdown, my favorite moment of the game came after the Billups injury (no disrespect to Chauncey), when Walt "Clyde" Frazier said,  "I slept with many ice bags during my career".

I always admired Clyde for his prowess on and off the court, and was sorry to hear that.

But it was funny as hell.

Clyde did explain that for 48 hours after this type of injury, you need ice on the wound. Hopefully, Chauncey won't sleep with an ice bag though.

Clyde: "I slept with many ice bags during my career"

The highlight of the 3rd quarter of tonight's game for me was Clyde saying,  "I slept with many ice bags during my career".

But the context of the quote was serious, coming from Clyde after Chauncey Billups injured his right leg (not the one injured before) with another thigh contusion. I had rib contusions when I played ball, and that is p-a-i-n-f-u-l. Lets hope it's not severe, and not as bad as last time. He won't return to action tonight, and Clyde did explain that for 48 hours after this type of injury, you need ice on the wound.

Knicks lead 78-65

Halftime at philly 49-41 Knicks

49-41 at the half. Knicks led by 16 at one point. The team was a bit sloppy and had a few defensive lapses. Not nearly as strong as they were in the first quarter, but some nice plays by Bill Walker including an aggressive dunk! Carmelo has 13 points, 8 rebounds, AND a second blocked shot. Playing very well, but I did see him slacking off on defense. (NO soup for you!)

The best stat I can report is 2 turnovers in the first half, but Philly had only 3. Philly shooting 37.5% for the half, so stat-wise the Knicks are playing great D, but looking at the game you can see some lapses. Maybe I am expecting too much from these players. I keep hoping to be blown away by the defensive effort, but I should be accepting of their limitations. Still, a big improvement from the Knicks for the energy on defense.

1st Quarter vs. philly 26-19 Knicks

Watching the first quarter, the Knicks definitely came to play. They are swarming to the ball, double teaming when possible, and playing solid D! Giving up only 19 points in the first quarter and holding Philly to 37% shooting. And get this...Carmelo BLOCKED A SHOT!

Amare leads with 9 points
Shawne Williams, 8 points, 2-3 from 3 pt range.

Knicks win 4th in a row, but defense is still a question

Well the Knicks beat the Raptors handily, but they should.
I've been a bit short on time the past few days but wanted to chime in here.

This was another good win, but ging up 118 points to the Raptors is dangerous. 118 to the Raptors means 150 vs. the 76ers! :)

The Knicks will have to play SOLID defense tonight. This is a playoff type game and if the Knicks don't bring it from the opening buzzer, they will lose. Anything less than 100% effort from every one of these guys will be an embarrassment. They are playing for the #6 spot in the playoffs. New York is 39-38 and trails Philadelphia (40-38) by a half a game. This is a big deal. Let's get it done.



“I thought we did a great job of getting the ball out fast, getting stops first and foremost, getting the ball out and running...Melo got hot obviously in that first half and he was rolling and we just kind of fed off his energy and his shots.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni, on tonight's game:

“It’s just something we want to do...I don’t know if it’s important or not, I don’t think we’ll know until we look back on it, and you might not even know then. So it’s just that tonight, they’re playing well, (Philadelphia is a) hard team on the road, let’s learn to try to win on the road, let’s keep building on what we got.”


“It’s going to be a big game (Wednesday) night, a very important game for us...We’re really trying to make a push to move up the standings. And so Philly’s playing well, and we owe them boys.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Knicks Make The Playoffs! Knicks Make The Playoffs!

Congrats to the Knicks. Clinched a spot in the playoffs and 3 wins in a row.
Nice game and did what they were supposed to do. Dominate a weaker team.
Now let's see how they handle the Raptors Tuesday...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Positive Spin On The Knicks: Child, Please!

After the Knicks recent slide and last two comeback wins, in the interest of fairness, we're going to take a step back, and look at an overview of what is actually working for the team, and possibilities for the playoffs.

1. Team shootarounds before practice: Two shootarounds, two wins. This seems to have created a bit more cohesion between teammates. Makes sense because they were thrown together mid- season and need some time to get to know each other, even if it is just shooting around. They certainly have looked better - from awful to... ok, but improved nonetheless.

