Knicks Morning News (2013.12.31)

  • [New York Times] James Returns to Lead Heat Past Nuggets 97-94 (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:27:12 GMT)

    LeBron James returned from a groin injury on his birthday and wasted no time finding his shooting touch.    

  • [New York Times] Suns Blitz Clippers 107-88 With Dragic’s 26 Points (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:15:06 GMT)

    Goran Dragic had 26 points and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter, Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench, and the Phoenix Suns ended the year with a 107-88 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] Evans and Holiday Lead Pelicans Past Trail Blazers (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 05:48:04 GMT)

    Tyreke Evans hit the final shot. Jrue Holiday made every big play before that to put the New Orleans Pelicans in position to win.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Pelicans Upend Trail Blazers (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 05:35:42 GMT)

    Tyreke Evans hit a pull-up jumper from 17 feet with 1.2 seconds left and the host New Orleans Pelicans beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-108.    

  • [New York Times] Burke Sends Jazz to 83-80 Win Over Bobcats (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 04:48:08 GMT)

    Trey Burke beat the shot clock on a driving layup with 19 seconds left and scored 21 points to power the Utah Jazz past the Charlotte Bobcats 83-80 on Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] Butler Scores 26 as Bulls Beat Grizzlies 95-91 (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 04:21:15 GMT)

    Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his 26 points in the third quarter, Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 95-91 on Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] Mavericks Hold On to Beat Timberwovles 100-98 (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 04:03:26 GMT)

    Shawn Marion scored 32 points and hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Dallas Mavericks withstand a furious second-half charge from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 100-98 victory Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] Wall Scores 29, Wizards Rally Past Pistons 106-99 (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 03:30:26 GMT)

    John Wall scored 29 points and the Washington Wizards became the latest team to rally past Detroit in the fourth quarter, beating the Pistons 106-99 on Monday night.    

  • [New York Times] LeBron James Back in Lineup for Heat After Injury (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 02:33:03 GMT)

    LeBron James is back in the Miami Heat’s starting lineup against the Denver Nuggets after missing the previous game because of a groin injury.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: J.R. hints at brother ‘betrayal’ (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:33:35 GMT)

    The Knicks have made the decision to waive controversial point guard Chris Smith to make room for big man Jeremy Tyler on the team’s 15-man roster, according to a source close to the situation. J.R. Smith, Chris’s older brother, didn’t seem too pleased by the move.    

  • [New York Daily News] Melo hopes to play first game of ’14 (Tue, 31 Dec 2013 03:35:43 GMT)

    Carmelo Anthony rested his 6-8 frame against a partition at the Knicks’ practice facility on Monday, shifting most of his weight off his sprained left ankle and onto his right, which he will be leaning on a little more often for the foreseeable future.    

  • Well Then…

    Today, roughly 3 months and 10,000 jokes too late, the Knicks waived Chris Smith.  Then, this happened:

    The hardest part about writing this post is knowing where to start so forgive me if these aren’t in order of importance but here’s what I’ve got:

    1) First, there’s nothing fun (for me) about being a gossip columnist and I don’t like speculating about what is in the heads of other people (least of all people like JR Smith whose thought process tends at times to be, shall we say, unconventional) but I’d appreciate if we can all just assume away the possibility that someone or something else “betrayed” our man Earl today and presume that this Instagram post is about what it appears to be about on face.  If it isn’t then obviously all of the following is moot (although there would probably still be a point to make about his sense of timing but, I digress).

    2) So, wow.  If J.R. had any concern about the perception that the Knicks’ otherwise inexplicable rostering of Chris Smith was a sort of quid pro quo directly relating to J.R.’s own extension this summer, he seems to have set these concerns aside in favor of a futile social media swipe at his bosses.  Although some have suggested that deals like this are par for the course in the NBA, the fraternal relationship between the two Smiths — and the younger Smith’s utter lack of NBA-level talent — had drawn a big, bold underline under this one from the start and today’s developments make the possibility of impropriety almost impossible to ignore.  It will be interesting to see if the NBA cares enough to make a stink about it or if they decide to join everyone else and just laugh at the fact that even when the Knicks play dirty they can’t seem to help themselves.

