Knicks 95, Cavs 90 (Full Version)

It seems beside the point to pick the Knicks apart after the game that just happened.  The offense had some sloppy stretches and the shot selection wasn’t great — though the shot-making mostly was — and consistent rim protection remains an issue (to which we say: more Aldrich).  We’re not dwelling on that stuff.  We’ve got 80 more games to overanalyze and I’m sure we will.  That’s not what this is about.

There is a duality to the nature of each regular season NBA game that can be very easy to overlook during the January “@MIL’s” and March “vs.ORL’s” whose like gives an NBA schedule its critical mass.  One game is a component of a six-month whole, a chapter in a broader narrative, a tally in a column whose final sum determines whether you go onward to glory or just back home.  We never forget this.  But the other piece of the story is the one that makes so many of the very best nights, like this one, worth our while.

Because even as one game is a piece of a puzzle, it’s also a completed puzzle unto itself.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers drew the absolute maximum amount of attention to this latter element of their season opener’s nature.  Downtown Cleveland was a block party and celebrities were on hand and commercials were filmed and inspiring team videos were compiled.  This is all absolutely within the rights of the city and the franchise and the man.  Notwithstanding the parallels between this team’s pre-emptive self-congratulation and the selfsame city’s vilification of James for similar (though gaudier, less sentimental) behavior upon his arrival in South Beach, the approach can be understood, expected, condoned.

But there was, of course, another team in Cleveland tonight, a team that has undertaken a difficult transition and that got absolutely shellacked on the occasion of its own home opener.  Put simply: the Knicks were an easy target.  And LeBron’s Thursday morning claim that this was “one of the biggest sporting events…ever” juxtaposed against the ‘Bockers’ general existential disarray gave the impression — intentionally haughty or not — that tonight’s contest was to be more coronation than competition.

Well, whatever great many things may be said about the 2014-15 New York Knicks, let this one thing be added to them: they were not here to be extras in the climactic scene of LeBron James’ Grand Redemption.

LeBron and the Cavs will have many, many great nights this season.  They will win games that stand on their own as singular paragons of beautiful, lethal offense.  They will rock the Q and energize their city.  They will comprise new and glorious chapters of James’ already remarkable story.  And, collectively, these nights will almost surely carry the Cavaliers into a postseason that could see them ease the expectant, six-decade-long angst of a city’s sports faithful.  And it could be truly beautiful.

The Knicks, just as surely, will not do these things.  They’ll win some games and occasionally impress and there will be nights — hopefully many — like tonight that are a lot of fun.  But their ceiling is fundamentally lower, their ambitions more humble, their potential more limited.  And so it would be easy to look at a night like tonight through cynical eyes and say “well, that was fun, but it’s the second night of the season and there are long months ahead and the Cavs will have the last laugh.”

But that’s only part of the story.  When the Knicks got bucket after bucket every time the Cavs closed within striking distance, when Carmelo Anthony buried a dagger in LeBron’s mug, when the entire crunch-time unit swarmed and scurried and smothered their way to that breathtaking, ultimately backbreaking final defensive possession, the Knicks did more than stretch their record to 1-1.  They prevailed in a clash that mattered on its own merits, that the Cavs and their uberstar had built up to something in between the Miracle on Ice and the Toon Squad’s clash with the Monstars, only way more redundantly sponsored.  They emerged victorious on a night that, no matter how many titles LeBron and his Cavs may win, the Cleveland faithful will never be able to say was the coronation that they had fancied it to be.

The Cavs wake up the Cavs tomorrow.  The Knicks wake up the Knicks.  But on one night of eighty-two, a rebuilding team reminded us that though they might not pile up enough victories to take us where we want to go, they will give us moments of genuine joy and inspiration on an otherwise weary road.  And those moments are to be cherished because, in the final analysis, they’re the reason we stick around.

The 2014-15 Knicks can only be who they are, can only rise to the occasions that fate lays before them.  Tonight, the occasion was LeBron James’ homecoming.

Well, welcome home.

2014-5 Game Thread: Knicks @ Cavaliers

Tonight marks one of the most dramatic returns in NBA history as Brandon Haywood returns to the NBA after taking the 2013-14 season off.