2. Carmelo's recent all-around play: No doubt Carmelo has played lights out, even passing, and, gasp....defense! The only flaw in his game now is still too much isolation, but if he can curb that, and keep up the stellar play, I will have to change the name of this blog, and believe me, nothing would make me happier. Well, a few million dollars in my pocket would do the trick, but I digress...

3.  A few days off: This could be the best thing to happen to the Knicks since the Andy and Landry show...ummm...well, you can't deny that they have rapport with each other, and the team needs some time off to heal and practice together. This could mean more than anything, because chemistry, as I've written about numerous times here, is the most important aspect of the game that the Knicks are lacking right now. This is critical. The Knicks must get everyone involved on offense, and not just the big three. The team concept has to sink in, or they will sink. "Come Together" by the Beatles should be playing non-stop in the locker room.

4.  Keep up the positive attitude: Everyone around the beat seems more upbeat. Even when things have gotten rough in the last two fourth quarters, they have "come together" and finished the game with solid play. This is a good sign,a nd a complete turnaround from the horrible fourth quarter play of most of March. It's a new month, and April will be a better month for Knick fans as long as they keep it going. And if not, April showers bring May flowers. What? I can't be rosy here? HEY...This point is about having a positive attitude. Give me a break, as Warner Wolf would say...

5. Health: The Knicks are pretty healthy and that's a real blessing. Other than Shawne Williams' back, there doesn't seem to be any major injuries and Chauncey's leg will hopefully improve with time. As I've said before, "Mr. Big Shot" is the number one guy that really needs to improve on his lackluster play since the injury. In the playoffs, he's a monster, and I think we all hope to expect that from him.

6. Keep Clyde as color man forever: When Clyde passes away, they need to have a Clyde robot replace him, swishin' and dishin' the lines. Has there ever been a more entertaining color man in the business? Cool, as always. Clyde forever...

Well that's about it for today. If you have any other positives we should look at, please let me know. I'm going to enjoy today before I turn to writing more sarcasm after tomorrow's game. But who knows, maybe the Knicks will actually BEAT the worst team in the league for once. Believe it or not, this is a must win for this Knick team. They need to keep it going and not take a step back.

0-4 vs. the Cavaliers??? Child, Please.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The good, the bad and the truly ugly of the Knicks

The Knicks should play 39 and 10 in the lottery. Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the second straight game, leading the team past the Nets 120-116, as Deron Williams missed a jump shot with 3 seconds left.

It was a good, bad and ugly game for Knicks as they allowed New Jersey to score a season-best 68 points in the first half. Again in the half, the Knicks played phantom defense and a complete inability to block anyone out on the boards, allowing the Nets to out rebound them 2 to 1. Brook Lopez ended up with 9 rebounds for the game. Yes, the same Brook Lopez that has been criticized for his lack of rebounding all season. These Knicks tend to make stars out of anyone in any uniform that is not orange, white and blue.

The good:

Carmelo Anthony played hustling defense for the second straight game, and had the aforementioned stats of 39 and 10. He also added 5 assists. He and the second half Knicks looked like they could beat anyone when they played up-tempo ball, moving the ball around to hit the open man.

At times, Carmelo looked like a man among boys on offense, scoring at will, and clearly showing why he is known as one of the best shooters in the game, causing sorrow to Morrow, as Clyde might say.

Only 5 turnovers for the game. The Knicks took care of the ball. Bravo! Good job.

Jared Jeffries was a difference maker - 4 steals and 6 rebounds. Solid all around game.

Anthony Carter provided great energy and hustle running the offense when he was in there, changing up the pace, and showing great leadership.

The Knicks really hustled in the second half, looking like a different team, and impressed with their solid defense, allowing only 48 points vs. the first half's 68. They also upped the tempo, moving the ball around sharply and began hitting 3 point shots at crucial times.

The big three; Billups, Amare and Melo scored 95 of the teams' 120 points.

The bad:

The first half was just embarrassing. The Knicks didn't put any effort in on the defensive end. They are getting into a "we don't have to try because we can always come back" mode. This may work for a few games against weaker teams, but against the better teams, it won't.

All game the Knicks didn't rebound well inside defensively, except for one rebound at the end of the game by the smallest player on the court- Toney Douglas. Jeffries' 5 rebounds, and 6 rebounds by Anthony helped but... yes they are a small team, but rebounding is also hustle. Amare had ONE rebound all game. ONE! He didn't put his body out there on defense, and he needs to play tougher. Think the Knicks could use Kris Humphries?

