Hey everybody. It's just me...good old long-time, forever-loyal Knicks fan Joe. No bandwagon jumpers here, am I right?
Anyway, let's get to the previews!
Wed., Feb. 27 - Golden State Warriors
Chinese name: 勇士 (yong-shi) "one who knows no fear"
That was the first definition that came up on my phone's Chinese-English dictionary...and of course I'm using it. How could I resist? "Tonight, at the Garden, the Knicks will face the Ones Who Know No Fear" Sounds bad-ass, and it also sounds like a team made up only of point guards...who know no fear.
I don't want to scare you, friends, but the Knicks have NEVER BEATEN DAVID LEE!!!!
As you can see, Lee hasn't played in the Garden in over two years. Here's hoping he gets a nice ovation.* I still have fond memories of the guy. When I came to China in '07 and Chinese people used to ask me my favorite NBA player, I would answer "David Lee" and they would spend the next minute racking their brains for any reference to this mystery man. Nowadays I've become so bored with these questions than whenever asked my favorite NBA player, I sneer at them and yell "I put no man before Jesus!"
To tell you the truth, I see the man's fingerprints all over this Warriors' team - I mean Lee, not Jesus. The Warriors are 3rd in the NBA in defensive rebounding rate, 2nd in total defensive rebounds, and 20th in defensive efficiency. The Knicks do any even better job of rebounding (1st in DRB%), so this will be the NBA's premiere match-up of teams rebounding misses of shots they did nothing to prevent. If ever the Central Committee named me to Politburo Standing Committee back in America - Do we have those things in America? I haven't lived there in a while - then I would have Charles Barkley hogtied to a chair and forced to watch this game.
The Warriors defense suffers from a lack of forced turnovers (29th in TOV%) and an overabundance of fouls (22nd in FT/FGA). It seems clear then that the Knicks should double-down on the strategy that served them well in the Sixers game: feed Amar'e Stoudemire down low, and make Carmelo Anthony work his way to the basket, looking for fouls. In fact, everybody needs to take the ball to the bucket in this game - especially Pablo Prigioni.
What do the Warriors bring on offense? They bring much of the same nasty concoction the Rockets used to curb-stomp the Knicks earlier in the season: fast pace (6th in the NBA) and accurate three-point shooting (2nd in 3P%). Pay special attention to Steph Curry (.439 3P%), Klay Thompson (.385) and Harrison Barnes (.352), and remember to mark Jarrett Jack (.427) when he comes in off the bench. They can ignore Mark Jackson and his lifetime .332 3P% - he has by far the weakest three-point average and, as a coach, he's not eligible. Only guard the eligible shooters, Knicks - one man on each...at ALL TIMES. I know it's hard to teach such intricate new defensive philosophies to the team at mid-season, but I feel it might help them win this game.
*Agreed, though there's a possibility he gets suspended today. Or his shoulder might keep him out. -Seth
Fri., Mar. 1 - Washington Wizards
Chinese name: 奇才(qi-cai) Lit. "rare talent"
I need to have a heart-to-heart with the Wizards
Joe here. Because I'm your bro, and I care about you, I feel like I need to stage an intervention right here, right now...bro-to-bro. We go way back, bro-heim. Remember all the good times we used to have horsing around the the b-ball court - you chucking up lazy shots, not getting back on defense. Those some times, Bro Diddley.
Then one day you come around, talking all this mess about "defense" and "accountability". And I was all like, "Yeah, same ol' kooky Wizards." Cuz I know you, bruh. I've been with you through it all - the name change, the creepy relationship with Michael Jordan, the dabbling in Scientology - I stuck with you because that's what bros do! Also, you always let my team win.
Look, this isn't easy for me to say. You've changed, Bro Jackson, you've changed. Fifth in the NBA in defensive inefficiency? I feel like I don't know you anymore. And what's with all these wins - seven of your last nine, with six of them coming against potential playoff teams? The Wizards I knew and loved weren't obsessed with such shallow, petty trivialities as "wins."
Sure, if you want to knock off the Nets or Heat on occasion, I can live with that, but what you did on February 6th pushed things too far. You and the Knicks were playing a friendly game - Knicks up at the end of the third quarter, as always - and then you had to make things so serious. Not only did you take back the lead, like some kind of Indian giver, but you flat-out embarrassed the Knicks in that quarter. I hope you're proud of yourselves!
Now I'm gonna have to put my foot down. You're not the only fish in the Southeast sea, Wizards. I could hang out with the Bobcats or the Magic anytime, but I chose you, because I thought we had something. But if you're going to keep playing strong defense and beating up on the Knicks, then I'm afraid we can't be bros anymore. The choice is yours.