    3) I doubt there will be any type of formal response from Knicks management here but I’m primarily curious about whether the Prodigal-Son-Returns-ish nature of Smith’s relationship with his coach and the team’s PR staff will survive this one.  Few Knicks in recent memory have invited as much criticism as Smith has through sound bites, social media, and other off-the-court activities but his minutes and role in the team’s rotation have rarely suffered, even at times when his play left much to be desired.  Now, with Carmelo Anthony still battling injuries and after a run of play that suggests Smith may be rounding back into the kind of form we haven’t seen since the early part of last spring, J.R. is as critical as ever to the team’s success.  My guess is that gets him out of this one with pretty mild consequences, even though the Knicks have been known to lash out at their on-court talent for lesser transgressions.

    4) Beyond all of that though, how weird is this?  The Knicks essentially handed away a roster spot as a favor to a player they were already overpaying, covered up the fact that this same player had knee surgery in the offseason, shrugged off a 5-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, put up with an almost impossibly bad run of play that stretched from the middle of the Celtics’ series until about a week ago, and refused to allow any of the other headaches that Smith has generated affect either his role on the court or the way he is marketed by the team.  The loyalty would almost be admirable if it wasn’t so misplaced.  And now, shorthanded beyond belief, they made the move that was always coming, that had to come, that essentially adds an extra spot to an active roster that has been ravaged by injuries and age-related minute limitations.  This, in J.R. Smith’s mind, represents betrayal.

    5) The most interesting thing, to me, is how closely J.R.’s handling of this situation mirrors his on-court persona.  The frustration fouls, the relentless attempts to shoot his way out of slumps, the mocking indifference to people who doubt his game, the bouts of petulance and selfishness and conviction that no matter how much he’s been given, he deserves more: it’s all right here on display, as surely as if he was getting whistled for a technical at the tail end of a 3-for-14 shooting night.  I don’t know what happened in any meetings between the Knicks and either Smith brother this summer.  I don’t know what was requested, what was promised, what was signed, whose hands were shaken.  I’m almost certain that I’ll never know.  What I do know is this: there are a lot of people that have a right to complain about the lack of respect the Knicks have shown for them and their investment in the franchise.  I’m talking about players, coaches, front office guys, even fans.  I’m not talking about J.R. Smith, who has received superstar treatment for uneven play and who may never learn — on the court or off — how to cut his losses or how to quit when he’s ahead.

    Mike Woodson: To fire, or not to fire?

    Happy short-week-Monday, pardners.

    Apologies for it being a bit quiet over here of late. As many of you know, we co-hosted a Knicks meetup this past Saturday along with Posting & Toasting. The turnout was great, even if the game, uhh, wasn’t. Here’s photo evidence of said get-together. Mike, sadly, was off to the side, because his stunningly chiseled features would’ve melted the camera. That’s Robert Silverman, Jonathan Topaz, Jeremy Conlin, Kevin McElroy, and myself. All smoking cigarettes, although not in that order. We’ll let you guess who’s who — that’s more fun.

    Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.11.33 PM

    Anyway, seeing as how six of our seven recap writers were there, we decided to give ourselves the best Holiday gift of all by NOT COVERING THE KNICKS. So sorry about the lack of a cap.

    I did, however, pen something over at Bleacher Report about the Mike Woodson conundrum. As in, should we fire him, or not? It’s a complicated question with nothing but messy answers, even if you — like me — spend billions of daytime brain cells actively hoping that it comes to pass.

    Anyway, you can read it here if you want. And then get back to talking about Vanilla gift cards and New Year’s death brunches or whatever.

    Peace.

