Knicks today! Today is Knicks!
In case you have forgotten what it is like to watch New York Knicks basketball, let me provide you with a one-sentence refresher course: Weird shit gonna go down.
While this franchise rarely leads the league in victories, they often come in first in the unofficial category of "weird shit happenings." This is, after all, the franchise that gave the world Linsanity. It also gave us Ray Felton blocking Steph Curry at the end of his 54-point game, Andrea Bargnani getting ejected for smack-talking Kevin Garnett. Hell, basically everything Bargs did last season -- good or bad -- was weird.
I've found that the best way to get through life as a Knicks fan is to embrace these moments of madness, to live for the chaos. With that in mind, I asked the P&T staff what crazy Knicks moment they would like to see in 2014-15. You won't find a "Melo 62" moment here; this is not a celebration of great players achieving great things. This is about predicting events that probably won't ever happen, but could anyway, because Knicks.
Let me start off with Cole Aldrich. He actually had the two highest single-game point totals of his career last season -- he scored 13 points on back-to-back nights in April. I love watching the man operate on offense, catapulting the ball toward the rim with the two oversize spoons the good Lord gave him in place of human hands. But what I want to see is Cole pulling off some bona fide Hakeem Olajuwon moves:
The Cole Shake? You might as well pack up the whole damn arena and end the season right then and there.
I'm gonna go with the Shane Larkin breakout game. I think the second-year guard can be a valuable contributor off the bench, but his quick and energetic style could lead to an explosive game here and there. I'm imagining a home game, Larkin coming off the bench, hitting a few open threes off ball movement, then creating for himself, scootin' to the rim for pull-ups and floaters over much bigger defenders, eventually carrying the Knicks to a feel-good win over a stunned opponent. Book it, y'all.
For me, it's the Shumpert 5x5 game. March 28th, against the Bulls, in Chicago. Shumpert catches Chicago in a daze after a three-day break. Just comes in and starts terrorizing Derrick Rose. Ends the first quarter with eight points, three steals, two rebounds and a block. And just keeps on shredding them. Finishes the game with 21 points, seven steals, six rebounds and 5 blocks. The last block coming in the final two minutes of the game a savage packing of Pau Gasol from the blind side.
Oh wait... and the other statistic that makes it five... five assists. Psychotic behind the back, through the legs pocket pass to Quincy Acy who totally annihilates Taj Gibson and Stacey King grits his teeth so hard that they fall out, and then he swallows the shards and chokes. After being rushed to the hospital with a torn esophagus, he has an emergency surgery, and by doctors orders are: never allowed to scream and shout about the basketball ever again.
I dream of the "JR Smith is on Complete Fire" game, wherein JR shells the Jazz or something for an NBA record 13 three pointers en route to a career high 48 points.
Swish isn't afraid to put up threes. He notoriously set the record for most threes attempted in a single game last season. I look for him to build on that honor by becoming the single leader in most threes made in a game. Young guards like Alec Burks and Dante Exum will struggle to fight over screens and JR shall capitalize with a monster shooting performance capped by him hitting the Belt Celebration to a smiling Steve Novak on the Utah bench. My heart will literally melt.
I'm hoping for a game where Amar'e Stoudemire saves the day with a defensive play. It may seem ludicrous, but it's actually happened before. The one that comes to mind is the first game the Knicks played against the Heat after trading for Carmelo Anthony where STAT blocked LeBron off the glass to seal a New York win.
We all know that Amar'e is terrible at defense, but it's not for lack of trying. It's not ridiculous for me to dream of the stars aligning and Amar'e blocking the shit out of another LeBron layup attempt, preserving a two point lead for the Knicks as time expires. LeBron will lay on the ground in the fetal position while Stoudemire screams triumphantly in his face. Also, Melo will steal the rebound off the backboard from Kevin Love for good measure.
I envision two opposite scenarios, either of which would thrill me to my core. The first is that both of the Knicks' elite-shooters-who-are-maddeningly-unwilling-to-shoot take the floor and waste a whole possession forming an unselfish loop. Pablo Prigioni kicks it to Jose Calderon up top, who kicks it back to Prigioni on the wing, who pump fakes and kicks it back to Calderon up top, who gives it back to Prigioni on the wing, etc. until the shot clock expires and someone has to actually tackle one of them to the ground to break the loop.
The opposite scenario is that Pablo is dribbling up the floor with time expiring and a one-point deficit on the board. He prepares to dish the ball off for the game-winning shot but realizes he doesn't have anyone running with him. Seconds turn to tenths of seconds. Pablo realizes the time has come. He must reveal to everyone that he can DUNK. ON SOMEONE'S HEAD. FROM A STEP INSIDE THE FREE THROW LINE. FOR THE WIN.
Kevin Garnett is diagnosed with PTSD in the wake of Mikhail Prokhorov selling the Nets to a previously unknown NYC billionaire named Dames Jolan. Jolan installs Isiah Thomas as the Nets' president/GM. Shaken by these events, and by Carmelo Anthony's growing efficiency within the Triangle offense, KG rips Carmelo's shoulder out of place in true fatality-style the first time the Knicks play the Nets. Melo's injury opens up minutes for Amar'e Stoudemire, who has his best season since his first in NY. At the trading deadline, James Dolan (who only has positive things to say about Mr. Jolan) hijacks Phil Jackson's plans and takes over trade negotiations with Isiah. The Knicks send Amar'e and Jose Calderon to the Nets for Deron Williams and Chucky Brown.
Afterwards, a low-level minion tremblingly hands Dolan a note with the news: Chucky Brown retired years ago. Dolan looks up from the note as if he's starting at one of those pictures-behind-the-picture paintings. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Isiah sits on a throne of the skulls of all the people he's thrown under the bus over the years. There's a notebook open in his lap. At the top of the page are the words "DEATH LIST." Underneath, we see "CBA" with a red line crossed through it. Under that, "Knicks" with a line crossed through it. Underneath that, "Nets" with a line crossed through it. Deep from the bowels of the Barclays Center, a dark laugh rumbles. Housecats within 2 miles of the sound turn feral and mother dogs eat their young. All the while, Amar'e stays positive, while Deron Williams receives a Lifetime Achievement Award for somehow making Knick fans long for the days of Stephon Marbury.
Well, that ended dark.