The big three; Billups, Amare and Melo scored 95 of the teams' 120 points. Landry Fields has now almost completely disappeared from the box score, with 2 points and 2 rebounds, and the other players didn't fare much better.

Again, the phrase I hate to repeat..."This may work for a few games against weaker teams, but against the better teams, it won't."

The truly ugly:

Watching the game tape, I noticed that the Knicks don't box out at all. I didn't see one play where any Knick blocked out anyone. They just stand around and wait for the ball to come to them, and reach out to foul when they don't get it. Where is the coaching? This is an issue that must be corrected.

In addition, the Knicks don't seem to set picks well. Watch other teams set picks. Knicks end up on the floor banging into them. I haven't seen one pick all season that really caused a problem for an opposing player.

Again,  Where is the coaching? Is it really that hard to teach a player how to set a pick? I'm 5'7". I will come in and show the Knicks how to set a pick, mmmm-k?

I heard a great interview Steven A. Smith did with Charles Barkley regarding the latter's opinion of the Knicks. He ragged on the team, saying that they are not a defensive squad, never will be, and teams salivate at the thought of playing them in the playoffs, saying, "they will be easy to beat".  He also criticized Carmelo's one on three offensive tendencies, and that the team is too small. I can't say I disagree. Much as the team is fun to watch,(when they hustle), they won't go far in the playoffs, and with the Pacers and Bobcats nipping at their heels, a complete collapse may be unlikely, but it still makes me worry.

What we saw in the second half was encouraging, but when the playoffs come around, will the Knicks put forth the 48 minutes of intensity that they are capable of? If not, those boos we heard at halftime will be truly ugly.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Knicks "Will To Win" Carries Them Past Magic In Overtime

Carmelo Anthony played with energy and desire, scoring 35 points in the second half to lead the Knicks past the Magic in a tightly contested game at Madison Square Garden tonight.

The game went into overtime after Magic Guard Jason Richardson hit an uncontested 3-point shot  over Jared Jeffries with 5.7 seconds left in regulation.

 The defensive call was curious when the Knicks had a 3 point lead at the time. Jeffries elected not to foul, and not to play tight on Richardson, giving him the easy 3 pointer.

After the game, Anthony mentioned a "will to win" several times. It was clear tonight that he gave 100% effort from the opening tip-off, grabbing 10 rebounds and playing better defense than we've seen from him lately. If he and his teammates can play with this kind of hustle and desire every night, we can expect a much better Knick team in the playoffs.

Dwight Howard said, "They played like the Knick team we saw earlier in the season." Tonight the Knicks got back to moving the ball around and playing up-tempo basketball, and they started in the first quarter. This is what they do best, and they need to keep it going,a nd continue to get off to a good start. Though we do need to temper our enthusiasm, because this was a win past a team missing a key player. Jameer Nelson did not play tonight because of a sprained left knee, and he has been a Knick killer as of late. The Magic committed 21 turnovers in his absence, and looked sloppy without their floor general. In addition, Carmelo did go with his isolation game many times, slowing down the flow.

The Knicks though showed good hustle and desire throughout the game tonight, a missing element in their previous six games, and that made all the difference. Obviously, the Knicks need to carry this hustle over to the next game Wednesday night vs. the Nets, or we could be back to the "same old Knicks" again. Speaking of which, not all was rosy tonight. Landry Fields continued his disappearing act, shooting 1 for 3 with 3 points, and a minus-8 on the floor, and Shawne Williams 2 of 6 and minus-10. The Knicks still need to get more players involved, but it's a start.

We'll take it.

Now, about that Jared Jeffries play...

Friday, March 25, 2011

The ghost of Michael Jordan makes another appearance at the Garden

After tonight's Knick 102-96  loss to the Bucks, Brandon Jennings was asked about why he played so well, and he exclaimed "I love New York". Interestingly enough, the Knicks passed over him in the 2009 draft for Jordan Hill. I'm sure Brandon took delight in doing his own Jordan imitation, though it wasn't Jordan Hill he was channeling.