    Knicks Morning News (2013.12.30)

  • [New York Post] Source: Knicks re-signing Tyler likely means waiving Chris Smith (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:51:45 -0500)

    As the Knicks negotiate a deal to re-sign big man Jeremy Tyler and have him for Monday's practice, the team is expected to release point guard Chris Smith to make…

  • [New York Daily News] Tall help from Eerie near for Knicks (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 04:16:56 GMT)

    James Dolan vowed last week that no coaching move or significant personnel changes are forthcoming, but the Knicks are moving closer to signing big man Jeremy Tyler, according to an NBA source.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks must ring in some effort (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 04:08:14 GMT)

    The Knicks will not lose again in 2013, with three more days without a game before a three-game Texas swing starting Thursday in San Antonio.    

  • [New York Times] At 29, James’ Numbers Are Off the Charts (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 09:21:35 GMT)

    If the number of an NBA player’s birthday candles were proportionate to his point total, then Miami Heat star LeBron James would need help putting out the fire atop his red velvet cake.    

  • [New York Times] Sixers Snap 13-Game Road Skid, Beat Lakers 111-104 (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 05:57:02 GMT)

    The postgame whoops and hollers from the visitors’ locker room were audible through two closed doors after the Philadelphia 76ers capitalized on their final chance in 2013 to end their 13-game road losing streak.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Game of the Week: Coast-to-Coast Clash (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 05:22:13 GMT)

    The Warriors, making their first extended trip east this season, have the speed and size to give the Heat trouble.    

  • [New York Times] Roundup: Thunder Win 2nd Straight Without Westbrook, Drubbing Rockets (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 03:41:01 GMT)

    Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s All-Star point guard, is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.    

  • [New York Times] Magic Beat Hawks for Consecutive Victories (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:51:27 GMT)

    Arron Afflalo scored 21 points and the Orlando Magic beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-102 on Sunday night to give them back-to-back victories for just the third time this season.    

  • [New York Times] Big 3 Powers Spurs Past Kings, 112-104 (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:42:22 GMT)

    Manu Ginobili scored 28 points, Tony Parker added 22, and Tim Duncan had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 112-104 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Thunder Rout Tired Rockets 117-86 (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:39:03 GMT)

    Kevin Durant had 33 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder won their second straight game without Russell Westbrook, beating the Houston Rockets 117-86 on Sunday night.    

  • [New York Times] Curry’s 29 Lead Warriors Over Cavs in OT (Mon, 30 Dec 2013 02:15:19 GMT)

    Stephen Curry scored 29 points and made a clutch jumper with 13.5 seconds left as the Golden State Warriors opened a long road trip with their fifth straight victory, 108-104 in overtime against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.    

  • Knicks Morning News (2013.12.29)

  • [New York Post] Injury-riddled Knicks could bring big man Tyler (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 00:37:35 -0500)

    TORONTO — The Knicks are plotting an entrance strategy for 6-foot-10 big man Jeremy Tyler, hoping he can give them a youthful spark. Knicks brass has seriously discussed re-signing Tyler…

  • [New York Times] Blake Griffin Scores 40, Clippers Beat Jazz 98-90 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 07:45:01 GMT)

    Blake Griffin’s dramatic improvement with his free throw shooting has added an important dynamic to the Los Angeles Clippers’ offense — particularly in the fourth quarter, when teams used to intentionally send him to the line because he missed more often than not.    

  • [New York Times] Banged-Up LeBron Sits Out 1-Point Win Over Blazers (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 07:15:07 GMT)

    An ailing LeBron James sat out Miami’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, the first game the Heat star has missed this season.    

  • [New York Times] Bosh Carries Heat, Minus James, Past Blazers (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 07:03:37 GMT)

    Chris Bosh made his case: He wanted to go for the win.    

  • [New York Times] Millsap, Williams Help Hawks Rally Past Bobcats (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 06:15:12 GMT)

    Paul Millsap knows the Atlanta Hawks won’t have an easy time replacing Al Horford.    

