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Nuggets 129, Knicks 92: “This year’s team would get blown out by last year’s”

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Pardon my thousand-yard stare.

Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Yesterday my grandparents flew into town for a long-term and quite possibly final visit. I spent most of yesterday thinking last night’s Knicks game was in Denver, so when dinner was over and they were telling stories about life in the early 20th century in Puerto Rico, I kept listening, relaxed, content we’d be home before Mountain Time tip-off. I was wrong about the game time. But I was right to miss it.

The Knicks lost 129-92. For the first time in the history of a franchise that’s spent this century fading like that distant cousin who was never the same after the horse kicked in his skull, New York lost their second straight by 30+ points. It was a night of choose-your-own-poverty: this was the Knicks’ eighth straight loss, their fifth straight at home, the fifth time this year they’ve trailed by 35+ points, the third time it’s happened at home and the ninth time they’ve been down at least 20.

When I got home and saw the game was in New York and a minute from halftime, I died a little. When I saw the Knicks, who aren’t the worst team money can buy but do rank among the worst teams hope ever bought into, were already down 20, I died some more. Still, no worries: I could record the replay at 2:30 a.m., watch it this morning and rip off a recap then.

I woke up this morning, clicked on the recording, and have for about a half-hour have been watching the Zynga Poker WBP Bellagio High Roller, where nine players compete for a chance to advance to the final table. There’s a player named David Peters whose profile labels him a “high roller specialist.” If they’d offered that when I was in college, I would’ve majored in that.

The poker being on instead of the Knicks is part of the price of being a Knicks fan in Rochester. As a kid here, the Knicks would sometimes get bumped from a scheduled broadcast because the Buffalo Sabres had a game that night. Because the NHL is a stupid league run by stupid Gary Bettman and his stupid partners in crime, you couldn’t see a Rangers game in western New York because it’s a Sabres market. Even when the Sabres were off, if MSG had a Rangers game the screen would be blacked out for hours. So with two MSGs here now, it’s usually pretty painless to watch the Knicks up here. Back in the day I could see the Knicks on MSG, the Nets games on SportsChannel, the Bulls games on WGN and even some Hawks on TBS. But the forward-thinking NHL had to make sure their product was kept away from would-be viewers. And that’s why it’s risen to become the global entertainment superpower it is today.

That paragraph doesn’t really go anywhere or seem to fit with itself, making it the perfect homage to what New York looked like in last night’s snuff film. While the Knicks were getting pummeled 34-18 in the second quarter, I was hearing a joke my great-uncle used to tell over 50 years ago. This Puerto Rican who’s new to the U.S. and doesn’t speak English is thirsty. He walks up to a vending machine and sees they have Coca-Cola. “Dime,” the price on the machine reads. So the man tells the machine, “Coke.” Nothing happens, so he keeps repeating “Coke” over and over again, getting more and more frustrated. In Spanish, “dime” means “tell me.” I loved that story. Hopefully I’ll share it with my own grandchildren someday. Whereas the Knicks? My brain is already working overtime to erase yet another night of seeing them switch FUCKING EVERYTHING and get repeatedly burned for it.

Wednesday, after losing to Milwaukee by 44, David Fizdale said, “some games you just get your ass whooped.” He tried to paint being blown out as a positive: “It’s a perfect thing, actually, that you can challenge exactly that thing that you felt like you were weak in.” Even if you don’t speak English, your eyes could trace along the shapes of the letters in those words and know they were reading a lie. Last night, after beating the Knicks by 37, the Nuggets’ Monte Morris shaped truth:

We’ve been here before. Too many times. It feels like fighting with a spouse who you knew a long time ago wasn’t right for you, but you stayed together and now the ruts run bone-deep.

Notes:

  • Not exactly a rousing endorsement.
  • Damyean Dotson dislocated a finger. Didn’t look good. Why would it?
  • Elfrid Payton returned, his first action since October. 11 minutes, four points and two assists. Ennui. Un-weeeee. Whatevs.
  • The Knicks trailed by 40+ for second game in a row. The last time that happened was 2014, when the 76ers lost to the Clippers by 45 and the Warriors by 43. That means the Knicks will be good again in 2024. Set your alarms and sleep sweet bear dreams till then, friend.
  • MSG aired a clip of Marcus Morris talking about how he talks to himself “all the time.” I do too. Like, to a degree that would look unhealthy to anyone observing it. But as dogs born with no anus teach us, we don’t all have (or not have) the same release methods.

Quoth mrknickcarter: “This year’s team would get blown out by last year’s.” I could see that. Next game is Saturday when New York hosts Indiana. I’d rather hear my grandfather’s story about the funeral, the drunk and the machete, but I’ll be there for the Pacers. Not sure the Knicks will be.