The Knicks have a habit of making average players look like Michael Jordan. Last week it was Tyler Hansbrough. Tonight it was Brandon Jennings (No disrespect to Brandon). Indeed, he played a great game, even dominating vs. an inconsistent Knick defense. One moment looking like a hustling, energetic solid defensive squad, pressuring, stealing, blocking and doing all the little things required to be great, and the next moment, leaving the middle wide open for a Truck Robinson to drive through.

Not that the defense was to blame for this loss. It was a team loss, as they say in football. The Knicks shot less than 25% in the fourth quarter. Can you really expect to win that way? Meanwhile the Bucks shot 51% for the game, and 50% from deep. This Buck team happens to be the worst shooting team in the league, proving my point of the Knicks being the worst defensive team in the league.

Everyone seems to be coming around to my way of thinking, so, me being the contrarian I am, I'll try to be a bit more upbeat about this Knick team...

I do think the Knicks will still make the playoffs (probably as the 8th seed).
(5 minutes have gone by)
Remember when Shawne Williams really hustled trying to make a block from behind, and almost made the play and showed all that hustle and desire?
Remember when Melo made that steal in the backcourt and scored?
Remember when AC gave the Knicks all that energy off the bench?
Remember when the Knicks had that run at the end of the game?
That was awesome.

For moments at a time, the Knicks can beat anyone, and a game is made up of moments. The Knicks just don't put enough of those moments together to make a difference. They need consistency more than anything.

Consistency in moving the ball around for the open shot, and not going one on four.
Consistency in defensive assignments, and not changing defensive philosophy every game.
Consistency in avoiding mental mistakes, and make no mistake, these Knicks lead the league in mental mistakes. They don't seem to keep a cool head and make intelligent decisions.
and the #1 thing...
Consistency of effort.

Consistency in the basics leads to competency, which leads to chemistry.
And with chemistry, the Knicks can beat anyone.

Without it, Michael Jordan's ghost will be making a lot more guest appearances through the rest of this Knicks season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paaaaa-trick Ewing

Before the game tonight, MSG showed the best moments of Patrick Ewing's career, and I couldn't take my eyes off the TV. I never truly appreciated what a great player he was. Blocking three shots on one play is incredible. (He should have been nicknamed "Hat-trick Ewing"...:)

And watching him hobble around on one leg in the "Willis Reed" game, almost brought tears to my eyes...He was a warrior.

The presence he brought to the team was palpable, and though I see a spark of that in Amare, there is just no comparison. Until the Knicks can find an intimidator like that in the middle, these Knicks will fall short of Ewing's squad, regardless of how well Amare, Melo and Chauncey play.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great One On One Players Stumblin' And Bumblin' To Another Loss

Tonight's word is "Chemistry", boys and girls.

Ray Allen said it in the post game interview, "The Knicks have great one on one players".

The only problem is what happens when the shots don't fall? Melo missed his last seven shots, and Amare wasn't hitting either when crunch time came vs. the Celtics tonight. The chemistry is just not there.

The Celtics hit the Knicks for a 19 point swing to take the game, 96-86. With the Knicks up by 9 points in the final quarter, they  "got stagnant" according to Amare, "got careless" according to Coach D'Antoni, and "stumblin' and bumblin", according to Knick Announcer Walt "Clyde" Frazier in those last minutes, looking completely lost and disorganized.

The first half was a thing of beauty, as the Knicks dominated their opponents, but the Celts flipped the switch on with about 6 minutes to go, and ran roughshod over the home team. The Knicks fell apart at the end of the game, and have now lost 6 of their last 7 games,...slip slidin' away with only 12 games left.

The motion offense of D'Antoni is rarely seen these days. I am used to saying "push it" to my TV as I watch the Knicks rebound, and I keep getting reminded that the Knicks don't push it up floor anymore. According to D'Antoni, the offensive plan is to move the ball around for 18 seconds and leave it up to one of the stars to shoot. Well, this plan hasn't been working very well. D'Antoni appears to have changed his whole offense to suit Carmelo, and there seems to be a disconnect there. Seems like some of the players on the team want to run, and some don't. It does feels that way, doesn't it? the chemistry is off. Seems to me that the problem is all mental...

I wrote about two weeks ago that the Knicks were in danger of missing the playoffs. Now it becomes a reality. The Knicks stand at .500 now, in 7th place and sinking. The only thing they can do is keep. Keep working hard, keep a positive attitude and keep communicating with each other.