The Knicks are going to matching up against Haywood and his Cavaliers tonight with a new starting lineup. Jose “He’s 75% ready to go, which is 100% in the NBA” Calderon misses another game so Shane Larkin remains as the starting point guard but Quincy Acy takes Amar’e Stoudemire’s place as the Knicks’ starting power forward. STAT will be the center for the second unit. Let’s hope that that somehow works.

There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in Haywood’s return, as well as the free agent signings of former Rookie of the Year Mike Miller and former All Star (and former NBA World Champion) Shawn Marion, so this seems like it will be a tough task for the Knicks, espcially since they’re playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road against a very good team. But there’s at least a chance that the new Cavaliers team needs a little bit of an adjustment period. Maybe the Knicks have a shot? It’d be nice if Carmelo Anthony got more looks on offense.

Let’s go Knicks!

Knicks Morning News (2014.10.30)

  • [New York Daily News] Tri-MANGLE Offense! Knicks can’t score on opening night, suffer 24-point blowout loss to Bulls (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:51:16 GMT)

    There are three sides to every story, and to every triangle, but only one of them usually represents the truth. The Knicks certainly weren’t telling false tales when they maintained throughout training camp that their newly installed offensive system ? via team president Phil Jackson and first-year coach Derek Fisher ? continues to be nowhere close to peak, or even acceptable, efficiency.

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: Swift defeat for Carmelo Anthony & Co., who seem out of tune in Knicks opening loss (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:17:01 GMT)

    A couple of the half dozen acts James Dolan hired for opening night were straight out of the ’90s while Phil Jackson’s breathlessly overhyped triangle offense was lucky to break 70. So here’s your first guarantee of this current decade: the Knicks are going to have a huge problem this season if they keep featuring Taylor Swift more prominently than Carmelo Anthony.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: For Amar’e Stoudemire, a surprising nod (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:51:27 GMT)

    One announcement was made early and one came at the last minute, but the Knicks’ opening-night lineup was a case of “surprise, surprise.”

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks’ Shane Larkin wishes he could forget first career start (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:42:57 GMT)

    It wasn’t the best of circumstances to make his NBA starting debut, but Shane Larkin swears it wasn’t a big deal. Barely two hours before the start of the Knicks-Bulls game, Larkin received a startling bit of news.

  • [New York Daily News] Bulls’ Derrick Rose makes healthy NBA return from ACL tear in win over Knicks at Garden (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:52:05 GMT)

    The returning Derrick Rose had plenty of time to take in the atmosphere at the Garden Wednesday night as he sat on the bench for the entire fourth quarter of Chicago’s 104-80 blowout win over the Knicks, and to him, the silence throughout the building spoke volumes.

  • [New York Daily News] Pau Phil-ling bro Marc Gasol in on Jackson’s plan (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:02:54 GMT)

    Anyone trying to guess the free-agent plans of Memphis center Marc Gasol would be wise to listen to the words of his big brother Pau Gasol.

  • [New York Daily News] Could-have-been Bulls mates not shocked Anthony picked Knicks (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:00:11 GMT)

    Most NBA followers thought it was a foregone conclusion that Carmelo Anthony would re-sign with the Knicks and all that money while he was hobnobbing with different clubs this summer in his free agency tour.

  • [New York Newsday] Amar'e Stoudemire makes surprise start for Knicks (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:09:56 EDT)

    In a bit of a surprise, Amar'e Stoudemire — and not Carmelo Anthony — addressed the crowd at the Garden before the Knicks' season opener last night.

  • [New York Newsday] Shane Larkin replaces injured Jose Calderon in Knicks' lineup (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:35:06 EDT)

    Jose Calderon's Knicks' debut was put on hold after he felt "discomfort" in his calf during his pregame workout.

  • [New York Times] LeBron’s Starts New Journey With Cavaliers (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:18:54 GMT)

    For LeBron James, the journey begins anew.

  • [New York Times] Sports of The Times: Phil Jackson Embodies an Infusion of Optimism for the Knicks (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:29:01 GMT)

    Despite an opening loss to the Bulls, the Knicks are excited about the new season. But the team may have to succeed before Phil Jackson’s changes win over the fans.

  • [New York Times] Blazers Beat Thunder 106-89 With Big 4th Quarter (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:21:58 GMT)

    LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the injury-depleted Oklahoma City Thunder 106-89 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

  • [New York Times] Warriors Whip Kings 95-77 in Season Opener (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:58:03 GMT)

    Stephen Curry had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 19 points and the undermanned Golden State Warriors made Steve Kerr a winner in his coaching debut, rolling past the Sacramento Kings 95-77 on Wednesday night.

