“It’s like raaaaaaaiiin on a wedding day
It’s a freeeee riiiide that you just didn’t pay
It’s Dolan’s Raaaaazor with no beard to shave
It’s a 20 point win when no one cares”
Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Stomach ailments, also. I was thinking about this while watching this awful bore of a blowout trying to keep my breakfast into my bowels (yup, food poisoning – there you go, ptmilo – isn’t this easy to shake off, especially while working a lot and often eating when and where you get the chance). It’s 2020. It means we’re 12 years past the last legitimately good draft pick made by the Knicks, which is Danilo Gallinari. Of course Gallo didn’t really pan out in NY (even if he was starting to blossom before the Melodrama, but that’s an old story, ain’t it?), but it’s hard to argue that from the list of Knicks draftees since 2008 he’s not the mostly accomplished, and by a wide margin.
In 2008 I was a wide eyed, stupid NBA fan with no real team affiliation (I liked the SSOL Suns, mostly because I had a soft spot for the Suns since the Sir Charles days, and followed closely the Raptors because of Bargnani, go figure) and no idea about advanced stats, efficiency and the whole “don’t just look at the box score” thing. To be fair, advanced stats did exist but weren’t all that available; NBA League Pass didn’t exist so in Europe you had to rely to a few select games being shown on pay-per-view channels and NBA.com recaps; player reputations count more than actual player contributions; Bill Simmons was thought of as a good basketball mind.
Why am I telling you this? Well it’s easy: at that time, if a team I was rooting for would have won a game by twenty, any game, I would have been ecstatic and if would have made half of my day (the other half would revolve around the chance that the sexy receptionist or shop clerk du jour would accept my invitation to go drink a glass of wine together – both things didn’t happen very often). As they say, ignorance is bliss, and so is youth. Somehow you’re 24, think you have all your life in front of you and so what’s the matter in trying to correctly weigh basketball results and processes alike? Now, it’s not like being 36 is the end of the world, and neither is being 71 like my mom or 74 like Clyde – wish I could get to 74 in Clyde’s shape – but life bashes on you and at the very least it teaches you the real value of time. Well guess what: a win like this one – for fuck’s sake, a season like this one – is just a complete waste of time.
The game went like this: the two teams kept close to each other for the entire first half, which ended 50-49 for Cleveland just right after Larry Nance Jr. hit a corner three with 00.2 to play in the second quarter (now that’s a definite 2020-like sentence). Then in the third Cleveland decided to suck even more that it already was doing and the Knicks instead followed on their normal brand of suckitude, which opened the gap to 15 at the end of the quarter (79-65 – yeah, the Cavs scored just 14 points on us in that period). From there on, it was just a lazy walk towards an almost meaningless win while playing all the wrong guys – but here’s the catch: pretty much everyone is the wrong guy on this roster! But more on that in a few seconds: let’s focus about the almost that was in the previous sentence. When I say “almost” meaningless is because there’s a chance this win will come and bite us back in the ass in perfect Knicks fashion: with our win the Cavs tied us for the third-worst record in the League. Losing is terrible, but winning is even worse when done against the wrong teams.
As for the Knicks performances:
– The good news is that no Knick played more than 29:59 minutes (Reggie “the fake French pronounciation” Bullock). The bad news is that the young guys played just 83 of the 240 available minutes. Some might correctly point out that the main young minute-soaker was out to an ankle injury, and he wouldn’t be wrong, but: what’s the point in playing Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson 20 minutes each and leave Trier and Iggy, suck as they may, glued to the bench in a game that’s been long decided? Why Mitch can’t break the 30 minutes threshold even when he blocks 4 shots and fouls just once? And most important of all: how is it even possible that Mitch gets only a single shot in 27 minutes of play? This is close to a fireable offense, but we’ve always had our share of bench turmoil this season.
– Needless to say, though, I’m growing more and more disappointed in Mike Miller. I understand his likely motives and I definitely can’t condemn them, so I probably should be disappointed in Pills, but since my Skyrim Pills disappointment bar has long reached 100 I have to focus elsewhere. Miller started pretty well, but then he kinda forgot a lot of the things that worked fine in the first 12 games and reverted to a mixed Fizdale (non) offense, hoping that the vets will bring him to 20 wins while playing unwatchable offense.
– Seriously, you know how Harden gets blamed everywhere for being such a pain in the ass to watch (and that’s even on his efficient nights, not only when he goes 1-for-17 from three like yesterday)? Well, Julius Randle is a weird crossbreed between Harden general tendencies and Z-Bo physical attributes. 19 and 9 – exactly his averages – for the night, but I had to resist the urge to gouge my eyes out every time he started to dribble. I’m literally sick of Randle isos. Also, I’m still waiting for him to perfectly recreate the famous Z-Bo fumble/airball from three combo that happened almost 11 years ago.
– Now that I think about it, it could make for a quick TV format: go around Penn Station and show that lo-res clip and ask people who’s the guy who’s shooting. I think at least 30% would answer “Randle”:
– Kudos to Taj for posting another good game. 10 points, 5 boards, +20 +/-. But why are we playing him? Who needs his mentorship on this team? Mitch? Doesn’t seem like the two of them like each other that much.
– For a moment the real worst case scenario materialized last night: Mook went up to shoot (and score) from three, and Kevin Love got his feet under Mook’s, causing him to apparenly injure himself. Luckily Morris brushed it off, but that’s what might happen when you don’t trade guys at the right time. It’s like waiting for the perfect Black Friday offer only to discover that the TV you always wanted just got sold out at 100$ more than you thought you’d been able to pay (but still with a discount of 220$).
– Another TV format that might work: Marc Berman going around your neighbourhood telling everyone that in the end you never wanted to buy another TV because the one you already have does wonders keeping family issues in check.
– One thing I’m liking a lot: Frank’s drives. They’re still kinda bush league ones, but at the very least he’s really attacking the basket nowadays. Maybe by year 5 he’ll have turned into a decent NBA player. We’ll have paid him 20 million dollars by then and signed him to another multi-year extension, but who cares, he’s still so young!
– You know who’s not really that young anymore? Damyean Dotson. Good game for him (12/5/4, +12 +/-) but maybe we should try to see if someone’s interested in netting him for a second round pick? He’s already 25 and never progressed that much.
– One last thing I started noticing in the Philly game (between dry heaves on my sofa): Miller’s looking like he’s half lost the team. After many a timeout huddle, his outstretched hand wasn’t met by all players, especially Payton. Mitch didn’t look him in the eyes once everytime he got subbed out. It’s possible they’re small, irrelevant things, but I have a very keen eye on those things and… hmmm. Looks like something’s not right.
Let’s get ready to get our asses handed to us by the Bronners on Wednesday, but for those of you who can, enjoy the win!