Several readers have complained that I am too hard on Anthony. I am hard on him because he is great, and I want to see him stop taking plays off and play up to his capabilities... to hustle, like he did when he collided with Rajon Rondo at the end of the game and bloodied his left eye. To bust his balls like when he tried to block a shot in the final moments on a Celtic fast break. He came up short on that play, literally, but he hustled tonight, and I give him credit. If you get this hustle out of him every night, it will make a difference, and that's what I've been writing about from the start.

Notice how the Knicks can put together a marvelous half where they give up 37 points against a great team, and then give up 59 points in the second half. Inconsistency is the hallmark of a young team, but you'd expect more out of a team led by the great veteran point guard Chauncey Billups. He hasn't been the same since the injury against the Magic, physically and mentally, and I have a feeling that he isn't anywhere close to 100%.

I keep saying this but he has to get it together more than anyone else... take charge and become the leader that he is, or the Knicks will stumble and bumble right out of the playoff picture.

Knick fans: Wait till next year?

Carmelo Anthony discussed his thoughts on the current Knick team last night...

"For everyone to get 100% on the same page, it might take next season," Anthony said. "But right now, in this short period of time, we've just got to come together as a unit. As far as everybody jelling and the chemistry and clicking to where we want to be at, it's going to take some time...We're losing games, some games that we're supposed to win," Anthony said. "But that's neither here nor there. It's a learning process. We ain't even been together three weeks. So I'm not really concerned about where we are as a team or us losing games or winning games. As long as we get better at the things we need to get better at, I'm cool with it."

I heard a great interview with Mike Breen on ESPN radio today. He explained that Carmelo is not a good defensive player. "He can be, but right now, he's not." He added that the Knicks can be a good defensive team. All they need to do is commit to playing defense. (What have I been saying?)

In the last six games, Melo has been a minus-36 with 2.8 turnovers per game when on the floor for the Knicks. Let's hope that all changes tonight vs. the Celtics...Big game tonight. The Knicks actually have not had too much trouble vs. the best teams, going 6-2 vs. playoff teams, and only 1-7 vs. lottery teams.

This strangely reminds me of the NY Giants. For many years with Jim Fassel as coach, this was a problem. Beat the good teams, lose to the bad. But Tom Coughlin seems to have changed that. Now the Giants lose to everyone...:)

The Knicks are not performing at a high level against bad teams, and that has to be on the coach, as well as on the players. Where is the mental preparation for these games? The coach is responsible for the player's mental attitudes, and whatever is being taught, or emphasized is not working.

I predict the Knicks win tonight, and maybe upset the Magic as well, but then lose to the Cavs and Raptors.

Unless something changes....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back to the up-tempo style for Knicks?

Amare Stoudemire  told Alan Hahn at Newsday, “Absolutely, absolutely, that’s the way we’re going to win,” Stoudemire explained about going back to the team's previous up-tempo style “That’s the way we’ve proven that works with the team we had before the trade and it can work with the guys we have now. It’s just a matter of us buying into it and really trying to understand that our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs and see what we can do.”

By the way, the Knicks have now dropped to 7th place for the playoffs.
What have I been saying? :)

Carmelo needs to tip his hat to someone other than himself

In the picture on the right, which one is Carmelo Anthony?

Acting like a child is not the way to win over New York. Becoming a leader is. Instead of following Amare Stoudemire's lead, and being a team player, he is showing a side of himself that is less than superstar-like.

At the first sign of adversity, Carmelo is moody, pointing fingers at his coach, and after going 2-12 from the floor in the most recent loss to the Pistons, stormed out of the locker room.  After the second loss to the Pacers, he complained to Jared Jeffries about not getting the ball on the last possession. These are not good signs.

Stoudemire has defended his coach, saying, "We've just got to subscribe to Mike D'Antoni's system...It works. I've been a part of it for a long time. And it's very successful."

And Carmelo Anthony needs to buy in. Superstars don't do their own thing. They follow their coach's orders and execute the game plan to perfection. They at least try to play defense. Until he does that, the Knicks won't win, and Carmelo Anthony will remain unhappy and frustrated. D'Antoni has already changed his system to suit Anthony, and it's cost the Knicks. Now Carmelo needs to give a little. He's acting like a child who isn't getting his way, and that won't fly. Not here in New York.

