USA Today: Knicks’ ridiculous beef with Spike Lee underlines owner James Dolan’s incompetence

I really didn’t want to take away from the Knicks’ rather awesome win against the Rockets, but this thing just kept getting bigger, so I figure we have to address it:

From Dan Wolken:

In several interviews subsequent to Monday’s confrontation, which was captured on video and circulated on Twitter, Lee said he was accosted by security upon entering the building via the Garden’s 33rd Street employee entrance, which he has used every game for 28-plus years. When told he needed to leave and re-enter through a gate on 31st Street, Lee refused and invoked the name of Charles Oakley, the former Knicks great who was arrested and ejected from MSG after an incident in 2017.

Lee and Knicks owner James Dolan met at halftime of the game, but that wasn’t the end of it. Because these are the Knicks, after all, which means instead of finding a way to make up behind the scenes or simply apologize to their most famous fan, they were going to inevitably choose the thing that would needlessly escalate this story into a national debacle and further cement their reputation as the worst-run franchise, pound-for-pound, in all of professional sports.

After a Knicks spokesman told reporters Monday night that the mix-up was caused by Lee using the wrong entrance and that he and Dolan had hashed it out, Lee understandably pushed back. During an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take”, Lee said he was never informed about any changes to which entrance he was supposed to use and is done going to games the rest of this season.

“They never said when the thing changed, so why not call me?” Lee said. “When my deposit’s due for those astronomical prices for Knicks tickets and I’m one day late, my phone’s ringing off the hook. So if they change the thing, let me know! I’m being harassed by James Dolan and I don’t know why.”

Because we’re dealing with the Knicks rather than an organization that understands when it’s already lost the plot, they had to come back at Lee again with a statement Tuesday afternoon that read in part:

“The idea that Spike Lee is a victim because we have repeatedly asked him to not use our employee entrance and instead use a dedicated VIP entrance — which is used by every other celebrity who enters The Garden — is laughable. It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama.”

Spike Lee gestures in a hallway at Madison Square Garden while arguing with security officers before the Knicks-Rockets game March 2.
This whole thing would be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic, and the Knicks might have a point if their credibility hadn’t been blown on these kinds of petty vendettas before against other people with deep ties to the organization.

Dolan’s pathological resistance to ever letting something go is, well, you know, pathological.

He is such a dick. As long as he owns the Knicks, the franchise will be a joke. Just hopefully a joke that Leon Rose somehow also turns into a good team!

Houston Rockets 123 – New York Knicks 125 – Game Recap

Sometimes you have to look up at every chance you get to have faith that the future will be better, because it just has to be. Sometimes you feel like the only sane person in the room, keeping your cool while everyone else goes insane at the first hint of trouble or, on the other hand, tries to pass everyting off as if it was bad fake news.

Today I went for a walk because I had to go fetch a traffic pass in downtown Bologna and getting there by foot is the quickest way to go. The streets were almost desert. A few cars were passing by, and I encountered just five people on a 35 minutes walk. I fetched the traffic pass and went to eat something. I love sushi, and you know it. I felt a little craving for some sweet uramaki, but as luck would have it every single sushi (to be honest: asian fusion, as in “Japanese-like restaurant owned by all sorts of Asian people”) restaurant was closed. Then again, it was cold, so I didn’t mind eating something warmer, and as I found a Chinese restaurant open I went straight for the door.

I entered the place, and, well… I was the only customer. A joint that probably on its best days feeds a hundred people was completely empty. I sat at the table, I ordered my spring rolls, my spicy chicken and shrimps, and vegetables as side dish, and ate well intent at checking my social media feeds. The food was goodish but honestly nothing remarkable. I wouldn’t recommend to eat there, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to avoid it. It was the Arron Afflalo of the Chinese restaurants: a perfectly serviceable place that just doesn’t move the tiniest needle in your overall life. I still left the poor waiter a generous tip. I felt sorry for him and his wasted day at work.

This, guys, is life in March 2020 in the so-called yellow zone in Italy. Coronavirus has hit hard, much harder than I ever thought it could. It’s not about numbers per se: while a little more than 2,250 cases (79 deaths) are nothing to scoff at, the vast majority of infected people is feeling well, sometimes even being totally asymptomatic. Bologna and its suburbs amount to around one million people, and there are three registered cases as of now. But it’s not the virus that has hit that hard. It’s the sheer fear. Cinemas and theaters are closed by government decree. Citizens are advised to stay at home if they can.

February 21st was the day when the first Italian patient was discovered. By February 23rd the supermarkets were assaulted by people that felt like they needed to stock up food for a month in a nuclear vault. I’m not kidding you when I say that entire shelves were emptied in 20 minutes (but not penne lisce. Don’t ask real Italians to eat pasta that’s not striped. Penne rigate, tortiglioni, conchiglie rigate is the way. Otherwise the sauce won’t stick).