  • [New York Times] Suns Rout Lakers 119-99 Despite Kobe’s 31 Points (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:42:55 GMT)

    Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points in his Phoenix debut, Marcus Morris matched his career high with five 3-pointers and the Suns dominated their season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers 119-99 on Wednesday night despite Kobe Bryant’s 31 points.

  • [New York Times] Nuggets Open With 89-79 Win Over Pistons (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:13:04 GMT)

    Kenneth Faried scored 22 points and had 17 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets opened the season Wednesday night with an 89-79 win over Detroit, spoiling the debut of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Hornets Prevail in Overtime; Hibbert Leads Pacers to Win (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:09:20 GMT)

    Kemba Walker made a 21-foot shot with five seconds left in overtime to lift Charlotte over Milwaukee, providing a winning conclusion for fans celebrating the return of the Hornets’ name after a 12-year absence.

  • [New York Times] Celtics 121, Nets 105: Nets Are Dismantled by the Celtics, Another Work in Progress (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:04:59 GMT)

    Following the lead of point guard Rajon Rondo, Boston dominated the Nets in their season opener, a night full of mishaps and misadventures.

  • [New York Times] Nuggets Open With 89-79 Win Over Pistons (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:00:56 GMT)

    Kenneth Faried scored 22 points and had 17 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets opened the season Wednesday night with an 89-79 win over Detroit, spoiling the debut of Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.

  • [New York Times] Gasol, Bulls Blow Out Knicks in Rose’s Return (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:55:02 GMT)

    Derrick Rose spent way too much time sitting and watching the last two seasons.

  • [New York Times] Rockets Spoil Snyder’s NBA Coaching Debut (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:48:49 GMT)

    Dwight Howard had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 104-93 on Wednesday night to spoil Quin Snyder’s NBA coaching debut.

  • [New York Times] Bulls 104, Knicks 80: Knicks Juggle Starting Lineup, Then Drop Opener (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:38:04 GMT)

    The Bulls stormed past the Knicks, 104-80, to spoil Derek Fisher’s coaching debut and snuff some of his team’s early optimism.

  • [New York Times] Rondo Returns, Helps Celtics Beat Nets 121-105 (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:30:59 GMT)

    Brad Stevens knew he had an all-star point guard when he took the Celtics’ coaching job, but he didn’t really get to see it in his first season on the Boston bench.

  • [New York Times] Walker Lifts Hornets Over Bucks in OT, 108-106 (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:28:06 GMT)

    Kemba Walker didn’t waste any time at all providing the Charlotte Hornets with a return on their investment.

  • [New York Times] Heat Open New Era, Top Wizards 107-95 in Opener (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:18:49 GMT)

    No LeBron James, no problem.

  • [New York Times] Gasol Powers Memphis Past Minnesota 105-101 (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:03:55 GMT)

    Marc Gasol scored a career-high 32 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-101 on Wednesday night for the franchise’s first victory in a season opener since 2000.

  • [New York Times] DeRozan Scores 15 Points, Raptors Heat Hawks (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:21:59 GMT)

    DeMar DeRozan had 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, Kyle Lowry added 11 points and 10 assists, and the Toronto Raptors opened their defense of the Atlantic Division title with an 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

  • [New York Times] On Basketball: Free of Expectations, the Miami Heat See Path to Success (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:05:27 GMT)

    The Heat’s first season in the post-LeBron James era probably won’t be a championship run, but the act of overachievement in the face of utter dismissal can be recalled as fondly as winning it all.

  • [New York Times] Hibbert Helps Pacers Pull Away From 76ers 103-91 (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:03:57 GMT)

    Roy Hibbert had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, leading the short-handed Indiana Pacers to a 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

  • [New York Times] National Basketball Association Roundup (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:18:48 GMT)

    LeBron James and team owner Dan Gilbert, both commenting on the eve of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season opener, are on the same page about their relationship with the same common goal in mind.

