I just heard a woman growl. Like an angry dog. Like a wolf. Like Chewbacca taking a shit. I’m rolling Metro-North on the way to last Wednesday night’s very winnable Knicks-Raptors game, getting myself mentally prepared. This woman clearly already was.
On a night where Raymond Felton’s plinko-inspired game-winning 3 brought some swagger back to the Garden, I was sitting in my typical section (340) surrounded by Canadians. They cheered every time Andrea Bargnani absolutely abused Shawne Williams in the 1st half and boasted about their free healthcare. It was embarrassing. I was infuriated.
But that night – the same night I made an “anonymous” recommendation to security that passports be checked as fans filed in – turned out to be a pretty big night for my Knicks. It was another 30-point effort for the medieval warrior we currently refer to as Amar’e Stoudemire (somebody please give this guy an effing battle axe), and another win on a streak that would find itself this week at 8. The bigger deal: it was the first night that people on all the national sports news outlets really, and I mean really, started talking about the Knicks.
ESPN wanted to showcase that Felton shot – tinkering around to a silent Garden crowd before falling to an explosion of cheers (boom.) – and maybe mention in a side bar that the Knicks had won 11 of 12 and Amar’e was threatening the franchise record for consecutive 30-point games. The risky, potentially overpaid Stoudemire was becoming an MVP candidate. The Plan B #2 was a hero. Those other guys, the ones that everyone labeled with phrases like “not valuable enough assets” and “weak supporting cast” suddenly had person names. Danilo Gallinari showed some real upside. Wilson Chandler was suddenly a solid role player. (oh really? Our 15 and 5 guys in their early 20s might be able to play a little bit? Fascinating.) Like STAT said, when he strutted his $100 million ass (and surgically-repaired knees) into town, “the Knicks are back.” After that Raptors game, the world (me included) was finally ready to believe him.
So where does that leave us? With an 8-game-winning streak, heading into parts two and three of the Dream Week trilogy. In case you’ve been wondering: yes, “Dream Week” is a terrible terrible name for this stretch. And no, it doesn’t make any sense. Without anything further, here is your Knicks Weekly:
My Man Lan – Enough has been said about what a steal Landry Fields has been. Seriously. I’m over it. Just kidding. I’ll never get tired talking of about his rebound rate per 48 (1st amongst NBA guards), his intangibles or his great attitude (and not just ‘cause he @replied me on Twitter a couple months ago – to which now I openly refer to him as my best friend). I will say this… if one more writer/broadcaster/pundit downplays his athleticism, I’m gonna… probably just swear a lot to myself and create a nasty Facebook status about it. How many times does this kid have to nearly smack his face on the rim with put-back dunks before somebody important calls him a leaper?
Less significantly, the 25-game-long Landry Fields nickname search has yielded some shitty shitty results. Tracy Morgan’s “Aqua” attempt (because he’s “smooth”) was pitiful. Alan Hahn’s “Laundry”… even worse. Ryen Russillo mentioned on the NBA Today podcast recently that folks have been calling him “Skills” because – get this – he’s got them. Let’s abandon all this horseshit and just publicly accept what we’ve all been calling him, every time he swoops into the lane and makes that rim crackle. His nickname is “F***ing” – as in LANDRY F***ING FIELDS!!! Got it? Thanks. Let’s move on.
WILSONNN!!!! – I hate to say that I’ve been driving this bandwagon for the last few years, but his phenomenal play as of late forces me to take 80 to 85% of the credit for all of his successes. He’s been mostly disregarded by Broussard and Co. despite some slowly-refining raw talent and solid 2009 real-people numbers. The sabremetrician’s have been killing his eFG and TS% — apparently ignoring the fact that NBA contests utilize a points system to determine winners and losers — continuing to debate why he can look so good, but their numbers just don’t back it up. At 23 and in his 3rd year, Ill Will continued to get better in 2009: giving us 15 and 5 a night, making almost half of his field goals (for a moment, not giving a shit where he took them from) and showing us – those of us that physically watched the basketball games – the guy can play. This year, Will’s getting to the point where his skill set is catching up with his off-the-charts athleticism, mostly manifesting in a much-improved jumper (BALLER NERDS REJOICE!!!). He needed to add a corner 3 (check) and some kind of step-back 2 (on its way) to really complement the fact that he can get to the rack and finish all the effing time. I don’t know if it’s quite clear yet, but Wilson Chandler has been my favorite Knick for awhile. So the last 250 words or so operate completely and unabashedly under that bias. I would’ve framed the piece of his tooth removed from David Lee’s elbow. It’s weird like that.
Teach Me How to Dougie – I’m a huge Toney D supporter, another draft steal from Donnie Basketball, but my man is taking WAYYY too many out-of-rhythm 3s. He’s a solid shooter and I love his scoring presence off the bench, but I’ve seen enough of those pseudo-transition 3s that he takes with 20 left on the shot clock clank out to know that’s not his game. On the other hand when he hits a big shot, the Garden plays “Teach Me How to Dougie.” It’s hilarious, and much better than my suggestion to go with Tony! Toni! Toné!’s classic “Feels Good.” It probably didn’t help that I hadn’t ever actually heard that song before.
Euro Trip – Word has it that my Italian brethren has been going steady with the lovely Michelle Trachtenberg (previously of “All That” fame). One of my roommates had seriously requested that I present the possible connection between her starring role in the movie “Euro Trip” with the fact that Gallo is originally from Europe. He calls it his “retarded degrees of Kevin Bacon” theory. As expected, I immediately regret writing this.
God of Thunder – As if his King Leonidas beard wasn’t epic enough, Ronny Turiaf has adopted some kind of overhand hammer move to celebrate big plays. I don’t know what it means or where it came from, but I freakin’ love it. Can someone please make a hammer down YouTube mix? Can we get hammer down t-shirts? I want a hammer down coffee mug for my day job. Someone please get on this immediately.
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back early next week to recap Dream Week (if they do well) or – as I’m sure ESPN Radio is already prepared for – Nightmare Week if they don’t. Wish us luck.