Never did, never will.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Carmelo tips his hat to himself again

The great Carmelo Anthony has now decided to throw the coach under the bus and tell the media,  “(We have to) come up with a scheme or a couple of schemes we’re going to stick with and do better at,” Anthony said yesterday. “Right now, one game we come in with one scheme. Another game we come in with a different scheme. I think it’s a bit confusing at times.”

Why does this remind me of "I tip my hat to myself"?

After Tuesday's 119-117 loss at Indiana, Anthony also questioned the defense on Tyler Hansbrough, who killed the Knicks, with 59 points in two games, and posted two consecutive career highs. Anthony added, "I don't think we made adjustments to him at the top of the key, especially after the game he had in the Garden..I'd think we'd have made adjustments after that."

So Carmelo's a coach now? Since when has Carmelo Anthony PLAYED defense? He usually watches his man blow past him, as he waits patiently for his next opportunity to chuck the ball at the basket. At this point, coach D'Antoni needs to "say no to Carmelo", and tell him to keep his criticism "under his hat".

Let's hope they can prove me wrong, because so far I have been spot on with everything that's now coming to light about this team.

Denver is now 9-2 since the trade, while the Knicks are 6-6. George Karl can be seen visibly smirking whenever talking about Anthony, and how his team has become a solid defensive squad since the trade.

And here's a telling statistic-  "According to NBA.com, the telling stat of the Melo-'Mare combo is through the 344 minutes when they are both on the floor together, the Knicks are just a plus-1. That might be as telling about their defensive instincts as whether they can share the ball."

Hate to say it, but...."I told ya so..."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Andy Rautins...This is why we watch sports.

The chant started in the fourth quarter of the Knicks-Jazz game the other night, as I sat watching the Knicks pulverize their opponents from my "best seat ever", close to the action. At first, I couldn't make out what the crowd was chanting, but after a few moments it became clear. The crowd was chanting "And-y Rau-tins".

The former Syracuse star has had a bit of a tough time in the NBA. The rookie has only appeared in 5 games for the Knicks since being drafted, and his last appearance took place over a month ago, on Feb 2nd.

Since being drafted,  his only claim to fame has been an appearance in a youtube video, lip-synching "We are the NY Knicks" with teammate Landry Fields. But in the game against the Jazz, as the sub team was put in by coach D'Antoni in the 4th quarter, the crowd wanted the kid in there, to show what he could do. Everyone loves an underdog. There's always that last guy on the bench that everyone wants to see get a chance, and Andy is that guy.

The chant was deafening. It seemed like 50% of the crowd was chanting his name, and I joined in. I wanted the 3 point specialist to sink one, to show what he can do.

Moments later, the crowd roared. Andy had gotten up and was ready to check into the game. I felt like I  related to the kid for some strange reason. I was more excited at that moment than any other moment in the game.

Why did I feel so emotionally invested in seeing a rookie get into the game?

I think now, as I look back on that moment, that I felt as if it was me out there checking into the game. I related to the kid at that moment, wanting to achieve something that was difficult...getting a chance to do what you dream of. I felt that if Andy gets into the game, then I can get into the game ...whatever my game is.

I realize that this is why we watch sports. To live vicariously through our heroes. To connect with them and experience their ups and downs, and learn lessons for ourselves and our lives.

When I watched my football New York Giants defeat the unbeatable Patriots in the Super Bowl, I felt that if the Giants could do the impossible,  I could do something impossible too. It inspired me. And the moment of watching Andy Rautins check into the game inspired me as well.

This seemingly insignificant event may mean little to anyone outside Andy or his family and friends, but in the moment, the mind does not make logic of emotion. It just reacts.
And so, for that moment, I was Andy Rautins.
I felt frustration as he threw a wayward pass out of nervousness and rustiness.
I felt confidence at what I imagined he was telling himself...
 "Calm down, you've done this before, a million times for the Orangemen in clutch situations. You're a pro now, a draftee for the NY Knicks....DO IT!"
And I felt joy and redemption as he hit the shot the crowd clamored for.
"I can do this, I BELONG here!"

And for a few minutes in my life, as I sat close to the action, heard the cheers, saw his face and felt all those emotions, I could say that I honestly felt like a player in the NBA. Even if it was in my imagination.

