Before I begin my tirade about a pathetic excuse of an NBA team known as the New York Knicks (as presently constructed), let me start off by introducing myself to those of you who haven't had the pleasure of commenting back and forth with me in the game threads for the past two weeks. My name is Rohit (Row-hit). I am 28 (almost) and have been a huge Knicks fan since I attended my very first Knicks game at MSG back on January 18th 1993. On that day, they played the Phoenix Suns (the eventual Western Conference Champs) and beat them 106-103. I believe that was the first game which began the long sell out streak at MSG.
The things I always remember about that game are:
1) The amount of electricity that was in the air at the Garden. It felt as though the crowd and the players fed off each other's passion and emotion.
2) The amount effort and passion those Knicks played the game with. They hustled for loose balls; they got back on defense, took a charge, committed a hard foul to prevent an easy basket, and got in each other's face when one of their own might have been doing something to hurt the team's chance of winning. On offense they set hard screens, shared the basketball, attacked the basket, hit the boards, and made their jump shots when they had to. The players all looked as though they genuinely loved playing together and for each other. They were A TEAM.
3) Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and Charles Oakley. I don't remember their box scores from that game but I just remember those three being the trusted leaders of the team as it showed in their play on the court and how they carried themselves when they sat on the bench.
4) My very first Knicks hat, an adjustable orange and blue cap with the modified KNICKS on top of a Basketball logo inside the silver triangle, made by starter. It was my favorite cap and was top 3 in my rotation of caps for the next 8 years.
5) Charles Barkley's post game MELTDOWN where he jumped over the scorer's table and chased down one of the referees after the game had ended.
6) I remember before the game started some knowledgeable basketball fans who sat next my dad (RIP) and I were talking about how the Suns had the best record in the league at the time. They also explained how the Knicks had not been playing lights out (the Knicks were 21-14). By game's end everyone in the Garden felt as though the team could be special. That Knick team ultimately finished the 1992-1993 season with a record of 60-22 and although they lost in 6 to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, every Knicks fan felt as though that team was going to be a contender for the foreseeable future. Oh how I long for that feeling once again.
Flash forward 17 years later to 7:30pm Pacific Time on Monday, March 1st 2010. If I was that same young 10 1/2 year old kid that I was back then, and my first introduction to the NBA was yesterday's 123-94 ass whooping at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, I would spit in the face of the person who was trying to convince me that the NBA is awesome, that basketball is fun, and that the New York Knicks are a team that you can root for. That Knicks hat my dad purchased for me at MSG 17 years ago is lucky it is sitting in storage somewhere because if it was given to me today I would take a dump on it and throw it back at the clerk. Hell, the Knicks gear that I have in my apartment, up hear in San Francisco, had better be thanking each and every piece of fabric they are made of that I don't have a fire place, because they would be tossed in there.
Here's how bad this Cavs game was. Last night, New York was out rebounded 60-31, and on the offensive glass 14-2. We allowed Anderson Varejao and Delonte West to go a combined 13-19 (3-5 from 3pt range) for 29 points, mostly uncontested. Mo Williams who shot poorly from the field (7 pts on 2-8) was still an astounding +31 thanks to his 10 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot. They made the Cavs, who are mostly known for a predictable offense, look like the Showtime Lakers. HWSNBN (LeBron James) was like a vintage Magic Johnson with a line of 22 pts, 7 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, and +39. Jamison had double double (17 points, 11 rebounds) +38, JJ Hickson went 17 and 9 with a +28. Anthony Parker was like Michael Cooper with his 8 points (2-3 3pt) , 5 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal , 1 block and +35.
Once again, it was all giggles for the LeBrons. I bet his puppet could have gotten in on the act if given a chance. The worst part about all this was that none of the Knicks demonstrated an ounce of self-pride as the Cavs extended the lead to 40. There was no hard fouling. They let the Cavs waltz all over them. The Knicks under Riley and Van Gundy had a saying, "we were either going to win the game, or win the fight, take your pick." Those Knicks teams had guys who would brawl if you pissed them off, and at times for no rime or reason but just cause it was something to do; see Greg Anthony vs Kevin Johnson, or the Derrick Harper fight in Chicago. Unfortunately, this Knicks team packs as mighty a punch as Peter McNeeley did in Mike Tyson's first fight after being released from prison. Anyway, if you want to know how I really feel about each player and Coach MDA, keep reading at your own risk.
