I settled into my living room at around 5 PM.
I knew this was going to be one hell of a night of sports, so of course, I made a pillow fort. My cat joined me. The Mets were gunning for a three-game sweep of the Phillies before they’ll inevitably get swept by Miami because the Mets don’t beat Miami.
The Rangers were going to play game one of their playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. I live in Montreal, so these series are full of salt. Although I’ll admit I’m not much of a hockey fan, I do love watching the Rangers make their way through the playoffs and getting their hearts broken in the later rounds. It’s also nice to see the Garden happy, for once.
Then, perhaps most importantly, the Knicks were playing a key tank game against the Sixers. I am a university student. I have finals. I should be studying. I watched all of the games.
All of them.
The Mets started off well. They managed a run in the first inning. Then another, I believe, in the fourth. They cashed in a few more runs in the sixth. I was eating fancy ramen—I was happy.
The Rangers scored a first period goal. It was surprising. Everyone, and I mean quite literally every fucking person—including the ramen delivery person with whom I had a 30 second interaction when he saw my Lundqvist shirsey—said the Rangers stood no chance. Now, I know that one goal in the first period of game one means squat, but still...it gave me something to gloat about in all the Habs fan-filled group chats I’m in.
Meanwhile, on screen No. 3, the Knicks were playing. And losing. Sweet. I ordered the spicy vegetable ramen, they brought me the mild one. Fuck. Gotta get the hot sauce.
Wait, why is Gary Cohen yelling?
I get back to my pillow fort—Maikel Franco just hit a grand slam to cut the Mets’ lead to 5-4. The Habs are on the power play. The Knicks have cut their deficit down to 5. I may need more snacks. Maybe a drink, as well.
As it turned out, Henrik Lundqvist was superlative and the Phillies aren’t that good. The Rangers hung on, as did the Mets. I already know I’m wearing my shirsey under my 2010 K-Rod jersey to class tomorrow. I’m gonna get spat on, but I’m gonna do it.
I turned my attention to the Knicks, whom I was purposely rooting against. My brain will never get used to rooting against my team, I have to force myself. It was a bit easier this time, though. It’s game No. 82, I know I won’t have to worry about this draft-fuel fit of self-destruction again until at least January. Fuck it, go Sixers.
The game was tied at 106, with one minute left. Let them score and then give it to Sasha Vujacic, let him brick one. Go home, draft your franchise point guard.
Instead, the ensuing sequence was nothing short of spectacular— Alex Poythress for two, Ron Baker for three, Tiago Splitter for two, Justin Holiday for three, Nik Stauskas for three. Maurice Ndour gets a friendly roll for 2, Sixers remind us that they’re fucking trash, ball game. Knicks win. I am livid.
You see, I know that a large portion of you readers were following the same three games I was. (Note: I watched the Yankees beat Tampa earlier that afternoon. #AllRise for Aaron Judge! — Joe) The Mets are showing signs that they might be pretty good this year, and the Rangers won a road playoff game for which they weren’t favoured. The Knicks, who have been out of the playoff picture for months, were playing game No. 82 against a team that was actually worse than they are. Why am I so pissed off right now?
I think I know.
Because I’m being sent through an endless cycle of déjà vu’s for which I won’t ever escape. They did the same thing a few years ago when they fucked around and nearly botched the tank. Luckily for them, that one turned out super well; it got us Kristaps Porzingis. But we all know that not every prospect will pan out that way. A difference of one can be absolutely nothing. It could also be the difference between drafting Steph Curry and Jordan Hill. Don’t they know that? Haven’t they been here before? Haven’t they already been forced to make enough bad deals for past-their-prime veterans in lieu of drafting a young new player because they didn't have any draft picks available?? Haven't they learned their lesson(s)?
Of course they haven’t.
It's not logical to rage against the Maurice Ndours of the world. It's not logical to concede the coin flip that might drop us below Minnesota. Whatever. These are the New York Knicks. My other New York sports teams make at least some sense. The Knicks can’t even lose on purpose properly.
I’m gonna fail all my exams.