Thanks Andy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Same old Knicks, different faces? The 76ers are looking better right now

Watching the Knicks lose to the Cavaliers for the fourth time this season, I can't help but think that the surging 76ers look better. The 76ers play with heart, character and desire. Right now the Knicks look like an overrated bunch of talented individuals playing one on one selfish basketball. Sound familiar? Same old Knicks, different faces?

Dating back to games played on Nov. 27, Philly is tied for the seventh-highest winning percentage of any team in the league at 27-16.The Knicks have played .500 ball since the Carmelo trade and without their current MVP (IMO), Chauncey Billups, they look like a mediocre team. The Knicks don't play defense, and let's be honest. They won't until they get some new players or a new coach. Don't let the Heat game fool you. The Heat have also been mediocre recently, and the Knicks caught them at a good time.

Meanwhile, here for only six games, Chauncey has already proven to be the key to this team. He is a leader and the engine that makes the team go. He has won a title. He has been through the wars and proven himself over and over again. Without him, they seem lost. And just as I predicted, Carmelo's isolation style doesn't really fit into the D'Antoni offense, which preaches ball movement. But with Chauncey, they seem to get by because of this "big shot" ability, solid defense and leadership. If anything happens to their new leader...if this leg injury lingers...they are in trouble. The 76ers will overtake them for the 6th spot in the conference and they may slip out of the playoff race. But with him, they could be a special team. He is that good.

Come back Chauncey. New York needs you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Worst defensive team in the league?

Well, I've said it before and I will say it again. I am not a Carmelo hater. I'm a defense lover. If Carmelo plays defense, I will change the name of this blog to "Carmelo Plays D!"

But until then, I think I've proven my point. We are two games into the new Knicks, and the team has given up 108 and 109 points in two games. They came into the Carmelo trade tied with Cleveland for being the second worst defensive team in the league, giving up an average of 105.8 points per game, so they have actually gotten worse defensively now.

Carmelo is a fun, exciting scorer but does not even try on defense. There is little defense on this roster that is playing. Brewer and Balkman are known for defense, but have liabilities in other areas. Jared Jeffries would be a great pickup if the team can get him, but keep this in mind...the Knicks are 3.5 games out of missing the playoffs. If things don't improve, they may not make it.

That's the pessimistic version.

But you know what? I have faith that the team will jell over time, and improve, both offensively and defensively. As long as they can pick up a Jeffries and possibly another defensively oriented player, they will make the playoffs and possibly win a first round playoff series. But don't expect anything more without a solid bigman like a Kendrick Perkins in the middle. As Donnie Walsh has stated before, a big man remains the priority.

Now imagine if you will what it was like in the Knicks heyday, in the 90's, when we heard the chant that defined the team...DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE!

Will we ever get there again?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So let it be written. So let it be done: A tale of revenge, betrayal, and ...the Knicks.

Ok, so Melo is now a Knick, traded along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors' 2012 second-round pick, the Warriors' 2013 second-round pick and $3 million in cash. New York also shipped centers Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota for forward Corey Brewer.

Well things just get more and more interesting around the Dolan Kingdom, doesn't it? Talk about a "Melo-drama"!

In this week's episode, the Evil Sorcerer Thomas returns, scheming behind the wise Elder Walsh's back to influence the hypnotized Pharaoh Dolan. Whispering sweet nothings in the Pharaoh's ear, he influences Pharaoh Dolan to give up most of the riches of his kingdom for the chance to bring in the great Melo, the celebrated marksman warrior who promises to deliver the Knick Kingdom to glory.

While the Elder Walsh's advice to the Pharaoh is to play the Melo game coyly, the Sorcerer Thomas' is to advance swiftly, and win at all costs, without thinking of consequence. Now, succeeding in usurping the Elder's power, the Sorcerer advances his plan to replace the Elder Walsh, slowly, in a most devious way.

Elder Walsh meanwhile, insulted at this intrusion begins to think it may be best to resign his position, but NO! That would only allow the evil Sorcerer his desire, and the Elder would not allow this indignation.

Meanwhile, the Pharaoh's subjects are in a tizzy. At last, they have the warrior they have been pleading for, to lead them out of bondage, and the hero who secretly led Melo though the maze of the majestic pyramids of Knickerbockerdom is none other than.....Thomas, the conqueror!