1) Wilson Chandler: DNP-Personal Reasons: Sorry to hear about the death in your family. As someone who lost his dad (nearly two years ago), I can speak from experience that I did not want to be around the grieving because every time you try to take your mind off it, someone else in your family may still want to cry on your shoulder and you inadvertently start grieving again. I remember when it happened I wanted to get the hell out of dodge after 10 hours and go back to SF and be with my law school friends studying for our last exam. However, in your case, I think staying away from the team as long as possible may be a wise decision on your part. I fear that team might start mailing it in as our schedule does not get any easier the rest of the way. Selfishly, I'd like to see you with the team asap so I can see the continued development you, Gallo, Sergio, and Bill Walker receive. I just hope that when you do come back you are blessed from above in your continued efforts at becoming a better player, who is fun to watch.
2) Chris Duhon: DNP-Coach's Decision: Lets all hope it stays that way. Lets face it, you suck. You had your chance to run this train wreck of a team, but you failed miserably with your poor shooting, lack of quickness, and lack of athleticism. Really, how the hell did your crappy ass every get to start at pg for Duke? Where you the only one who knew how to dribble in high school? Did the other high school teams you played against consist of kids eligible for the Special Olympics? I hope you didn't blow through all the paychecks you've stolen from dumb NBA teams who thought they were getting a "Dookie" who knew how to win games, because honestly, you don't belong anywhere near an NBA court, unless of course you're merely a front row spectator or making the transition to sports broadcasting. However, I'd settle for towel boy, floor sweeper, or lame male cheerleader who fires the air cannon stuffed with t-shirts into the crowd during time outs.
3) J.R. Giddens: DNP-Left Knee Injury: I hope rehab is going well and that you eagerly can't wait to get on the court and show this crappy team just how much you love playing basketball. However, I think you must really hate life right about now. Three years after you "mutually agreed" with head coach Bill Self to leave Kansas after a stabbing incident, Kansas goes on to win the National Championship. In 2005-2006 you sat out of College Bball after transfering to New Mexico, and in 2006-2007 you were suspended for being a bad teammate. That same year your former school wins the National Title (in 2007-2008), you are named Co-Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference averaging 16 points and 8.8 rebounds a game for the New Mexico Lobos; sadly, you could only lead Steve Alford's team to a first round appearance in the NIT. Now two year's later the Lobos are ranked in the top 10 Nationally, and look to be an #3 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. But all is not lost, after your senior season at UNM, the defending NBA Champs Boston Celtics drafted you #30 overall and it looked like you'd get to develop as a player while collecting multiple rings for the C's. That is until KG blows out his knee midway through your rookie season, and now a year later you find yourself rehabbing and no longer on a playoff contender. All ask of you is that if you make any positive contribution to this team, at the very least please punch Al "Bricks" Harrington in the face for me. That's not too much to ask is it?
4) Danilo Gallinari: played 35 min, 17 points (5-13 fa, 2-5 3pt, 5-5 ft), 4 boards, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, -21. I'll get this out of the way, I haven't always liked you. I thought when we drafted you it was an act of nepotism. I really wanted Eric Gordon or Brook Lopez. However, the more I watch you play this season, the more you grow on me. It looks as though with time, you will be nice player for us. My only wish is that you develop a mean streak. I thought you'd be the one player who wouldn't let the LeBrons have a jolly good time against us. I thought because of your connection to Coach Pringles you'd be the one guy on this team who cared enough to make a statement and commit a hard foul on Mr. Puppet himself or one of Cleveland's collection of Tito Jacksons. Unfortunately, you haven't been around players who carry an old school approach to the NBA and thus you've picked up some of their bad habits such as accepting embarrassment and futility. It's ok, it's not your fault, since a) you came from a region of the basketball world that emphasizes skill and finesse; and b) when you got here, none of your teammates give a rat's ass themselves. With time I hope this will change.
5) Al "Bricks" Harrington: played 31 min, 18 points (7-15, 3-8 3pt, 1-2 ft), 3 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 steal, 0 turnovers, -38. I Despise you. I can't believe some dumb ass gm thought it would be wise enough to draft you out of high school. Oh wait a minute, that gm was none other than our own genius, Donnie Walsh, when he ran those hated Pacers teams. Let's play SAT word association. Al Harrington is to the Knicks what Richard Jefferson is to the Spurs; YOU ARE A PARIAH! My friend who is a Spurs fan aptly named RJ "Dick Jeff." Mr. Harrington, I wish your name allowed me to make fun of you. You Remind me of Stacey Patton from "Eddie". I'm sure all of us have seen this movie. The one where the Knicks suck, and have gotten so bad that they create a marketing campaign aimed at drawing fans to the games by announcing that a lucky ticket holder would be able to coach the Knicks for a day, and Whoopie Goldberg ultimately becomes the coach for the rest of the season, and some how some way they rally to become a playoff team and stop the owner from selling the team to a group located in Oklahoma City. How this relates to Harrington, is that the Knicks in that movie had Stacey Patton, a player who never met a shot he didn't like, he was the Al Harrington of that team. To borrow a phrase from my friend, Al Harrington has the I.Q. of a Duck's left testicle. Moreover, Harrington's bright shiny orange headband makes him look like some moronic division 1 small school crowd pleaser who plays on a team that would be lucky to qualify for the NIT; and the team happily lets him jack up 3 after 3 and when on the bench always waves his towel to the crowd. Oh wait a minute, he practically starred in that role for the Warriors. I'm convinced that a) he does not know a single offensive or defensive play in our playbook; b) most of the time he probably has no idea who we are playing; c) he might just be dumb enough to think he still plays for Don Nelson, although the way Coach Pringles is headed, he may soon be labeled as a poor man's Nellie.