  • [New York Times] Hornets Welcome Fans With Tuxedo-Themed Shirts (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:06:55 GMT)

    Charlotte Hornets fans discovered black tuxedo-themed t-shirts on their seats when they entered the team’s downtown arena for the season opener Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

  • [New York Post] J.R. Smith: Knicks ‘stopped competing’ late in game (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:03:08 -0400)

    J.R. Smith spoke in a whisper, but his words were loud in their significance, biting criticism of his Knicks teammates in their no-show of a home opener. He basically said…

  • [New York Post] Starting Stoudemire sign of indecisiveness by rookie coach (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:53:22 -0400)

    For a while Derek Fisher looked like a genius, a modern-day Zen Master. His late insertion of Amar'e Stoudemire into the starting lineup for Wednesday night's season opener against the…

  • [New York Post] Knicks flip flop, decide not to play still-sore Calderon (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:21:04 -0400)

    Jose Calderon was playing, then he wasn't. At 6:30 p.m., rookie coach Derek Fisher told the assembled media his starting point guard was good to go. A half hour later,…

  • [New York Post] Pau Gasol: ‘Possible’ brother Marc could land with Knicks (Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:09:58 -0400)

    Pau Gasol passed on the Knicks, but that doesn't mean his younger brother Marc will. Next summer, Grizzles center Marc Gasol, a versatile and supremely talented 7-foot center, will be…

  • Bulls 104, Knicks 80

    Chicago Bulls 104 Final
    Recap | Box Score
    80 New York Knicks
    Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -6

    Big freaking deal. A couple of dunks in the first stanza. I guess he’s “back.” Wife, go draw me a bath of the finest Manischewitz. I wish to re-vivify these aged bones. ‘Tis a miracle cure!

    Carmelo Anthony, SF 29 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -9

    124 Million for THAT? Rattling in a few wide-open midrange jumpers, then pouting and routinely getting lost going through screens. Great. Money well spent. Ready to imagine what Melo’s gonna look like when he’s 35 and referred to more often than not as, “Carmelo Anthony’s Massive Expiring Contract?” Well lucky us, we don’t have to wait!!

    Samuel Dalembert, C 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -3

    Watching him go up for a mid-range jumper is like a time capsule composed of the planes that the Wright Brothers crashed into a pile of tinder and cheap winches. Didja watch Tyson Chandler against those blasted, always-perfect, now-and-forevermore Spurs? Looked pretty good. Pretty, pretty good, amirite? Great trade, Big Chief Triangle. A busted-ass point that makes a lycanthrope look well-groomed, lame draft picks and partially-animated pair of stilts!!!!

    Iman Shumpert, SG 20 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +8

    Oh yeah. Definitely pick up his option. Better lock down the dude that got a meaningless steal off Tony Snell in garbage time. A shooting guard that can’t create off the dribble is absolutely vital to…

    I can’t do it. I’ve been trying to work up my usual level of rage-feels after a brutal loss and it’s just not there. Not sure if Big Pharma has invented anger Viagra, but I’ve spent the last hour searching for it. Because, yes, it’s easier to write a recap when there’s a powerful emotion coursing through your veins—happy, sad, or whatever—just as long as you can channel it and pound the keyboard till you’ve worked all the evil humours and bad juju out of your system. There are a lot of Northern Irish poets and playwrights for a reason, is what I’m saying.

    But as you can probably tell by the first couple of capsules here, you can’t fake it. Yeah, each and every frustrated ‘Bocker does deserve a big fat, unctuous F, but my honest reaction and general state of mind/soul during tonight’s utter smackdown at the hands of one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference (The other one’s tomorrow!) wasn’t bile-soaked venom. I don’t know about y’all, but I was oddly and disturbingly calm. Okay with it, even.

    Don’t get me wrong, for the first eight or so minutes of the first quarter, when the offense was rolling, STAT was flying through the air or draining sweet, sweet jumpers like it was the halcyon days of 2010 all over again, the defense was doing a fine job of ICE’ing pick and rolls, and creating turnovers, I started giddily fist-pumping and screaming at the screen. Hell, I think I might’ve suffered a minor stroke when they ran off a couple of competent fast breaks for the first time since they were going full D’Antoni.

    And yes, prior to tipoff, I started reflexively cursing Woodson’s name like an old, Fellini-esque Italian crone spitting at Mussolini’s corpse even if it hasn’t been dangling naked in the town square for decades.

    In case you were watching a glorious game seven of the Series tonight, here was the starting lineup, because the Fisher King hath pondered this-day, and changed his noble mind.

