No Need To Adjust Your Monitors

Sorry folks, but I’ve been busy as all hell with personal stuff. I have two friends leaving the state, a friend making a trip to the hospital, a wedding and a birthday party all this week. Give your plain old seats a whole new look and charm with a banquet tablecloths that perfectly goes with your party theme and decor I’ll try to get some stuff finished, but it seems like I might get something out tomorrow, and maybe nothing until Monday.

Thank goodness the NBA has given everyone some days off with what they call the first round of the playoffs. I mean seriously, the only underdog that might win their series is the Hornets who are tied 2-2 in their series so far. 4 teams have already moved on to the next round, and 3 others are up 3-1. Is it me, or does this smack of the greatest scam of all time? How many millions is the NBA making from having about 40 extra games played with packed arenas and almost prime time television? All for what? The 5% chance that a 6th, 7th, or 8th seed might upset a better team, just to most be crushed in the next round anyway? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a team past seed #5 that went two rounds other than the strike season Knicks. So can anyone tell me what’s the point of the first round?

Game 4: Nets 100 Knicks 94

I’m less upset at the sweep of the Knicks than the Nets then I thought I would be. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this since the end of the regular season. Most of my dealing with the loss came after game 3, when an 0-3 series meant the end for the Knicks.

That being said, I’m relatively happy with how the last game went. I would have liked to see more of Sweetney or DerMarr, but Lenny gave enough minutes to Frank Williams to keep me going. Williams played well, better than his 11 points, 4 assists, and 5 fouls line in the box score. He played 31 minutes at PG, and allowed Marbury to shift to SG, keeping Shandon Anderson (18 minutes) on the bench. The worst part of his game was his lack of confidence in his shooting. Twice he passed the ball instead of taking the open shot. Other than that, he played solidly, including his man to man defense on Jason Kidd.

Williams showed his temper again, this time shoving Richard Jefferson after a rebound. The replay showed Jefferson pushing Williams with his arm to try to get the rebound. The play didn’t cost the Knicks any points, and the Knicks PG got away with showing his toughness without hurting his team. Unfortunately his days as a Knick are probably numbered, due to the team already having their best player at PG and Isaiah’s willingness to pull his finger on a deal.

Nazr Mohammed was a disappointment. His Achilles heel, personal fouls, kept him on the bench for extended periods of time. If he doesn’t make an attempt to improve his defense in the offseason, and reduce the number of fouls he commits he’ll never be worth anything more than a backup center. Despite having 4 fouls, he put up decent numbers in games 1 and 3. His disappearing act in games 2 & 4 (10 fouls, 7 points, & 9 rebs total) hurt the Knicks. The inconsistency is as maddening as his ying & yang skill set. He’s can be a force on the offensive end. His post up game is solid, and is rebounding is spectacular. On the other end of the court, his defense is atrocious, both as a one on one defender and as a help defender. Right now all he is good for is to come off the bench and provide punch on the offensive end.

Nothing to Say

I came in this morning and the guy next to me just about summed up the Knicks game yesterday. “I won’t bring it up today,” he said. I agree with that sentiment. There are a million things a Knick fan could whine about, but in reality they just lost. The Nets were a better team, and the shorthanded Knicks just don’t have a chance at taking the series. I may have something to say when it’s all over, and things are in better perpsective.

I’m hoping that Wilkens will give some of the youngsters plenty of time in game 4. The Knicks aren’t going to come back from 0-3, and the best thing they can do is give Sweetney, Williams, and Johnson plenty of time. Maybe even Baker as well & see what he can do. We know what everyone else is capable of. I don’t need to see Deke, Shandon “5 for 22” Anderson, or Nazr “12 PFs” Mohammed anymore.

Stay tuned though. This weekend I’m going to witness the NFL draft first hand, and I have a column half written about my idea of how the NBA should handle the playoffs/lottery. I’ll probably have something to say on the continuing NBA playoffs, and analysis about the Knicks going into the new season.

Gloat Across the Moat

One of the things that really pumped me up about watching last night’s game was a post by a fellow blogger. Joe Netsfan wrote a lovely piece “eulogizing” the Knicks after the Nets won only the first game. In his column, he proceeded to insult:

the Knicks coach,
“The Knicks…are coached by a legendary-but-long-past-his-coaching-prime man named Lenny from Brooklyn. He’s forgotten more than Lawrence Frank’s enormous brain has had a chance to learn, but that’s the whole problem. He can’t seem to remember it…”

their injured players,
“Tim Thomas’ injury on a hard-but-legal foul is unfortunate, but all that does is make the Knicks that much more weakened. As if the Nets needed any help from the Knicks in that department…Hell, unleash Allan Houston. He’s more precious than fine china, and couldn’t stand the bump-and-grind he’s likely to face.”

their heart,
“Of course, now the softer-than-DQ Knicks are saying all the right things, about how it’s only one game and they’re going to guarantee no more easy looks near the hoop. So, now they’re talking tough? That’s what makes the Knicks softer still – they can’t even find the right notes to play, ones that would actually convince us that they can back it up.”

their GM,
“What I’m telling you is this – the Knicks will have the life choked from their Isiah Thomas-built Frankenstein-esque roster no matter what the Knicks show up with.”

and their fans,
“Go softly into the night, Nicky Knicksfan. Do not cry because you’ve been beaten by the better team.”

