Heat 87, Knicks 70
|Steve Novak, SF 22 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -22
This is part of a much longer debate, but I remain confounded as to why there were a grand total of zero plays run to free up Novak tonight, especially considering he was fracking starting. I know of one at least — the curl/screen thingy that worked so well in the Minnesota game. Granted, that’s a D’Antoni set, but you’d hope it hasn’t been wholly banished from the playbook. More on the play calling fiasco later.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 43 MIN | 7-23 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 22 PTS | -25
Things I wish you could place a wager on: The tabloids/fans/blogs will go into a teeth-baring, blood-curdling frenzy worse than a rabid wolverine that’s been cornered and is being repeatedly jabbed at with pointed sticks while they gleefully shred Melo to chum, eviscerating him, his entire New York career and everything he stands for based solely tonight’s performance. You (and I don’t mean you, KB readers. I love each and every one of you individually and as a a collective whole.) But for the rest of youse, you do possess something vaguely resembling a cerebral cortex, Oui? If so, you may not be aware of this, but this cortex-thingy can be used to store and then recall events that happened in the past. Like ten days ago, f’rinstance, when Melo was just the bee’s knees/the greatest thing since pre-sliced bread/a combination of tender, sensitive long-lasting sexual intercourse with a stunningly beautiful, intellectually compatible, funny and caring woman who after said act of love, got up and made you a delicious meal, like a pasta carbonara or something as opposed to grabbing a handful of Wheat Thins or some leftover Domino’s pizza (the bane of Jim Cavan’s existence), and then turned on a Knicks game (A good one from the days of Linsanity yore) that she’d amazingly remembered to DVR for you whilst you both lolled in bed in a sea of post-coital bliss. That’s how good he was a mere fortnight ago, remember? Think about that when you’re ripping him a new one by the e-watercooler.
That said, I’m not in any way excusing Melo’s putrid play tonight. He wasn’t good. Period. His shot was Game One-like. He forced the action, coughed up and/or massaged the ball like it was the fictional female described above and looked positively skeert to drive to the tin whenever LeBron was defending him. But yeah, there’s going to be so much bile spewed over the next two days, were it to be dumped in the Atlantic, It’d raise the sea level enough to obliterate the property values of most of Manhattan’s waterfront real estate. I’ll still read all of it, mind you, because…I dunno. Because I will.
|Tyson Chandler, C 38 MIN | 2-6 FG | 6-10 FT | 15 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -14
Even though I’d probably find myself buried in his abs if I even attempted it, I really want to go hug Tyson and pull a Robin Williams in ‘Good Will Hunting.’
Bob: It’s not your fault.
Anyhoo, Tyson’s final numbers are more or less indistinguishable from any of the yeoman, DPOY-level efforts he put forth throughout the season. It didn’t really do a jot of good when LeBron/Wade started raining death from the perimeter, but this loss just ain’t his fault.
|Baron Davis, PG 27 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -16
On the Twitter, the anti-Baron sentiment was approaching villagers-with-pitchforks-and-burning-torches-approaching-Dracula/Frankenstein’s-castle-level hate. Personally, while I’m as frustrated as the rest of the madding crowd by his unconscionable gaffes, inability to run the point and atrocious defense, I just find it sad. I really can’t imagine what it must be like to be suddenly robbed of gifts that one has possessed since birth, unable to perform a craft that has been the raison d’etre of one’s existence for more or less one’s entire life. Think about it. As you may know, I dabble in things artistic. It’s been a lifelong obsession — a craft that I’m still working on (and hopefully improving upon) on every day. But if I woke up tomorrow and found that something that came as naturally as breathing was suddenly gone? Christ on a cracker, that’s true agony. Like Macduff said, that’s some, “Horrible, horrible. Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee,” ish right there.
|Landry Fields, G 34 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -15
Nine points and four boards. This has gotta be Landry’s best effort in the post season to date, right? So that’s something. I mean he actually went two for two from the line for the first time since the William Howard Taft administration. Bright spots, I’m looking for them.
|Mike Bibby, PG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +3
Maybe it’s just me, but when Bibby went crashing to the floor off of a pick in the 2nd quarter, all I could think of was the old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” late night commercial featuring the world’s hammiest horrid, bent, aged crone. (That said, she’s still a better actor than LeBron. STOP COMPLAINING, you petulant child! If you had your way, the refs would treat you with greater deference than the British Crown received prior to the signing of the Magna Carta. Where was I? Oh yeah…) Bibby performed decently for a player without a pulse. Yay.
|Jared Jeffries, PF 14 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4
Even if his gamey joint made it possible for him to play more than 900 seconds, I wouldn’t advise it at this point. Without Stoudemire, the Knicks just can’t afford to have a player the Heat can wholly disregard on the offensive end.
|J.R. Smith, SG 39 MIN | 5-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -8
A pretty ugly final line, but he did as good a job defending Wade as any Knick has this series (including Shump) and the shots he took were, for the most part, decent looks. Considering the ghastly efforts of the other cagers in white, I really didn’t mind the occasional fadeaway 20-footer. And then of course there’s this. Save for the repeated chants of “Asshole, asshole…” by the MSG faithful directed at LeBron (that asshole), Earl’s ridonkulous dunk was one of the few grin-worthy moments of the evening..
Moral victories. Also something I’m on the lookout for.
|Josh Harrellson, F 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +8
Jorts looked capable during the breif stretch when New York outplayed Miami. Oddly enough, the goofy Harrellson/Jeffries/Smith/Fields/Bibby quintet had NEVER played together as a unit before tonight (and actually extended the lead). I thought/ hoped Son of Wood might go back to them, say at the start of the 4th when Melo’s fumes were running on fumes, but alas, ’twas not to be. More on this later.