  • [New York Times] Plumlee’s Career-High 22 Lead Suns Past 76ers (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 04:45:12 GMT)

    Miles Plumlee scored a career-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns bounced back from their worst loss of the season to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 115-101 Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Love and 3s Help Timberwolves Rout Bucks 117-95 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 04:09:15 GMT)

    Kevin Love had 33 points and 15 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double, and the Minnesota Timberwolves climbed back to .500 by routing the Milwaukee Bucks 117-95 on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Pacers 105, Nets 91: Nets Lose Power After Strong Start, and Pacers Pull Away (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 04:01:43 GMT)

    After a tight first half with eight lead changes, the Nets crept to a disappointing finish against the Indiana Pacers.    

  • [New York Times] Randolph, Bench Lead Grizzlies Past Nuggets 120-99 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 04:00:13 GMT)

    Zach Randolph scored 20 points and the Memphis Grizzlies got 62 points from their bench in a 120-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Suspension May Be End for Bynum in Cleveland (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:55:38 GMT)

    The Cavaliers indefinitely suspended Andrew Bynum, their enigmatic center, on Saturday for “conduct detrimental to the team.”    

  • [New York Times] Rockets Rally to Beat Pelicans 107-98 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:54:00 GMT)

    Dwight Howard had 24 points and 17 rebounds, and James Harden scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter in the Houston Rockets’ 107-98 comeback victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Ellis Scores 22 as Mavericks Rout Bulls 105-83 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:51:03 GMT)

    Monta Ellis had 22 points and the Dallas Mavericks took control early in coasting to a 105-83 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Raptors 115, Knicks 100: In Toronto, a Knicks Loss and a Boo-Filled Return (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:46:05 GMT)

    A late comeback fell short in a loss to the Raptors, giving the Knicks their second loss to Toronto in two nights. Former Raptor Andrea Bargnani’s contributions were limited.    

  • [New York Times] Millsap, Williams Help Hawks Rally Past Bobcats (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:42:03 GMT)

    Paul Millsap scored a season-high 31 points, Lou Williams scored 10 of his season-best 28 points in overtime and the Atlanta Hawks rallied to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 118-116 on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Pacers Use Third-Quarter Burst to Beat Nets (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:29:58 GMT)

    Paul George scored 24 points and Lance Stephenson added 23 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 105-91 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Lowry Scores 32 as Raptors Beat Knicks 115-100 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 02:50:57 GMT)

    Kyle Lowry had a season-best 32 points and 11 assists, Terrence Ross made a career-high seven 3-pointers and the Toronto Raptors beat New York for the second straight night, topping the short-handed Knicks 115-100 on Saturday.    

  • [New York Times] Wizards Pull Away From Pistons, 106-82 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 02:39:02 GMT)

    John Wall had 20 points and 11 assists, Marcin Gortat added 16 points, and the Washington Wizards routed the Detroit Pistons 106-82 on Saturday night.    

  • [New York Times] Bass’ Block Saves Celtics in 103-100 Win Over Cavs (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 02:03:11 GMT)

    Brandon Bass couldn’t hide his smile after his timely blocked shot for the Boston Celtics.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Mike hopes Melo is on Texas trip (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 06:30:35 GMT)

    Carmelo Anthony did not accompany the Knicks north of the border, but Mike Woodson is hopeful his hobbled All-Star will be back in time for the three-game swing through Texas beginning Thursday in San Antonio.    

  • [New York Daily News] End Zone: Dispirit of ’66! Big Apple sports were a disaster 47 years ago (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 05:55:49 GMT)

    Manager Ralph Houk was cleaning out his office at Yankee Stadium. The ash trays he emptied weren’t from victory cigars. It was September of 1966 and he hadn’t been through a year like it since he survived the Battle of the Bulge with just a bullet to the calf.    

  • [New York Daily News] Melo-less Knicks drop third straight, now 9-21 on season (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 02:44:13 GMT)

    Mike Woodson has leaned for weeks on the notions that the Knicks have not been playing with a “full deck” and that no team is “running away” with the shoddy Atlantic Division.    