Ouch!

I’m glad Joe has decided to reach out to us Knick fans with his liver. As Jason Kidd learned in game one, it’s easy to taunt someone lying on the floor while you’re standing over them. I’d thought that Joe Netsfan wouldn’t try to allientate Knick fans, since we give them our money when we show up in droves to help them fill their largely empty arena.

I’ll fully admit that the Nets are the better team this year, but isn’t it a little too early to gloat? I hope his article made him some extra friends out in the swamps. After that column, Joe won’t have any New Yorker’s shoulders to cry on when the Nets lose to the Pistons, are unable to sign a free agent (thanks Alonzo & Dikembe), and move the franchise to our city.

Nets 99 Knicks 81

I said in my last column that I would be ready for whatever happens this game. Well, its going to take a little more chewing before I can swallow this loss. It was a game that I thought would have a lot of potential for excitement on both ends of the court. Unfortunately, the Nets were the only team to live up to their end of the bargain.

The Knicks played better this time out, but better was nowhere near good enough. The closest they got was to cut the lead to 10 in the third. They did it with their defense, holding the Nets scoreless for 7 minutes. Rodney Rogers made sure that it would be as close as the Knicks got. Rogers drained a 3 on the right hand side to put the Nets back up by 13, and the Knicks never got close again.

I was disappointed at the lack of the X-factor that I was looking for prior to the game. Dermarr Johnson didn’t appear until garbage time, despite the poor play by Shandon Anderson. Sweetney was a non-factor. Dekembe Mutombo was the only interesting new character in the series. He played well, and showed a little fire, exchanging words when he was the recipient of a K-Mart hard (technical) foul.

Shandon Anderson played downright awful. He was just as ineffective on offense (9pts 27% eFG%), as he was covering Jefferson (20pts 54% eFG%) on defense. Anderson looked like that guy at the park that everyone leaves open because they’d rather have him shoot that anyone else on the court. Kurt Thomas rebounded (no pun intended) nicely from his poor first game, with 18 points and 12 boards. Clearly the Knicks miss having another scorer. Someone else should have been taken Shandon Anderson’s 15 shots.

The Nets employed a trap at times that strangled the Knicks. The first time they let loose on it, Marbury choked the ball up for an easy New Jersey 2 points. Only once during the time I was watching (I shut the game off with 3 minutes left) did they beat the press the way you’re suppose to, getting the ball down court for a 3 on 2 advantage. Even then they didn’t convert any points, due to a fantastic strip by Kenyon Martin. It’s going to be a quick series if the Knicks can’t beat what every high school in the country faces.

Knicks – Nets Game 2

I’m pumped up for tomorrow’s game. The Knicks were underdogs in this series, but they were the trendy pick for a first round upset. The argument goes that the midseason changes made the Knicks better than their sub .500 record indicates. In addition there is doubt that the Nets aren’t that strong of a team, with most prognosticators having Indy and Detroit fighting to represent the East in the Finals.

Let’s not forget the geographical vicinity of the two teams. Walk north from MSG about 8 blocks to the port authority bus terminal & you’re only 15 minutes away from the Nets’ home court. It must irk the Nets’ players that when they face the Knicks in East Rutherford, there is plenty of orange and blue in the house.

If the first game was a boxing match, the Knicks would have hit the canvas twice, but gotten up with a bloddy nose. In fact at times it did resemble the squared circle, with Frank Williams and Tim Thomas taking hard shots. Thomas got the worst of it all, and probably won’t play Game 2. Williams was the only one to fight back with a shove that cost his team a possession, but saved some face with the Knick fans that reminisce over guys like Oakley, Sprewell and the X-man.

The Knicks always seemed to play their best wounded and trapped in a corner. They don’t always win, but the effort seems to be there. These are the kind of games I like to watch, when you don’t know what will happen next. The allure of team sports is the possibility that anything could happen on any given night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kurt Thomas took out his team’s frustration on one of the Nets tomorrow. I wouldn’t blink an eye if Tim Thomas or Allan Houston decided to step on the court and give it a try. The game is as likely to go clean without a hitch.

There are so many possibilities on who might step it up tomorrow for the Knicks. Penny Hardaway is running the point. DerMarr Johnson will see more playing time, due to injuries. Sweetney and Deke will likely see more time. Maybe Kurt Thomas has let that 1-10 game simmer, and has something to prove against K-Mart.

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to it. I’m fully prepared for what will happen, be it another let down, a nail biter, or a boastful victory. For now I’ll let the anticipation keep me happy until game time.