I'm happy to announce that I reached enlightenment.
It happened last Thursday night as I watched the Knicks, playing without Carmelo Anthony, fall valiantly to the Chicago Bulls. The game was close throughout, and there was a legitimate opportunity for a Knicks squad starting Travis Wear to pull out a win in the United Center. If ever there was a time to root for a miraculous win, this was it. Not only are the Bulls scum to begin with, the sadists over at TNT decided to throw Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley into the mix as announcers. Oh, a victory would have been glorious, if only to force Barkley to shut up for 15 seconds.
But would a win be worth it? The Barkleys of the world would go on saying, "Hurdy-durr the Knicks are turrible." The only way to prove them wrong is to get better players, and at this point to path to elite young talent runs through Tankville.
I did not want the Knicks to win that night, or in any game since. My priorities for each remaining contest of this season is as follows:
- Please, Carmelo Anthony, get that knee surgery!
- Play youngsters.
- Don't win.
- Be entertaining.
- At least one completed Travis Wear alley-oop dunk.
Am I alone in this thinking? To find out, I asked around the P&T citadel -- what is on your mind when the Knicks enter the fourth quarter of a game with a legitimate chance to win?
MMiranda: When the Knicks enter the fourth quarter of a tight game, it's a win-win for me. I still feel that childlike excitement you get when you go to a game live, and the only thing that matters is winning that one game. I still have that feeling. But after 15 years of abomination, I mostly feel like someone who's been adrift at sea, in a boat with no motor, in a place with no wind. I don't care which way the Knicks blow (and they do blow), so long as there's some semblance of movement.
Seth: With few exceptions, I root for them to lose close games. I wanna see them compete, make progress with the Triangle, get quality touches for younger guys who might be around beyond this season, then lose by 4.
Jonathan Schulman: Watching the Knicks has been such a punch in the stomach for so long that I'm scared to ask why it still hurts. Sort of a "Knicks pain cancer?" query. Rounding into the fourth quarter is like being a parking attendant in a massive garage and you've lost every single key.
Have I embraced the tank? Yes. I'm feverishly siphoning gas in hopes that I can sell it to someone, because I definitely lost my job at the parking garage.
Matt RW: I've been a pretty vocal supporter of the tank all season. However, during games I root for them wholeheartedly without even necessarily meaning to; it's more reactionary than anything else for me. It isn't until after the game clock reaches zero that I'm either happy they lost or sad they won.
Christian Baber: I don't feel particularly powerful feelings either way. Just as I do not protest the sun setting every night, nor do I fear the inevitable Knicks losses concluding any close contest.
"Just get it over with," says I. And eventually they do.
WScottD : While I'm on board for the tank, I still actively root for the Knicks to win every game. I dunno, I just can't get behind rooting against the Knicks, even if it's for the team's betterment. That said, every fourth quarter of every tight game, I pretty much summon the old Clyde mantra on losing: "How are we gonna blow this?" rather than "How are we going to win this?"
Let us know about your conflicting fourth-quarter emotions in the comments.