I started writing this recap at halftime. Because eulogies are best delivered before the dirt.
The Knicks’ season is over. This is meant both literally and cryptically: literally because, in the pure temporal-realistic sense, everyone’s ends sooner or later; cryptically because the ghosts of cheated Indians have scalped one too many knees for our beloved Bockers to cross the finish line in anything other than a cemetery-bound Herse. But we’ll get to that later.
The Knicks lost tonight – we all know that. A game? Yes. Atlantic cushion? Sure. A fistful of pride? Undoubtedly. Our heart and soul? It’s eminently possible.
During a late second quarter possession, the Knicks already down north of 20, Corey Brewer backslid to the baseline and right into the left knee of Tyson Chandler, who immediately crumpled into a flesh avalanche, sending Knicks Twitter into seizure and smoke out the back of my MacBook.
Preliminary reports were of something called a left knee contusion, which I’m assuming is Latin for “explosion.” The Knicks have no MRI’s scheduled, obviously, because they a) think that stands for “Meat Roasting Instrument,” and b) still use palm fronds and sap to wrap limbs.
Truth told, it likely would’ve ended up Chandler’s most cringe-worthy outing of the year anyway: four points, two rebounds, and a complete disinterest in putting a body on anything other than precious oxygen.
Melo would follow suit early in the third (sore right knee – nightmare to nightmare), calling it quits and ending what had been, to that point, a schadenfreude shitshow.
I had a homecoming once. I weighed 75 pounds – zits included – had to borrow money from a lass in our group to pay for dinner, went without a date, and danced with exactly one girl. To fucking Lady in Red. She also had bad acne, and smelled like sweat.
Compared to Melo’s night, that was like riding a vintage BSA A65 Ligtning on fire into the gym and plowing rails off the Queen’s face in front of the quarterback. The step’s pep was palpably better than it was Monday, but so was the same shot-for-shot heroics that proved death for the Knicks in last year’s loss. The early returns were mixed: A couple of powerful drives, a pair of pinpoint jumpers… and then some Rade Butcher one-legged Hoosiers bullshit with seven seconds left in the first quarter and the shotclock blank.
In what became the evening’s most predictably moribund development, the Knicks struggled to contain the Nuggets in transition, which can happen when you’re shooting nothing but contested long twos and being outrebounded 53-33 (including 18-7 on OREBs). At a certain point, it wasn’t even worth getting mad about – the Nuggets are such a cartoonishly fun team to watch, even when Andre Miller is orchestrating the offense from his tricked out Rascal.
Speaking of horrible offense: thanks to their doomed perimeter gambits, the Knicks didn’t even attempt their first free throw until nearly eight minutes into the second goddam quarter. I’m still convinced the refs gave Melo the trip stripe out of nothing more than pure pity.
Let’s see…. Oh, Raymond Felton! Here are the notes I took on Raymond Felton: horrible pass off the bat, hits a corner three, dribbles off his foot, altitude fat, no penetration.
If Felton thinks the smattering of boos that met Melo’s pregame intro are an accurate bellwether for what’s in store tomorrow, he better herniate a disk thrashing through tonight’s nightmares. Because they’ll literally have to REMOVE the Rose Garden roof, just to make room for the acrimony. Remember Ghostbusters II when the pink hate slime just starts spraying out the sewer? Just like that, except artisanal.
Iman Shumpert had himself a silver lining, tallying 20 on 10 textbook shots (including 4-5 from deep). The defense was predictably sporadic – Gallo abused him off the dribble drive pretty thoroughly a couple times – but you can see last year’s springs slowly shedding the rust.
J.R. Smith started the game by missing a bunch of shots very badly and bulleting a pass to a corner-straddled Novak that the latter had less than no chance of catching. A garbage time dawn proved the perfect anecdote for J.R., however, and he ended…. Well, he ended with a pretty terrible game.
Thus concludes the list of players on whom I actually bothered to take notes. The rest of this is straight rage gravy.
Starting tomorrow — and inspired by a tip provided by one Bobert Mansilver — I will be conducting independent research on the history of land on which Madison Square Garden was built. Because I’m convinced it’s an Indian burial ground. Really, what other explanation is there? What other explanation is there for this team’s past three decades being festooned to melting knees? How else do you account for a shame whose only refrain is heartbreak? How do you “contextualize” Kenny Walker? Who is Herb Williams, and why does his job not belong to Patrick Ewing?
“Dolan” is not an acceptable answer. He works in MSG, on the burial ground. The curse came first.
“But we won in ’70 and ‘73” – even more unacceptable. Here’s why: even curses grant the occasional graced exception. Those teams trafficked in gestalt, and an almost mystic camaraderie. If anything, their play embodied nativist notions of teamwork, togetherness – things since sparked only from randomly smashing cornerstone shards. Frazier, Bradley, Reed – these guys were the vexer’s answer.
We’re going 0-5 on this road trip. Book it. If Tyson’s injury turns out to be anything beyond a bad bang, we might not win a game for the next two years.
That’s hyperbole, of course. Luckily, such is second tongue ’round these parts. Which is why I’m predicting we lose by 20-plus again tomorrow night in Portland. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if an acid-addled punk in a clown costume took Raymond Felton out with a slingshot. Or if Mike Woodson just walked on to the Rose Garden floor in the middle of a 27-0 Blazers run and lied down at center court. Just, lied down. Or if Kurt Thomas clawed out Damien Lillard’s right eye. Or if Carmelo Anthony “gives it a go” and falls into a sinkhole, never to be seen again.
These are the things I think about at 2am after another blowout loss, the season’s hopes hanging on hairs thinner than a dead man’s. You can say we shouldn’t panic. You can say it’s just a funk. Me? This ship ain’t sinkin’ – it’s sunk.