  • [New York Newsday] Knicks fall to Raptors, 115-100 (Sun, 29 Dec 2013 00:10:06 EST)

    The Knicks ended their 2013 schedule in a fitting way, with a maddening, head-shaking performance featuring no continuity on offense, little effort on defense and a mostly half-hearted display of basketball.

  • Raptors 95, Knicks 83: Some Thoughts on Boredom.

    Toronto Raptors 95 Final

    Recap | Box Score

    83 New York Knicks

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    Back when I was in High School, I wrote for the paper. We called our lil’ rag “Zeitgeist,” because we were full of all of the hubris and youth, and fancied the notion that reviews of school plays and or random jeremiads calling for the principal’s head on a pike because he wouldn’t reveal our fine, hoary (Columbia Prep is the oldest non-denominational private school in the history of the United States. For serious) institution of learning’s investments to see if we could further tie him to a journalistic stake and light up the tinder we’d wedge ‘round his person, screeching about divestiture hedge funds that dealt with South Africa.

    We assumed that his refusal to give up the books was an implicit admission of guilt. The paper was ‘banned’ for about a week for that one, a fact that we wore with the pride of true teenage radical revolutionary—the kind for whom symbolic, change-and-impact-free, chest-thumping victories are seen as the highest achievement possible.

    In said paper, a fiend of mine had a column with a lede that always read, “There’s nothing worse than a blank page.”

    It’s a fun, catchy line, but it’s also a writer’s trick: Just start writing. Something. Anything. Even if it’s complete gobbledy-gook and you end up chucking all of your early, free-form scribblings in the bin by the time you actually do come up with a coherent thesis.

    I mention all this because I’ve been staring at a blank e-page for the last 120-odd minutes, trying to figure out what to say about this game, and I’ve run out of cute/funny/sad gimmicks.

    We’ve recapped games from 1993. We’ve gone to fake biblical scripture. We rewrote an entire Beckett novel. We’ve done a Bizarro-world recap, where good is bad, black is white, etc. We’ve revealed personal details about our lives. We’ve exhumed the full meaning of the term “Prryhic.” Not to get all Prospero up in your shizznit, but we’ve definitely reached the “Now my charms are all o’erthrown / And what strength I have’s mine own / Which is most faint / Now, ’tis true, I must be here confined by you,” portion of this Bataan Death March of a season, and we’re just plumb tapped out of clever/interesting/funny ways to talk about this howling, radioactive waste-ridden garbage fire of a team.

    I can’t see much point in issuing grades (again), because it implies there’s anything but a complete and total shared blame to be had (again). In the end, this is just a bad basketball team, playing badly. Here’s your recap: “Knicks lose. Are bad team.” Done.

    Want more? Well, Beno had a solid game at the point. He moved the ball smartly, limited turnovers and hit shots when called upon. Yes, JR for the most part was very effective. Yes, Timmy Jr. was exciting and hit more than his share of heaves. Yes, Bargs had a revenge-y downright great first half before vanishing in a wisp of Axe Body Wash Spray (I assume he buys it in bulk at Costco) in the second.

    But Tyson was terrible, allowing Jonas “Yes, I looked that good in the Summer League, remember? Here’s a flashback for you.” Valanciunis to bully him silly in the paint (NOTE: Jonas rilly looks like a super-sized Chris Evans, of Cap’n ‘Murrica fame. Let’s continue), STAT now seemingly can barely hit the iron on a charity stripe toss, K-Mart’s attempts at a low post move look so ancient and creaky that it’s as if you need a hand crank to operate them, and the entire team wilted, sagged and just lay there, not unlike a post-coital male reproductive organ right around the time the fourth quarter began.

    They started switching again, though Mike, Son of Wood claims that’s not what he wants (NOTE: if a tall, bald, goateed man tries to sell/lease you shares in a long structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over said obstacles, please do not begin drawing up paperwork, move on to other, shrewder investment opportunities and make a quick call to the Better Business Bureau. Seriously, I don’t believe a single thing Woody says. Not at this particular moment in time at least.) leaving John Salmons and other with enough time to both examine various prospective hedge funds and re-engage in the lustful, bawdy bedroom activity mentioned above, or positing any number of large Dinosaurs against the Knicks’ guards down low. The dastardly Canadians wouldn’t even play Steve Novak, and watching him drain a couple of treys in the Knicks’ collective grill would’ve been effing awesome.

