A season unparalleled in its ability to showcase never-before-seen spectrums of losing outdid itself yet again, as the Knicks managed to transcend their opponent and lose to the game itself. The 102-91 defeat to the Washington Wizards felt like performance art, like the Knicks decided to make this loss a perfect echo of Sunday's loss in Toronto. As Seth wrote, "This game didn't happen," because it's like this game has already happened, like this game is always happening. You know the loss where they trail from the start, let the opponent score their season-high for the first quarter (34), let them get whatever they want, wherever they want it--down low, along the baseline, dribble penetrating, beyond the arc? This was one of those. John Wall showed the bright side of stinking enough to win a lottery. Carmelo Anthony came out cooking carne guisada in the first half, but he forgot to put a lid on it during halftime and it didn't heat up again till late in the fourth, with the game out of reach. The Knicks were down 10-20 the whole game. They looked indisputably better than a good college team and indisputably bad otherwise.
- On Washington's final first half possession, Wall, from midcourt, drove right to the hoop for a lay-up. Went right by Calderon; no one rotated over to help. That ended a 7-0 run by the Wizards to end the half up 16. After the basket, Samuel Dalembert three-quarters-heartedly slammed the ball in frustration into the stanchion. How fun can it be to have to work on Christmas Day? For a failing business? For an employer you know is going to fire you in six months? The Knicks are an office full of temps stuck working on Christmas Day for a going-out-of-business sale no one's attending.
- My favorite gift this year was Santa not letting Paul Pierce hit one of those late-game-he-hasn't-done-anything-all-day-but-if-he-hits-this-he's-gonna-dance-and-be-all-over-all-the-highlights-tomorrow threes he likes so much.
- A candle for the darkness: There was one strikingly beautiful Triangle set in the fourth. Shane Larkin passed to Cole Aldrich at the top of the key, who dropped a lovely behind-the-back pass to a cutting Pablo Prigioni. Pablo curled it back to Acy, who'd followed the ball the whole time and sprinted from one end of the baseline to the other. Acy took two dribbles and threw in a close runner. In a mostly forgettable performance, that play gets an asterisk.
- All teams struggle to keep John Wall in front of them. I'm not suggesting anyone on the Knicks should be able to (it'd be fun to watch Iman Shumpert give it a shot). But it's not against the law to put a body on the guy or give him a foul once in a while.
- Shortly after I thought this, Quincy Acy had the same idea. After Wall was knocked down by an Acy foul and got up not liking it, Acy showed his fighting aim's as accurate as his shooting, throwing a punch and being ejected for potentially concussing the airspace behind Wall's head. No one left the bench during the modern version of a melee...although Travis Wear did seem tempted.
- I considered running a poll question asking which Knick would be the scariest to see go all dark side and just lose it completely. Then I realized DEFCON 1 Cole Aldrich is so frightening my mind won't even let me envision such a thing. To even write about it is to risk much.
- In the build-up to Acy/Wall I, Pablo tried and failed to draw a charge on Wall in the backcourt. And then, as only Pablo can, he managed to throw a dignified tantrum. I'm telling you: the Knicks are an acting troupe and Pablo is the player king.
- I'm not gonna muck around in the hoary "How good/overrated is Melo?" morass. Decide for yourself-or better yet, surrender the desire to have an opinion and simply live. Either way, at the half:
Carmelo: 7-14 FGs, 7-8 FTs, 21 points.
Other Knicks: 9-26 FGs, 3-4 FTs, 23 points.
In the third quarter:
Carmelo: 1-5 FGs, 0-0 FTs, 2 points.
Other Knicks: 9-17 FGs, 4-5 FTs, 24 points.
- Howard Eisley was the worst player I've ever seen run a fast break. The 2015 Knicks are the worst team I've ever seen run a fast break. More than once their break ended when, upon reaching the three-point line, the Knick point guard--with numbers!--pulled back and went into a halfcourt set. In the first quarter alone they had three breaks that ended with zero points. Later in the game, a 5-on-3 ended without them even getting a shot off.
- Points in the paint: 50-30 WAS. Don't let the numbers fool you. It wasn't nearly that close.
- Before JetsFan718 dropped the knowledge that the game was on MSG, I was marooned on ESPN. With the Knicks down 42-25, Jon Barry, disgusted, asked, "Where's the effort level of the Knicks?" I went back and timed it: 15 seconds later, quoth Barry, "When you put a new system in...there's tentativeness. And that can look like a lack of effort."
- Barry's pretty judgmental. I don't like announcers who sneer at human error. He made fun of Dalembert's shot at one point. Jon Barry's career numbers: 5.7 PPG. 43% shooting. Pot, meet kettle.
- Anything beats last year's orange monstrosities, but the jerseys today looked ridiculous. The names on the black labels on the back looked like someone's well-meaning mom bought their son his favorite player's jersey and then stitched the son's name over the back.
- And that bite-sized logo on the front of the jerseys? No. They look fake. Cheap. Remember when, like, Patrick Ewing would do a slam dunk in a commercial for Ben-Gay, but because of licensing issues his jersey would be white with a blue 33 in orange trim, with no visible "Knicks" or "New York"? They look like that.
- A fan tweeted "John has been off the Wall" and it really, really tickled Clyde's fancy. I think Clyde's a synesthesic.
- Larkin hit a three in front of the Knick bench as the first quarter ended. Assistant coach Kurt Rambis gave him a tap on the butt. Not a rah-rah tap or a "Here we go!" tap. It was somber. Thousand yard stare-ish. More like a "This too shall pass" tap.
- Drinking game: every time Tina Cervasio nods during the halftime interview, take a shot of whatever you're into.
- I will miss Andre Miller. One of those players I'd always hoped would end up on the Knicks.
- Your 2014-15 Knicks Haiku:
like a pufferfish,
the deficit bloats and shrinks.
new york always loses.