6) David Lee: 33 mins, 10 points (4-12, 2-3 ft), 10 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, -37. As one of the people in the game thread said, we see your true worth when you play in big games. That is to say, and it pains me to say this, but you come up small. Sure, you just made the all-star team this year. Sure, you've been a double double machine these past few seasons. Sure, you were also named to the list of 27 invited to tryout for 2010-2012 Team USA. However, you are nothing more than some efficient stat accumulator who cannot effect the outcome of game with any emotion, or ability that you might have. All you do for us is score enough points and get enough rebounds to average close to a double double and play just well enough so John Hollinger's stupid PER stat says you are our best player. However, you don't throw your body around on defense, you never take a charge, you make half-assed attempts to contest a shot, essentially you are an albatross on defense. What's more, you look as though you don't give a damn. Why can't you show some freaking emotion out there. Aren't you tired of getting your head kicked in night in and night out? Are you not embarrassed by anything you've seen from your teammates the past four seasons? Did you even bother to pick the brains of LeBron, KG, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Dwight Howard during All-Star Weekend about leadership, or were you too busy helping our former midget circus act, Nate Robinson with his Slam Dunk routine? You are one of the few players I expect to get pissed off during games like this. I thought you and Joakim Noah were buddies at Florida, I thought his intensity might have rubbed off on you. I guess I was wrong about you. Looking back on this season, it seems as though I made the mistake of proclaiming you as my favorite Knick of the past 4 years. I thought you would be a nice role player on the Redemption Knicks, now I just hope we don't bring you back.
7) Tracy McGrady: 24 mins, 6 points (3-7, 0-2 3pt), 2 boards, 5 assists, 3 turnovers -31. Watching you on this team has cemented every reason why I never liked you even when you used to be an all-star. What's the matter with you? You barely guard anyone, you settle for way too many jump shots (as always), you listlessly jog from one end of the court to the other while holding your dick in one hand and putting your free thumb up your ass unless you happen to have the ball in your hands, in which case, all you do is one of the following: a) hoist an immediate 3 because you secretly wish you were either Antoine Walker or Al Harrington; b) milk the clock and take forever to assess the defense (to the point the defense knows what you will do); c) and then you either gingerly go to the rim or do some crappy fall away jumper like you've always done throughout your overrated career. I know we traded for you because your contract comes off the books this summer. However, does that mean we really have to play you? Why? Why? Why? There is no possible way DWTDD (Toney Douglas) could play worse than you right now if we consistently gave him 20 minutes a game. You are lucky to play on a team that currently features Al Harrington, still has Eddy Curry on its roster, and used to employ the likes of Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury. Thus, this fake superstar gets a free pass from the fans realizing what a washed up-has been-overrated-loser that he his. Seriously, outside of your emotionally charged first game with us, you have done nothing except make a few nice passes. Apparently after the game you texted HWSNBN "See you in NY" to which His Puppetness replied "LOL." Thank you. Being a shell of yourself isn't enough, now you have to act like our "Black Cat" as well. Will this season end already?
8) Sergio Rodriguez: 22 mins, 9 points(3-9, 1-2 3pt, 2-3 ft), 5 assits, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -9. I love you. I love your game. I love you the way a fat kid loves chocolate. You are a "tremendously tremendous" upgrade over that poor excuse of a Duke Blue Devil who shall not be named again. I love the way you wheel and deal with the ball in your hands. You have impeccable vision out there. I just wish you were our pg from the start, that way you'd have more continuity with the rest of the team. My other wish for you is that you still have enough development in you to work on your shot. Other than that I have no complaints. I look forward to watching you throwing alley oops to Bill Walker and dropping dimes to Wilson Chandler for many years to come (hopefully).
