At what point, exactly, does resignation sets in?
I’m not talking about being resigned to losing. We all knew that since February, 6th 2018. And that’s good! We need to lose the highest possible number of games this season. I’m talking about being resigned to watch ugly basketball with no hope for something better in clear sight. Our best overall contributor sees his minutes cut down by foul trouble. Our highest-paid player (not a good player to begin with) is collecting minor injuries as if they were Pokemon and the coach keeps on trotting him on the field as if nothing happened. Our starting point guard shouldn’t be our starting point guard, and what’s amazing is that the last sentence is applicable to whomever is our starting PG on any given night. Our double-double empty calories machine is being sidelined by… cheeseburgers? Our lottery pick is back again putting muffled double-digit scoring efforts that only look like someone is giving him a free taco if he reaches 10 points. Our Brad Lohaus clone isn’t working anymore. Our most promising rookie is out because while he was nursing his ankle injury he picked up a groin injury (this reminds me of an Italian soccer player who injured himself while taking a bath in his own house. Really. He fell down and dislocated his shoulder in the bathtub just a few days after returning from a bad injury). We know nothing about KP’s return and his tailoring choices are definitely tailspinning. The media is head over heels for Fizdale magic, even if it’s pretty clear it doesn’t exist (seriously, Doris Burke is probably one of the best color commentators in the business and even she was fawning over Mudiay’s improvement, while calling Fizdale “David” over and over again. I get it, dude is charismatic, but how much effort does it take to recognize that whatever he’s doing it’s not working? And I’m not talking about incompetence. I’m talking about not changing a damn thing in his players, unless you believe that Fizdale magic is what is helping Mudiay hit long twos at a Nowitzki-esque pace while being a .350 career shooter from there, even accounting for this season).
All of this is to say that, wow, since I need something to keep my juices flowing, I took a dive into the dark side and I learned to root for Mario. And for Lance. I guess this is a point of no return as definitive as they come (until one between Mitch and KP comes back, at least – or maybe Anthony Bennett!).
I dare of you, find me a Knick worth rooting for. I. Just. Can’t. And that’s why now I root for the bad guys. The ones that have no reason at all to be on the court. The ones that should be out of the League.
I have become one the guys Heath Ledger’s Joker was talking about. I want the Knicks’ nuclear winter.
I just want to watch the world burn.
And pick first at the 2019 lottery, of course.
The “if you squint your eyes this picture of Albert Einstein looks like Marylin Monroe – no, really, squint harder”:
– Oh hey, guess who also got injured tonight (contused left calf)? Our forgotten aficionado of the good column, Damyean Dotson (15 pts, 6 rebs, 4 ast, -4 +/-). I maintain that there’s no reason, like, at all not to play Dotson in the starting five. You can’t have three ball dominant guys at your 1-2-3 spots and expect something to develop organically in a string of possessions. It’s always gonna be “my turn, your turn” basketball at its worst. And the best case scenario for that type of offensive setting is Scott Brooks’s Russ/KD Thunder iterations. Which were good because of the transcendent talent in spite of not having anything (even very basic sets) to run for the other guys. You need a Dotson-like player plugged into your starting backcourt, at least to have someone moving without the ball with a semblance of purpose here and there. Since we’re experimenting with lineup, and we have no reason nor intention to start Kanter again (god bless), and Kornet is blah, why not try a Mudiay-THJ-Dotson-Knox-Vonleh? I mean, I wouldn’t play neither Mudiay nor THJ, but let’s not be disingenuous, Fiz will play them come hell or high water (My preferred lineup would be Mudiay-Dot-Knox-Vonleh-Kornet, and only because we don’t have a 10-day contract PG on our roster). At least Dotson gives you a release valve. 15 points on 7 shots, a few boards, even 4 assists, what more can you ask of your resident Mikal Bridges?
The “stop trying to convince yourself that The Upside is gonna be a good movie”:
– I hate the fact that Emmanuel Mudiay (21 pts, 2 rebs, 3 ast, -18 +/-) got over 20 points tonight. His game was absolutely dreadful, and his first half was the perfect representation of that. A scoreless first half, marred with ugly turnovers and general horrendous play. I found myself wishing that his stat line at the end of game would remain god-awful, not because I carry any ill will against Mud (I don’t, I hope the best for him and for everyone, really. I only despise jerks and criminals, which is ironic given the scattered past of Dotson, but, well, until proven guilty… keep quiet, conscience of mine) but because this was a nationally televised game. If Mudiay sucked ass in this one (check), we lost by a long mile (check) and his stat line looked terrible (dang) maybe the media would have curbed their enthusiasm, right? But no, this terrible player continued his terrible play and in the mean time he tallied 21 points. In itself, 21 points mean absolutely nothing. Do you remember Flip Murray? He was a not-so-good shooting guard that in the early aughts started putting up 20 point games like it was nothing in Ray Allen’s absence. Nobody flinched even one bit, and he never got to weigh on any cap situation. Well, guess what. We’re not Seattle. We’re New York, where free agent dreams go to die and bad press prospers. Mudiay scoring 21 points on national TV, while playing a horrible game, only spells doom for us. I hope I’m wrong. By the way: 3 assist to 4 turnovers (a couple of them were veeeeery bad) is what point guards are made of, right?
Why so serious-fun-sized bits:
– Noah Vonleh should really learn to restrain himself a bit on the fouling end. He might end up costing himself a few bucks that way. Ask Ed Davis.
– If I told you the sentence “Lance Thomas played center for us”, would you believe he was probably our best center tonight? Plus/minus does, as he posted a team-best +9. Fun fact: Lance Thomas pulled down 7+ boards just 20 times in his career with tonight (one out of every 18 games he played). Of those, 13 were for us. If anything, Lance should gift Phil a huge peyote.
– Can we please sit down Timmy? What good is it for anyone if he plays through multiple injuries? We have an abundance of sucking, it’s not like we need him for the tank.
– On the good side of the nationally televised game spectrum, this game might make a Trey Burke trade more likely.
– From the moment Trier signed that damn contract, his basketball skills have reduced significantly. I don’t know for how many games we can pretend it’s on the nagging injury. Damn, I liked him.
– If I had to narrate the 2013-2019 Knicks to my grandchildren one day and I had to use only one play, I think a wide-open Thaddeus Young corner three is what I’d choose.
And that’s all. This recap is a bit subdued, but such is a Knicks fan life. I guess. See you against the Sixers on Sunday for the Jimmy Butler audition (given how obnoxious he is, isn’t he our best bet in the free agent market?).