    Then of course, this:


    Jason Smith, at 7-0, 240 isn’t a ‘big’ man? Oooookaaaayyyy. But again, after a brief flush of my good ol’ pal, hate, I realized that there were certain merits to this starting unit, namely that it keeps STAT away from Timmy and JR.

    For a while there, it was all working like a glittery, shiny charm. Amar’e started off scorching hot, scoring 8 of the first 16 Knickerbocker points, going a perfect four or four from the floor, and pushing Gotham to a 16-11 advantage Windy City with 2:59 left in the first, and looking utterly competent in a defense that was holding an oh-so conservative Windy City offense to 30% from the field.

    The problems—and there were many—started with the arrival of Taj Gibson, who just shredded each and every forward he faced.

    FARTFISH, yes indeed-y. The subs looked slow and hesitant, and from what we’ve learned about the triangle thus far, it’s that for an offense that thrives with smart, cerebral players, thinking absolutely positively = death. Also, It’s a small sample size to be sure, but the Prigs-Timmy-JR-Other Smith-Acy quintet is just terrible, in particular in the post and on the glass where Acy/Smith just got walloped. They were outscored by 10-2 in the final 2:13 of the first, and then 6-2 to start the second, to make for a…checks math…16-4 run. When you’re slower, shorter, not nearly as strong, and don’t gobble up rebunds, welp, that’s gonna happen.

    Granted, Fish-head is still working out his rotations (clearly), but we’ve seen more than enough examples of this not working at all, even in ragged preseason minutes, to know that a deep team (like Chicago) is going to grab it by the neck, bat it around a few times and shake it till it’s dead, like a bemused housecat toying with a vermin.

    Make no mistake, this is a better team than the Bullish squad that won 60 in 2011. You think so too, Grantland’s Zach Lowe?

    I mean, Aaron Brooks was scooting around the vast swathes of available court space like he was… the last sub six-foot, shoot-first floor general that Thibs resuscitated. I can only assume that he screams like a Wall St. floor trader because his hacked up, Waits-ian phlegm is actually some kind of magic elixir.

    As has oft been the case—and I’m really not in a place to say which side of the floor is the chicken and which is the egg—when things go totally to pot on one end, you can feel the creeping frustration. J.R., in particular, still looks like he has no idea what any of this triple-post ish is. He’s just a colossal liability at this point, even if he did nail a few step back jumpers when the shot clock was dwindling down.

    The starters, however, did begin to hack away at the deficit and it was a mere ten at intermission. Plus/minus is far from a perfect metric, but peep this.

    first half

    The second half was just pure blech. Shump started getting overly aggressive (again) and lost Rose either on dribble-handoffs or sneaking backdoor. Speaking of our fave flattop-ed Knick, he found the ball in his hands quite a few times at the end of possessions and just had no idea what to do. He tried that curl into a pull-up shot thingy that had served him well before the real games started and it just wasn’t there at all, so he started careening into the lane before launching a terrible fadeaway that didn’t even catch iron.

    He wasn’t alone. With each turn of the vise by the Bulls, or denial of an entry pass to Anthony (yeah, they remain real good at that) we saw the team abandon any notion of a triangle set, degenerating into weird, clunky pick and rolls at the top of the key or straight ISO’s and many, many awful long twos, just hoping that someone, anyone could score. They went a solid five plus minutes without a hoop, ending it on a fastbreak that Acy couldn’t even muster the gumption to cookie-smash. Given the way things were going, he was probably wise to lay it in. A bricked dunk would have been too perfect a summation of the entire shitty third quarter.

    On D, various bodies got clumped in the paint, and just didn’t have the speed to recover to guard Kirk #$%ing Hinrich. I’m sure Dunleavy decided to brick an open shot or two out of some twisty sense of pity, figuring he’d done enough Knick-killing to last until young Michael the Third arrives to cast a pale shadow on this team

    Some nice things.

    At the half, here was this:

    And then new New Yorker Taylor Swift palled around with Stoudemire and sang a jaunty tune. Of course, she’s in the midst of that wide-eyed, “I LOVE NEW YORK. I WILL PURCHASE HOKEY T-SHIRTS THAT SAY SO IN CHINATOWN AND JUST WANDER AROUND THE CITY, PEOPLE-WATCHING. LOOK AT THIS GLORIOUS MELTING POT, SO FULL OF, LIKE, BUSTLE AND ENERGY AND LIFE. I’M ALLLLIVVVVVVVVVVE” phase. It’ll pass .This is the true test.

