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Game Preview: Knicks vs Celtics, 5/16/2021

Last game (preview).

New York Knicks v Washington Bullets Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Well this should just about do it for me, friends. I’ve had a good time hanging out here at Posting and Toasting over the years. I hope I kept shrewd, clever and slick for you. The Knicks are headed to the playoffs and I think it’s come time for me to pack it up. I’ll give an honest series preview and then... well, I suppose I’ll just shuffle off to ‘round the outside.

However long I’ve been after it (whatever it is) I’ve had some fun. Now seems like the right time to hop up off this pulpit and let someone more deserving hold court for their eventual replacement. Maybe this site won’t even exist by then! Whatever happens, I don’t intend to be a crotchety gatekeeper standing in the way, frowning down. My advice in this here bottle is: work very hard to consistently evolve into yourself and be a kind-hearted soul. It took me too long to get on this journey. I tried everything too late. I’m just a former drug pusher with no real education who’s gotten very lucky in a few ways. But I think if you find the balance of pushing yourself and inviting people in, you won’t come up on much worth regretting. Manufacture your good fortune and it will be all the more satisfying.

I have to thank, the grandpappy of it all, Seth Rosenthal, for giving me a place to light my little fires. Many thanks to anyone that ever read this buffoon wisdom, most of which was a load of hooey I made up on the spot. I don’t know what’s the matter with you, but we’re kindred spirits on this marble madness court. I’m certain my approach has not been for everyone. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the people who comment along and use P&T as a palace to find a little reprieve from this weighty world. Your contributions are just as much a pillar as anything I’ve ever done.

I don’t know what’s next, probably just be in my print shop pushing ink across a screen and taking breaks to shake tails with my dog. If you need me, I just can’t quit twitter. If you don’t need me, at least go glom on to my wonderful friends at the Strick dot Land. I did pretty much all the artwork for them this year, and it was really rewarding, but I’ll be moving on from there as well. I love them dearly and I bet you’d get along real swell if you tried. They’re doing really exciting work and trying to make a go of it against some tough odds. I know they’ll be relaunching in the offseason with a new comment platform that should rival this here site- for those who really desire the community, to be part of the team.

Pat Riley Game Portrait Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

In part my obsession with the Knicks was born out of my own basketball mythology. I started as an underdog on the court, and I identified with the struggles of trying to survive under the monolithic Michael Jordan. That bald asshole just perpetually stabbed me in my uncovered, bulging kid-heart.

The friction that sparked the hoop-fire in my tummy was when I first played against this pair of shitty kids in my neighborhood. Brothers, both older, both taller. I didn’t know the rules and they didn’t tell me. So they called me for every violation. Traveling, double dribbles, three seconds, probably even hit me with a Charles Barkley rule. It was already two-on-one, I had no hope but to be embarrassed. They laughed until I decided to bounce. I vowed to make them regret clowning me and luckily basketball lets you work on your game from your own personal fortress of solitude. Where I was forged in spite, sucking my teeth.

With that same bent hatred in mind, here’s my all time favorite Knicks, versus some shmohawks that I think deserve merciless spankings.

Rod Strickland v Mark Jackson

Jamal Crawford v Steve Francis

Latrell Sprewell v Doug Christie

Anthony Mason v Charles Smith

Patrick Ewing v Enes Kanter

Look, I grew up after Clyde Frazier and the championship teams, so you’ll have to forgive me, I just tell what I can tell. My first teachers were Jack Ramsay and Hubie Brown, Sunday triple-headers were my mountaintop temple. I ate as much Snapper Jones as I could get. Every single thing they said felt like an open door to a new extravagant room which I desperately wanted to be allowed to enter. Lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. I studied in the tall mud, unscrolling myself in the sun, trying to shape together some form, some solid structure. It was nothing easy. Did other people know of a numerological lit path? No one ever showed me and it never just appeared.

When I was maybe eight, I “hooped” for hours with a tennis ball. In my driveway alone, aiming for a center panel above the door. Trying to softly arc the ball so that if it hit the lip of the molding and bounced up: that was a bucket. Eventually i got an actual basketball and a hand-me-down bike with no chain. I rode it like a scooter to parks to play for hours and hours and hours. Tried to get there before anyone could see me scoot up and left last so they wouldn’t watch me scoot off.

New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

Basketball is my true blue, my searing hot love. I can spot hoops in the wild out of the corners of my eyes and through any amount of noise. I got an aching old carcass that lags behind now. Just doesn’t do what it did at my heights, but I’ve had some decent playing memories that still make my bones vibrate with joy, like it just happened. An everlasting imprint at my fingertips.

It feels like only a few weeks since I dropped 44 points (with one assist) in a game that my team won 47-46. Was it just a couple days ago? Opening a playoff game, some alpha goon decided he would press me full court from jump. I immediately shook this dope so hard he did the Charleston in a full flailing circle, nearly blew out his grandchildren’s knees. Out loud to the whole court “nah, I’m not about that”. The surprise-panic in his face, his warbling voice as he tap danced backward, every millisecond is tattooed on the inside of my skull.

Taught plum flesh grades down to a tart yellow jolt that shimmers out from my spine and circles my shoulders, pulsing down to a warm cup of good morning america in my hands. The time I got kicked out of an invite-only pick up run (after years of invitations) because of a very particular game point. The punk who did the inviting decided to switch onto me and successfully fake a comeback win for his team.

I can still feel the in and out, cross left to right, yo-yo as the heat increases back through my legs to the left. Then I had to spin his ass. Had to. He had it coming. A booming chorus of “oh’s” as I slipped the pill through his legs and pushed it out far enough to my right hand, so I could just watch the hideous pink sausage casing fall off his frame. He tucked some hair behind his ear, refocused. I went behind the back to let him square and repeated the lefty in and out. It had just the right amount of pull. Back into my orbit. Then the cross out front went through his legs into space. Totally dizzy now. To my right with one hard rhythm dribble. Some sideliner said, “You gotta shoot it now.” They had next. Pulled from the logo and it ripped through the net. I didn’t call shit, just made him eat it. Hell of a way to get kicked out of a pick up.

Game is at 1:00, Knicks by -7.

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

Parting Shot

I never cared about winning, I just wanted next. A hoops drifter that’s run up on their time. The court is merely 50 feet wide, as we know. This was just my fifteen minute rotation. Now I’ll sardine into the concrete’s cracks hoping I can press up and let some new model glide by. Who knows what they’ll call a walk when that fool ambles into the sunset!

For now, just me, a bent old rim to keep here until it’s replaced. Like a silver sun smoked fence, leaning. Something small to climb over or weak to push down. A couple particles of dust. With the angle of the light just so, maybe we’ll reminisce after there’s some overgrowth, one spring morning. Ah, yea, I can see an old post hole there. We can imagine the hoops together.

1994 NBA Finals Game 2: New York Knicks vs. Houston Rockets Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images