I didn’t have an answer for Paul Pierce. Every single person in the building knew where the Celtics were going on their last possession last Wednesday night at the Garden. Amar’e knew. D’Antoni knew. KG and Ray Allen both knew. I knew. The video ho behind me knew. I told my girlfriend during the timeout before, so she knew.
We all knew it was going to be a Paul Pierce 17-foot-elbow step-back jumper. And whether or not Amar’e Stoudemire got a solid hand in his face (he did) – we all knew it was probably going to go in (it did).
I did have one single answer displayed on my right hand for The Truth Bag (sounds like Douche Bag) as he walked into the tunnel, smiling and waving, fresh off a victory lap around the Garden court. I was disappointed. I was upset. And I had won sick center-court tickets from my day job for the game right above the tunnel. The Knicks had just fallen to one of the East’s best teams and one of the NBA’s least likeable players. Somebody was bound to get flipped off.
What began as an interesting and optimistic Dream Week – a win vs Denver, a Frasier-Ali-esque heavyweight bout with Boston, a solid half keeping up with the Heat – ended… let’s just say, not so good. A team that absolutely NEEDS to bring energy for 40 minutes (they’re not yet talented enough to not), left for Cleveland with tired legs and drained pathos, and lost its 3rd game in 4 nights.
Time to panic? No way. This week showed us that the Knicks absolutely are who we though they were – before we got all feverish and crazy and started shouting feverish and crazy things about them. The same thing happened to me in college when I totally bagged this uber-hottie (this never happened) and then I like totally like thought I could get any ish I wanted (this still never happened), until I found out that it was just dumb luck (getting warmer) and I should stay in my league (the only true piece of this sentence). The Knicks are a fun, high-energy squad with one legitimate superstar and a number of holes (all up in and on that bench). They’re not going to win 50 games this year and they are definitely not going to contend for a title (even with a mid-season ‘Melo trade), but they could win 45 and really compete for those 5 and 6 spots in the East.
For a team that has flat-out sucked since I was in middle school, it’s refreshing. For a 2009 salary dump team, it’s effing phenomenal. And without further ado, here is your second installment of Knicks Weekly:
Riding the Pine: It is currently not debatable whether or not the bench has been a problem for the Knicks (it has). Despite unquenchable fan-love for the likes of Toney Douglas and the Hammer-Down himself, Ronny Turiaf – facts are facts, and the current Knicks bench had its first realistic test against a championship-level second unit against Boston. The results were not great – each Knick reserve was in the neg. for +/-, while all of the Boston benchers (including our boy Krypto-Nate) were in the positives. What this means: the Knicks could use a little help from their friends. Lackluster second halves (Miami) and lethargic road games (at the Cleve) happen when guys are getting too much run, and the Amar’e and Ray-Ray are absolutely getting too much. As far as bigs are concerned, the ‘Bockers have plenty of size hanging out on the sidelines, but they appear to have trouble scoring with Turiaf out there and neither the Mozgov ogre nor Anthony “sad-face” Randolph have earned minutes on the floor with their play. (Tangent side-note rant: What the f*&% did Don Nelson do to Anthony Randolph? Why does he always look like he’s perpetually mourning a family member? Was there a child of his kidnapped for ransom that I’m not aware of? I look the same way everyday, but I work a shitty job for crappy pay. I do what he gets paid millions of dollars to do for fun in my free time. Seriously AR, grow up.)
Please note as well, that I made no mention of Eat-y Curry in the reserve bigs conversation. I recently watched a Knicks practice scrimmage where he played, but for some reason was the only guy not in a practice uni. He was wearing an oversized T and cut-off sweats. It looked like a bizarre Garden of Dreams promo. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not even dressing for practice, you might as well not get a shout-out. Keep collecting checks Eat-y.
Under The Sea – Not to harbor (get it!) too much more on the bench, but the other pressing need for the Knicks as we currently know them is at back-up point guard. I don’t think we need to cut into any of TD’s off-guard minutes, but it would be helpful to have a reliable ball-handler run the second unit (something that TD, at this point in his career, just cannot do). My pseudo-exciting and 100% realistic choice: Sebastian Telfair (get it? Under the sea? Like the Little Mermaid. Also, feel free to spitefully stop reading now and remove this site from your internet history). If you watched either of the NYK-T’Wolves games, he appears to be a solid back-up who can run a team, hit open 3s (shoots a respectable 38%) and create a little bit off the dribble. Almost better is he’s gettable. With Johnny Flynn and Luke Ridnour demanding most of the minutes at the 1 in Minnesota, he’s an expiring contract/asset that a solid GM finds a way to get something for. (And dare I say David Kahn is slowly sauntering his way into the solid GM world). Packaging Bill Walker and Roger Mason Jr., provides shooting (something Minny sorely needs) and a veteran voice for one of the NBA’s youngest teams. And the salaries work. And neither of them are actually playing for this current Knicks team. All in favor? That’s what I thought. Moving on.
NYC Zoning Board – This came to me in a dream. And by dream I mean the last two nights watching Dallas on NBATV beat up the state of Florida (Does watching the Miami Heat lose make you as excited as it makes me? I might literally get off on that shit. Gross. Sorry. Moving on). Either way, it got me thinking about all of the zone defense that Dallas plays and how it’s done a great job of mixing up looks for a team that’s got some defensively deficient personnel (see Dirk/Jason Kidd’s grandchildren). And I just so happen to know a team with a similarly deficient personnel that would absolutely benefit from throwing some zone looks in from time to time. We’ve seen how effective it’s been with Dallas, especially considering the line-up that Dallas usually runs zone in (Kidd, Terry, Marion, Dirk, Haywood) is almost identical in size and athleticism to the Knicks starting 5 (Felton, Landry, Chandler, Gallo, Amar’e). While our boys generally are eager defenders, they’re generally not very good at it. Why not utilize our length and a little gimmicky trickoration on the defensive end to confuse opposing teams? At this point, it’s not like we have a whole lot to lose.
And that’s mostly what I got for this week. Check back early next week to see how the holidays fare for los Knicks. Be safe kids.