    We got to see Pablo Prigioni drive the lane more than he has in two seasons combined, and, even if you or I didn’t, he got real mad.

    Dalembert looooves him those backdoor passes. He’s pretty good at it too, but once the rest of La Liga catches on, I think they’ll sag off and let him launch one of those aforementioned rickety jumpers.

    I also liked that Fisher switched up the subs, bringing Cole in as a backup. I know, I know, I’m like the Shining Path talking about Mao when it comes to Aldrich, but he did Cole things, snaggling rebounds and doing a better job than any other big of slowing down Gasol, even as the defecit swelled to about 4.56I.

    And that’s it. Again, this is a process. I’m sure I’ll be barking hot fire in a day or two, don’t fret. But learning to like the little things, realize that it is about the journey and not the destination, is going to take time. Embedding all the moves and counter-moves, so you can execute a thinking offense without thinking takes time. Learning habits of the bro next to you, till they’re second nature, actually trusting that his understanding is equal to your own… the whole kit and caboodle is going to take time, and patience. We all knew this, and perhaps being okay with failure or expecting it, and accepting it and struggle as a necessary part of growth is what has made all the difference.


    I was talking with my Dad after the game. He, oddly enough, was pissed, and I was all about that Zen life. You know how after you’ve had a million conversations with someone—a parent, a wife/husband, a child—and you know, even if it’s just a voice coming through the receiver, that they’re smiling?

    Well, he was telling me (reminding me) that he’d watched the great Knicks teams of Clyde and DeBussch, but he’d given it up after all the old gang retired, crumbled right before his eyes or slowly faded into non-relevance. It’s only when I started getting seriously into hoops that he started caring again, because the losses bugged me so much when I was a young’n. (And yes, by “young’n” I clearly mean until right this very moment.)

    I told him not to be weirded out by my lack of seething fury, that if nothing else, I’d start venting my spleen at the Knicks again for sure when I had a son of my own, and I’d crank up the whole silly carousel and watch it turn ‘round and ’round again.

    There was a pause on the other end of the line. That’s when I knew he was smiling.

    But if I’m still cool by this time tomorrow night, I’m drinking a bottle of vinegar and chasing it with human urine. That’ll bring back the fire!

    To Cleveland!

    2015 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Bulls [POLL]

    How many wins will the Knicks have in 2015?

    • 35-39 (33%, 44 Votes)
    • 40-44 (28%, 38 Votes)
    • 30-34 (24%, 32 Votes)
    • Less than 30 (8%, 11 Votes)
    • More than 45 (7%, 9 Votes)

    Total Voters: 134

    Loading ... Loading ...

    ESPN Forecast: 37 wins

    @NYKnicksPodcast: Come on, losing Felton and Woodson should result in at least a 5-game improvement.

    @m_shantz: I’m really excited to re-watch the 2012-2013 Toronto #Raptors (34-48), Calderon, Bargnani, Acy, and Melo as Rudy Gay.

    BleacherReport: 35 wins

    With Derek Fisher learning how to coach just months removed from playing in the postseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a roster that isn’t too much more talented than last year’s, the postseason is a pipe dream. Plus, learning the triangle offense will be a process for the established incumbents.

    FiveThirtyEight: 31

    It remains to be seen if Fisher’s version of the offense can buck this trend and promote the kind of passing to which triangle coaches always seem to pay lip service. But he’ll have his work cut out for him with these Knicks. The 2013-14 version of the team finished 27th out of 30 teams in assist rate, with frequent complaints about the lack of ball movement hurled in Woodson’s direction by the New York press. These were not your Red Holzman-era Knicks.

    2015 Season Preview: Optimist vs. Pessimist

    Pessimist: Hey buddy, it’s my favorite time of year!

    Optimist: Yeah.

    Pessimist: Oooohhh boy!!! We’re on the cusp of a new Knicks season, or as I call it Pessimist Christmas.

    Optimist: I know.

    Pessimist: We’ll I’m ready for you, Optimouth Prime. And I’m going to convince you that this team is going to Suuuuuuck ITTTTT this year.

