Boys II Men - the troubadours and poet laureates of my generation. A-B-C, B-B-D...
I believe it is customary to say some kind words about the deceased. Oh, don't worry - there will be plenty of blame-laying and poop throwing, but we can save that, at least until tomorrow. For now, let us celebrate everything that was good about the '12-'13 Knicks.
We were fortunate that we got a chance to actually witness the good Knicks one last time. Sure, they didn't stick around for the whole game; if they had, we'd be talking about Game 7 right now. There was an extended period, however, when they came out of their hidey-hole and displayed their glorious plumage for all to see. In case you missed the appearance, it came between that final depressing fourth quarter and the complete miscarriage of basketball that was the second quarter.
Game 6 followed a familiar pattern: the Knicks messed all over themselves in a poop storm of lax defense, general whining, J.R. Smith, and questionable lineup decisions (often involving J.R. Smith). The third quarter wasn't much better at the start, with the notable exception of Carmelo Anthony, who steadfastly refused to let the game out of hand. Sure, he was isolating, but at that point it felt less out of selfishness and more out of necessity - his teammates were not delivering. Also, he was shooting 60% at that point, against that defense with little help from his teammates. Let's just forget the fourth quarter for a moment - that was the Melo we needed, coming through when we needed it. At the five minute mark of the third quarter Melo had outscored his teammates, 31-29, and the Pacers had a ten-point lead.
Then Shump happened. Per NBA.com...
|4:52||70 - 63||+7||Shumpert 27' 3PT Jump Shot (8 PTS) (Felton 4 AST)|
|4:27||MISS Hibbert 14' Jump Shot|
|4:26||Anthony REBOUND (Off:2 Def:4)|
|4:22||MISS Felton 1' Layup|
|4:20||Felton REBOUND (Off:3 Def:0)|
|4:17||70 - 66||+4||Shumpert 25' 3PT Jump Shot (11 PTS) (Felton 5 AST)|
|4:01||MISS Hill 26' 3PT Jump Shot|
|4:00||Anthony REBOUND (Off:2 Def:5)|
|3:48||70 - 69||+1||Shumpert 26' 3PT Jump Shot (14 PTS)|
Seriously, New York, was there any player you would have rather watched succeed in that spot? Iman Shumpert is a point of obsession among most of us - can he deliver on his promise as a quality two-way player? Well there he was, delivering, in the biggest moment of the season. As far as I'm concerned, he helped J.R. hit a three later in the quarter, simply by momentarily transferring his Shump-ness. Then, as if resurrecting J.R.'s corpse wasn't proof enough that the kid was divine, Shump hit two more free throws and buried a three to knot the game at 79-79. Melo finished the fun by hitting a driving layup to give the Knicks the lead. Imagine that: the Knicks leading a basketball game in the state of Indiana!