But what's this? A decree is issued by the Pharaoh, that the acquisition of the great Warrior Melo shall be credited to the Elder Walsh, and that Thomas' influence had no effect. In fact, he decreed, "let the name of Thomas be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Knickdom. Let the name of Thomas be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time."

Ok I stretched this story past the point of no return, so...

Seriously, what have we wrought? While the deal certainly brings excitement and fun to the Knicks, will it work? The new Knicks seem a bit unbalanced, and even if Brewer is traded for a center as is the rumor, it will be a center of the backup variety, unless the Knicks can pull off another blockbuster.

In an article with many good points, Howard Beck of the NY Times, wrote,
"Ronny Turiaf will replace Mozgov at center. But the Knicks will be thin behind them, with no one over 6 feet 10 inches on the roster. Shawne Williams and the newly acquired Shelden Williams, who are both 6-9, will be the top big men on the bench...In trading Gallinari and Chandler, the Knicks also lost 3-point shooting, a staple of D’Antoni’s offense."

So how will this all play out?
Will we have to change the title of this blog?

Remember this my friends, until next time...
"The city is made of bricks. The strong make many, the starving make few, the dead make none. So much for accusations..."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking my hat off to myself

I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that's going on and still be able to go out there and write at the high level that I can write at. I really don't think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don't think that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Say no to Carmelo; The case for passing on Carmelo Anthony

For months, the trade scenario has been examined, analyzed, discussed, and dissected by countless basketball insiders, professionals, writers and fans. In roughly nine days from now, we will (hopefully) know if Carmelo Anthony will become a Knick, Net, or a rental, if he elects not to resign with the Nuggets.

I am here as a lifelong Knicks fan to ask the team to exit stage left on this "melo-drama". I don't think Carmelo is what the Knicks need. Carmelo is a scorer, not a defender or a passer... he's a scorer, and though he may certainly be a great one, and one of the best shooters in the NBA, in case you haven't noticed, that's already what the Knicks do best... Score.  The Knicks are currently ranked second in the league in points per game. Guess who is #1? The Nuggets. Guess who's ranked #29 in points per game allowed? The Knicks. And #25 in points allowed? The Nuggets.

Now, why would you want to improve the part of the team that is already working well? When you improve a team, don't you look at what its weakness is, and address it, or do you address what's already the strength?  Do you want to win a championship in New York, or just score more, move up one position to rank #1 in points per game and have a flashier version of what you already have?

In the 90's with Patrick Ewing, and in the 70's with Willis Reed, when the Knicks won, they did it with defense, and a solid defender at the center position. The mantra is "defense wins championships", and things haven't changed. Every champion in recent memory played solid defense.

You may argue that Carmelo Anthony can learn to play defense. Really? With the great defensive minded coach, Mike D'Antoni at the helm?  Expect more of the same, only raise the Knick scoring totals by a few points per game. They'll outscore teams, sure, but when you need a stop, fuggetaboutit.

The other thing to consider is the salary cap. If you sign Carmelo, that will eat up almost all of what you'll have available. Between Anthony and Stoudemire, there won't be anything left for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in 2012.

If you're a Knick fan, I know you don't want to wait, but the alternative is take Anthony now for star power,  scoring, and a more fun team to watch. But what's the best case scenario, realistically?  A first round playoff loss to a top 4 seed? I'll trade another year or two of good, not great ball for a realistic shot at a championship in 2013. But hey, I like to win. Just win baby.

Donnie Walsh believes that what the Knicks need most is a big center to take the pressure off Stoudemire, I agree 100%. Give the Knicks a Tyson Chandler to block some shots, and a Gerald Wallace type, and you've got something to build on. Add Dwight Howard in 2012, you'll have quite a team. I don't see the Knicks winning without a defensive stalwart in the middle. Turiaf is a great #2 but they need a main guy and Mozgov is a #3 project.

Finally, there is another issue to deal with in trading for Carmelo. Besides the fact that you may lose Chandler /Fields and/or Gallo, it will take Carmelo a while to fit into the offense. And when he posts up, what is Amare supposed to do? Watch? This move will take touches away from Amare, thereby muting the impact of this acquisition.

So you've got cap issues, more defensive issues and possible offensive chemistry issues vs. star power and scoring additions. Does that sound enticing?

With all due respect to his great shooting talent, Say No To Carmelo.