After each of these horrid losses, the Knicks essentially have a second game game to play when they speak to the local media. It's like dessert, but the opposite. The way things are around here, folks' interactions with the media end up feeding into public perception just as much as their performance, because we just love to make a huge deal out of everything.
Anyway, there were a few headlines generated off the court yesterday, and they are presented after the jump. Make of them what you will.
1. Mike D'Antoni apparently went out of his way to defend Jeremy Lin after a very bad performance:
"Jeremy has to play a certain way," he said. "The floor has to be open, you've got to play with energy, you've got to go. And he's going to make some mistakes, but his overall game will be good, is good. I think he has to play a certain way and we'll try to get to that way. We're not there. And he's played 15 to 20 games in the NBA, he's going to have some nights where he's not going to be perfect. But he knows how to win and he figures it out as the game goes on.
There's more, and also some stuff from Baron Davis and Jeremy himself. The fact remains that Lin's very, very new to all this and, after, a legendary honeymoon, has had some severely rookie outings fraught with bad decision-making and spotty play. I thought those quoted on the topic did their best to remind us of the context at hand, though I'm not sure it'll help much.
2. And then you've got the story about Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire being benched throughout the fourth quarter. Melo failed to express that he quite got it:
"No, because — I was fine. I guess he was saving me for [tonight’s] game and that was the mindset out there."
That, we know, was not the mindset. Oh, and there's this regarding Melo missing a wide-open Landry Fields (then missing a wide-open three) in transition, which made the bald guy sitting in front of me and like 15,000 other people lose their goddamn minds:
"By the time I saw him, if I had thrown the ball, it would have been a turnover," Anthony said. "As far as boos go, I’m not concerned about that. I don’t worry about that."
I don't know. Seems to me like it'd behoove Melo to just act like he's more pissed off and really affected by the boos and personally accountable for everything bad that has ever happened just to appease the media and bloodthirsty fans that end up reading way more into his postgame comments than anything he does on the floor. Melo's lack of awareness and unwillingness to self-flagellate-- or at least feed us the bullshit we want to hear-- are only compounding his struggles on the court in the eyes of those who tend to vilify him. He didn't even play that badly, but, as is his wont, made the wrong faces and said the wrong stuff afterward. For better or worse, that stuff matters to people here, especially when things are going poorly.
3. Oh, and some guy who knows Melo picked yesterday to tell Marc Berman that Melo never wanted J.R. Smith on the Knicks.
Contrary to popular belief, Anthony was leery of the Knicks bringing in his former Denver teammate three weeks ago and gave a thumbs down to upper management, according to a person close to the Knicks superstar.
But, according to the source, Anthony was not gung-ho and was "hurt’’ Knicks upper management tossed his advice out the window.
There's no way of knowing how this bit of information-- true or not-- was allowed to leak, but the timing is just splendid. Well done, everybody.