    And if you were watching, you knew it was going to happen. They were up nine and STAT/JR proceeded to brick four straight tosses, leading your humble correspondent to tweet this:

    Why? Because no one in his/her right mind thought New York would win. Make a checklist of the execrable ways an NBA team can lose a game and you’ll quickly find that the Knickerbockers have done ‘em all.

    And I’m bored of it. Bored to tears. Bored senseless. Bored stupid. Bored into a stupor. I’m so bored, I’m jonesing to see what a 36+ outing by Chris Smith would look like. Oh yeah, they’d still lose. But at least it’d be different or NOT BORING. Hell, even the indefatigable Al Trautwig sounds bored. At one point, heading into commercial, he mumbled, ““The Knick players are gonna try to explain this one, but I don’t think there’s any way to explain this…Happy New Year,” with all the disgust and unbridled sense of the inevitably of it all he could muster.

    It’s gotten to the point that nothing surprises me anymore (and that’s really boring). Dolan gave the team a pep talk during Thursday’s practice? Outstanding. Just great. I hope spent the prior two days doing nothing but watching Pacino’s spiel from Any Given Sunday on a permanent loop to psych himself up beforehand, schlepped a boom box (like, a really monstrous 80’s ghetto blaster that requires 12 D batteries) with him, and just played Eagles bootleg cassettes as the score for his inspirational, rally-the-troops monologue.

    Of course he did. And of course it needs to be leaked to the press, just so someone can ask various Knicks about said born-on-third-base-and-thinks-he-hit-a-triple-owner’s speech, because it’s not enough to suffer shitty basketball, we need to become absolutely embroiled in off-court ‘drama’ as well. BORING.

    Okay, one thing was different. Tyson Chandler probably said the most truthful thing uttered by any ‘Bocker this season

    Unless this is the paragon of Knick honesty. It’s your call, really.

    To be fair, we also got to hear an extended Salmons-pun from Clyde, “He’s been swimming upstream all evening,” and a moment where Breen realized the absolute lunacy of comparing a Bargs block to Bill Russell. Neither of those things was boring. Prior to tipoff, there was also the prospect of a K-Mart/Bargs/Tyson starting frontcour, if Shump was too boo-boo’d to play. Yes, do that. Because big is always better. That would’ve been hilariously awful, but big is always better. Give Woodson a Rohrshach test and every answer would be “Big.” I mean Canada is big, man, but Bargs at SF? That would have been his symphonic size masterpiece. I’d have called it “GRANDISSIMO FORTE IN F MINOR.” Again though, not boring.

    But in the two hours that I’ve been dumbly staring at a glowing, computer screen, it’s blank white face like an endlessly-toothed starving maw begging to be fed, I can’t help but think of a chunk from Louis Malle’s 1981 movie, My Dinner with Andre. If you haven’t had the pleasure, two guys meet for dinner and talk about things. Sometimes a waiter brings them food. Still, great movie.

    There is one scene that seems incredibly Knicks right now. Here it is. I’ve highlighted the portions that seem most relevant, but do yourselves a favor and watch the whole thing. Hell, go watch the entire movie. We’ll wait

    WALLY: [Quieter:] Well, why…why do you think that is? I mean, why is that? I mean, is it just because people are lazy today? Or they’re bored? I mean, are we just like bored, spoiled children who’ve just been lying in the bathtub all day just playing with their plastic duck and now they’re just thinking: “Well! what can I do?” [Cough in the background.]