    Optimist: I bet.

    Pessimist: I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Pessimist this team is going to be awesome. Blah Blah Blah per minute stats. Blah Blah Blah defensive efficiency.” Well I researched and I am ready for you this year.

    Optimist: Uh-huh.

    Pessimist: So your first argument is going to be “Phil Jackson is transforming the team. He’s set a pick right in front of Jimmy Dolan, and that 5-foot-zilch pipsqueak can’t mess things up anymore.” Amirite?

    Optimist: Nope.

    Pessimist: Oh. Well it wouldn’t have worked on me anyway. Dolan has been sticking his guitar calloused fingers into the Knicks business since day 1 (remember when Jeff Van Gundy bolted?). He’s made a mockery of the front office hierarchy. This is the guy that out muscled Donnie Walsh. Remember Walsh was a native New Yorker, the architect of the hard-working and crafty Pacers teams that gave the city fits for a few summers. How did that end? Donnie was forced to sign off on the Carmelo Anthony trade (with that juice heaping of extra pork) that was all but penned by our lead vocalist. And for his capitulation Donnie was demoted and eventually shot out of MSG’s circus cannon.

    Optimist: Well I wasn’t going to bring that up.

    Pessimist: Ahhhhh I’m onto you. So you’re going to talk about Derek Fisher: new coach extraordinaire? Well buddy, let me tell ya, he ain’t all that. Need I remind you that he was the Knicks’ second choice. Remember when LeBron was our first choice? Well our Plan B was to throw endless amounts of cap space at Amar’e Stoudemire. How’s that working out?

    The Knicks front office, in chess form.
    Black to move, and find Plan B.

    You know why the Knicks have sucked so bad over the last few years? Because they’re like a chess player thinking only about his next move. And when someone forks your king and queen, you wonder why you didn’t think of that before you moved her to that cursed square. The truth is there is no real Plan B with these guys. They think the LeBron Jameses of the league are just going to show up at their doorstep. And after they’ve spent the rent money at the track on that old limping mare, there’s just no Plan B that is going to make that situation work.

    Anyway, Fisher has been talking tough about defense. Have you watched the preseason? He’s made a mockery of the word. Sure play STAT at center, but keep Aldrich glued to the bench — that’s a defensive coach? Fisher doesn’t actually care about defense, he just has to say he does. Change “defense” with the word “veterans” and he’s ready to run for Congress.

    Admit it, that was your next rainbow?

    Optimist: Nope.

    Pessimist: I got it! Jose Calderon and Sam Dalembert. Yup there’s the difference in 2015! You’re going to convince me that Dalembert is Tyson Chandler’s equal, and the Knicks get a huge upgrade over Felton. Well there’s a reason that Dalembert is on his 6th team in 6 seasons while Chandler brought home a DPOY. Meanwhile Calderon is a better offensive player, but on defense he’s going to give it all back and then some.

    Optimist: I wasn’t going to mention that.

    Pessimist: Ah-ha so you’re keying in on our youngsters. Let’s see Iman Shumpert, is finally going to break out? Yup right after Mike Sweetney. Iman’s career TS% is 48.9%, which to put into perspective, is right above Larry Hughes’ Knicks’ mark.

    The fans were all over Dolan for wanting to trade Shumpert, but honestly it might be the one time he’s right. Maybe we should get something for Iman now before he Landry Fields (v. to go from high ceiling in New York, to anonymity in Canada).

    And as for Tim Hardaway, he’s got a nice shot right off the bat. If that sticks around he’ll be a good 6th man for as long as he can stroke it. However that’s probably his ceiling given his defensive ability. After a season of Hardaway and Calderon sending happy drivers to the paint, Dalembert will be looking to extend his streak to 7 teams.

    Optimist: Wasn’t thinking of them.

    Pessimist: Uhhh… Uhhhh… It’s the triangle offense right? ‘Melo’s gonna share the ball…

    Optimist: Nope.

    Pessimist: Cole Aldrich! He’s going to save…

    Optimist: Nope.

    Pessimist: Amar’e Stoudemire revival! J.R. Smith matures! Bargnani learns to rebound!

    Optimist: Nope.


    Optimist: We finally have our own first round draft pick, and our team is going to suck this year!

    Pessimist: Meh. We’ll find a way to fuck that up, too.