Five Things We Saw
- If the Knicks had any hope of making this series competitive, they absolutely, positively, Smurfily HAD to prevail tonight, a game that was ripe for the taking. For the first say 23 minutes, we got to see all the reasons why the wags continue to doubt Miami’s greatness. It was like the Heat were bored or had spent Wednesday night in a series of hoity-toity clubs that I could never gain entrance to, hob-nobbling with the beautiful people and were still sweating off the booze. Granted, the Knicks’ defense was far superior to anything we saw in Florida, but Miami was equally to blame. And If Battier/Miller had been nailing the wide-open threes the Knicks permitted (as had been the case in the first two games), the Knicks would have been down double digits at the half, instead of nursing a slim lead. I’m pretty sure I’ve said something quite similar to this in the past, so pardon me if I plagiarize myself, but when Miami knocked an eleven point lead down to four at the half, I scribbled in my notes one word: TOAST. After so many years of watching this team, you can tell when their opponent is about to go on a soul-killing, berzerker run. It was just a question of when and how. I just KNEW that LeBron would go gonzo when he got back in the game. Not only because he got seven minutes of nap time in the 3rd, but because the officials had the temerity to blow their whistles in his general direction. [Robert clutching his pearls] Oh the humanity! It’s not that dissimilar to the manner in which Michael Jordan (Giant asterisk: I’m not equating the two, just noting a similar tendency) would take a personal slight like a questionable call and use it to fuel his inhuman competitiveness. For reasons that I can’t even begin to explain at this moment, when James does it, it feels petty and peevish as opposed to a glorious exhibition of athletic prowess. I hate them both. In any case, back to my bad vibes. It’s not that psychic or sumthin’, it’s just that I’ve seen this play before and I knew that our Willy Loman of a basketball team wasn’t getting out of the last act alive.
- All in all, this was just a brutal game to watch. The Knicks are a battered team right now in every sense — physically, emotionally, psychically, existentially…everything about them screams, “Please stop. I just want this to end. It’s been a long-ass season and we put up the good fight but we’re done.” I kinda think the Knicks should start Toney Douglas on Sunday. That would just about make the nut, symmetry-wise, and bring this deranged, creakily-built roller coaster back where we started. Either that or they should emulate the brilliant strategery employed Coach Bill Murray in the movie, “Meatballs.” Right before the opening, tip, the North Star ‘Bockers should grab the shorts of the vile, rich, smug kids from Camp MoHeat, and jerk them down to their ankles. While the men in black are cringing it embarrassment and struggling to pull their nut-huggers back up, the North Star ‘Bockers will bolt off the court and onto their waiting Yellow School Bus, where they rejoice in mock triumph and absurdist glee. Why not. It’d be better than another doom-struck, torpid affair like tonight.
- I’ve really dug a great many things Mike Woodson has done since he took over. The players clearly like him and want to perform well for him. (As much as I love the cat, that certainly wasn’t the case with Mike D’Antoni. Without a doubt, by mid-March, it was fairly clear that for whatever reason(s) (Melo-haterz, that’s your cue to sing), he’d lost the team). Plus he’s done an admirable job with the defense (with heaping mounds of credit due to Tyson Chandler, but still). Tonight, I started to seriously reconsider whether he’s the man for the job going forward. We’ll all have plenty of time to dissect the roster and opine on what the master plan might and should be, but for your humble correspondent, a BIG ingredient in a Chip-worthy coach is the ability to adapt and/or change gears. I’ll admit that the weapons/tools at his disposal tonight didn’t allow for the greatest degree of flexibility/adaptability, but for Dog’s sake man, do SOMETHING. Even when they went up, they were relying on Bibby and Fields hitting big outside shots. Does that seem like a trend that was likely to continue? Again, X’s and O’s aren’t my strong suit, but I’m saw the same sets time and time again. That worries me. I can’t say with any confidence that Saint Phil will descend from whatever Sufi monastery he’s built in Montana to save us all, but even if he’s not, I’m more willing to consider other worthy candidates than I was a week ago.
- As we’ve all been duly reminded, since the Knickerbockers found themselves on the losing end of their 13th consecutive game, they’ve set the record for the longest streak of post season futility in the NBA. Not good. To truly understand the length of time we’re talking about, were’s some funning that was said on the Twitter about what the world was like in the year 2001…
Lebron didn’t have to wear a headband to hide his hairline.
Adam Sandler could make people laugh.
Enron stock traded at $62.50 a share
Tupac Hologram was just Tupac
You carried a beeper
Facebook didn’t exist
Tiger Woods had not even been to a Perkins Restaurant.
Kate Upton was 8…you sick pervert
Chris Bosh was still nestled under his mother in her nest waitin to hatch.
Britney Spears was still attractive
Ted Williams head was still attached to his body
Sega Dreamcast was the top video game system
Shawn Kemp only had 2 illegitimate kids
Angelina Jolie was dating Billy Bob Thornton
It was, without a doubt, a simpler time. Sigh.
- And now on to Game Four. I’ll be there. You’ll be there. We’ll all be there. It’s endgame time, true believers and rather than leave you with the utterly maudlin portrait I’ve been painting for the last five hundred or so words, here’s a photo that Renaldo Balkman distributed tonight. At least he seems happy. Party with Sluts, indeed.
Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.