9) Bill Walker: 35 mins, 21 points(9-14, 2-5 3pt, 1-2 ft), 5 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers, -12. You sir could be the sole reason our trades at the deadline could be considered a success, outside of landing HWSNBN this summer. It looks as though your knee/acl is healthy again and that you are starting to regain some your athleticism prior to the injuries. You get an A- tonight, because you were one of the few players out there who looked like he was trying to earn a long term spot on this team. I hope you continue to get more playing time as the season progresses.
10) Eddie House: 20 mins, 2 points(1-8, 0-4 3pt), 2 boards, 3 assists, 1 turnover, -21. I am done with you. You sir are fools gold. I am starting to see why Boston got rid of you. On the nights when all is going well, even if it's just you, you can be entertaining to watch while you jack up "prayer in hell" threes. However, when your shot is off, even if the team looks good, you are nothing more than a team's achilies heel because of your poor shot selection. You, like Al "Bricks", are nothing more than a glorified team mascot with your tattoos and neat looking orange head bands. I seriously get the feeling the two of you would have been rock stars on a college team like Pepperdine, San Jose State, Sienna or Binghampton, while amidst a fury of NCAA investigations, leading a team of circus acts on a postseason run as either a 16 seed in the NCAA or 1 and done NIT Team. In the NBA the two of you should be made to only play for teams like the Warriors, Clippers and Grizzlies. All kidding aside, you were fortunate enough to play for a championship team in Boston, and play in back to back playoffs. Would it kill you to be some kind of a leader amongst this group of crap and give them some direction? Did you not learn anything about teamwork, defense, hustle, etc while playing in Boston? I fear you haven't, and I also fear that because you have a positive relationship with Coach Pringles we are going to be stuck with your act for the foreseeable future.
11) Jonathan Bender: 16 mins, 4 points(2-4, 0-1 3pt, ), 2 boards, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 blocked shots, +15. You are lucky that you had a positive impact on tonight's game, because I was ready to rip you. But I really can't rip someone who has had a career of being irrelevant. So kudos to you, jackass.
12) Toney Douglas, better known as Do What Toney Douglas Do (DWTDD): 21 minutes, 6 points(2-6, 1-3 3pt, 1-2 ft), 3 boards, 6 assists, -1. Can we just give you all of T-Mac's minutes? I absolutely like seeing you play since your FSU days last year. You look like you give a damn out there. I believe in time you could develop into a pretty good guard for us. However, because you haven't been given consistent minutes on a team that in all honesty had no legitimate chance at the post season, I want to crawl up into the fetal position and cry about why we've essentially let you waste away on the bench for most of the season.
13) Coach MDA, better known as "Pringles": I used to like you in Phoenix. I thought you were a coach who was just unlucky in running up against Coach Popovich and his Spurs. However, the more I see of you, the more I think you're just a rat faced son of a bitch (excuse my French) who has no idea about coaching or line up setting. This is evident by a) your inability to consistently dial up an in bounds play in crucial situations where the game still hangs in the balance; and b) your recent admission that you wished you had given DWTDD and former Knick, Jordan Hill more playing time earlier in the season. Great, thanks for nothing. Seriously, this team is no better under you than when it was being coached by the likes of Isiah Thomas, Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkens, Herb Williams, and Don Chenney. I know your an offense minded coach, but seriously, tonight would have been the perfect night for your whinny hands in the air ass to get ejected in order to accomplish a goal of lighting a fire under this bunch of paycheck collecting bums. In my books, once we upgrade the talent level, you better get this team to the Eastern Conference Finals within 2 years or else you deserve to be fired.
One last note on Coach Pringles, he's lucky I am not a member of the media because I would have egged him constantly until he gave a Rick Pitino meltdown along the lines of "Patrick Ewing aint walking through that door, John Starks and Charles Oakley are not walking through that door."
I am not lying when I say this team makes me feel like Randy Quaid from Major League II. Please, spare me the "look on the bright side routine". I know this is a team in transition, as most of these guys won't be back next season. I also know that we have money to blow on free agents, even if we are unable to land HWSNBN, Wade, or Bosh. The way this team has been poorly run since Sott Layden, can I honestly feel as though this team won't find a way to shoot themselves in the foot this summer? However, that's for another day. The fact that this team is in flux is still no excuse for these players to display how little they care, and how epic their lack of desire, heart, and passion was last night. Though, they were mostly ineffective against Cleveland, this team was still effective at doing something; they achieved what no other team I root for could do. They made me regret taking time away from a busy law school life to follow them. Would I do it all over again if I had to? Sadly, yes, because I love to torture myself. Now excuse me while I go cry myself back to sleep.