    ANDRE: Okay! Yes! We’re bored! We’re all bored now! But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process that creates this boredom that we see in the world now may very well be a self-perpetuating, unconscious form of brain-washing, created by a world totalitarian government based on money? And that all of this is much more dangerous than one thinks? And it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say “no”? See, I keep meeting these people, I mean, uh, just a few days ago I met this man whom I greatly admire, he’s a Swedish physicist, Gustav Björnstrand? And he told me that he no longer watches television, he doesn’t read newspapers and he doesn’t read magazines. He’s completely cut them out of his life, because he really does feel that we’re living in some kind of Orwellian nightmare now, and that everything that you hear now contributes to turning you into a robot!

    And when I was at Findhorn, I met this extraordinary English tree expert, who had devoted his life to saving trees. He just got back from Washington, lobbying to save the redwoods? He’s eighty-four years old and he always travels with a backpack ’cause he never knows where he’s gonna be tomorrow! And when I met him at Findhorn he said to me: “Where are you from?” And I said: “New York.” He said: “Ah, New York! Yes, that’s a very interesting place. Do you know a lot of New Yorkers who keep talking about the fact that they want to leave but never do?” And I said: “Oh, yes!” And he said: “Why do you think they don’t leave?” I gave him different banal theories. He said: “Oh, I don’t think it’s that way at all.” He said: “I think that New York is the new model for the new concentration camp, where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards, and they have this pride in this thing they’ve built, they’ve built their own prison. And so they exist in a state of schizophrenia, where they are both guards and prisoners. And as a result they no longer have, having been lobotomized, the capacity to leave the prison they’ve made, or to even see it as a prison. And then he went into his pocket and he took out a seed for a tree, and he said: “This is a pine tree.” He put it in my hand and he said: “Escape, before it’s too late.”

    You see, actually, for two or three years now Chiquita and I have had this very unpleasant feeling that we really should get out. No, we really should feel like Jews in Germany in the late thirties? Get out of here! Of course, the problem is where to go, ’cause it seems quite obvious that the whole world is going in the same direction. You see, I think it’s quite possible that the nineteen-sixties represented the last burst of the human being before he was extinguished. And that this is the beginning of the rest of the future now, and that from now on there’ll simply be all these robots walking around, feeling nothing, thinking nothing. And there’ll be nobody left almost to remind them that there once was a species called a human being, with feelings and thoughts. And that history and memory are right now being erased, and soon nobody will really remember that life existed on the planet!

    Yeah, that sounds nice, Andre. Unfortunately, we’re trapped here, with this team, in this time. And we could walk away, but first we’d have to realize that it is a prison we’re in, and decide that we do, in fact want to leave. And fandom is a kind of prison, because the only thing keeping you or I or the millions of other Bocker-backers locked up is our faith, and the belief that time wasted watching a bunch of pituitary cases run around in their underwear is a good and noble thing.

    You know the saying, “Reality is what you put your faith in?” It’s true. Not in a shlock-y, self help-y, The Secret-y kind of way. For reals. We really do create our own reality. Take the stock market. There’s no actual value there. It’s just a collective monetization of our perceptions. Not even our perceptions, really, but rather our faith-based prognostications. Once you stop believing in it (or money) it’d vanish. Tomorrow.

    The Knicks are the same way. They’re an engine powered by our collective hope. Want get Dolan to sell? Well, it’d take a massive effort, but how about next game, every fan storms the court and starts dancing. Non-stop. Think a few rent-a-cops could get them back in their seats? No way. We will dance until he sells the team, without ceasing. Granted, I stole this idea from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. There’s a moment where the Native Americans, in order to raise a colossal army of their fallen warriors, begin something called “The Ghost Dance.” They were going to boogie until the dead came back to life. Spoiler alert: they freaked out the US Army, who proceeded to shoot them all.

    Anyway, my point still stands. This thing, this crappy team, in the end is on us. That said, I can’t see a massive uprising actually happening. There are way too many die-hards (including me), God love ‘em. But the death of hope is certainly the first step towards unlocking the door of this gulag.

    Toronto again tomorrow. Oh, possibly no JR…

    …and definitely no Melo. If you’re in New York City, there’ll be a bunch of us lighted fools watching the game together. Please come.

    We may even dance.