As I was saying at the beginning, I kept my cool through it all. But hope is a flickery thing, isn’it? So while I’m not worried about my own health, I can’t say the same for my parents (who both are 65+, and it looks like this virus goes hard at old people, especially if they suffer from other serious illnesses) but most of all for the whole economy. We’re at day 10, and I think we’re pretty much fucked for the 2020. Foreign tourists won’t come here in Italy as they were used to, and Italy has an estimated GDP of 150 billion dollars in tourism alone, which amounts to 7.5-8% of the whole national shebang. Italian products might be looked with mistrust for the next months. We’re probably due for a small but heavy recession. And our economy wasn’t that good to begin with, so…

In short: I fucking needed this win. I love sports. They are one of the few things that, when all goes well, give you a boost for no discernible reason. And you just take that boost and don’t look back.

***

The game was very entertaining: our Knicks were busy exchanging blows with the Rockets from the get-go, with RJ Barrett building up on his good performance against Chicago, ending the first quarter with 14 points and a couple gorgeous feeds to his fellow Bockers (in particular a pass to Mitch who was left entirely alone under the rim. It was eerily reminiscent of those night when I used to play in my room with a Nerf hoop and fantasized about being 6’8″ and dunking at will in the NBA. Mitch’s bucket was that easy). All the Knicks were pretty solid, but the reserves were the real protagonists, especially in the second quarter when a scorching hot Wayne Ellington went on to hit 4 threes in a row and a Bobby Portis bucket put the Knicks up by 21 (!) with 5:26 to go. It was clear that it wasn’t destined to last, but it was really fun. RJ ended the half with 19 points. Randle wasn’t that good but rebounded well.

The Rockets are a weird, uncompromising yo-yo team. They can fall back by 15 or be up 30 and they’ll play the same way, so given that threes have a inherent high variance you can never be safe enough playing them. In fact, the lead would be cut to ten at the end of the first half, thanks to strong play from Covington and Danuel House. Westbrook and Harden were fine but a bit dormient. You could feel a rolling boulder comeback from the Rockets, all but certain that the Knicks would end being destroyed by the most brilliantly annoying team in the League.

But that wasn’t the case!

In fact, the Knicks went up by 17 again with 5:38 to go in the third behind good all-around effort and savvy play (it didn’t hurt that sometimes Houston slept off entire defensive possessions). But the two headed backcourt Houston beast awoke, with Harden hitting his first three of the night with 2:08 to go in the third and a second one right at the end of the quarter, ending the stanza at 101-91.

The fourth quarter looked like a playoff game. The crowd was in it, and the Knicks were too (except for Elfrid Payton, who sometimes can’t be brought to give a damn on defense and was rightfully subbed off for Ntilikina, who looked like an NBA player last night, even on offense and for RJ Barrett, who looked gassed until the last possession vindicated his bad second half play). 101-95 gave way to 103-101, which in turn gave way to 111-106 (on a Frank pull-up!), which gave way to 118-109, which ended up seeing the Knicks just up 122-121 with 28 seconds to go. Here, RJ went onto his baptism by fire. He took the ball, chose to iso his way and bullyball-ed his way to a bank layup. From there, a Randle free throw and a great Frank defensive possession on Westbrook ensured the win.

I pumped my fist.

***

You can’t really argue with the last two wins. Mitch (17.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, a criminal 24.5 MPG), RJ (23 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4 APG, 18-28 FG, 6-12 3P, 30.5 MPG), Frank (7.5 PPG, 4 APG, 6-12 FG, 22MPG) and Knox (9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3-5 3P, 19 MPG) were all a big part of them.

This is what hope looks like. This is what I want from now on (but I need more minutes for Mitch! Who cares about Taj’s veteran leadership. We’re 21 games from another trip to the lottery. Stop this madness). This is something I can look at with eager eyes. This is why we follow the team.

Fuck you Covid19.

SNY.com: Read new Knicks president Leon Rose’s full letter to fans

Obviously, everyone has it, but I just figured I’d link to SNY because I’ve been so impressed with Ian Begley this season.

Anyhow, here it is:

Dear Knicks Fans:

I want to take this moment to introduce myself and tell you how proud I am to oversee this historic franchise as President of the New York Knicks. This is a pivotal time in Knicks history, so I want to let you know what you can expect from me and our organization moving forward.

Having been fortunate enough to be part of professional basketball for more than 25 years, I have had the privilege of helping to shape the careers of many incredible athletes throughout those decades, collaborating with key decision makers and personnel within the basketball universe.

In my career as an agent, I experienced the intricacies of the League, player recruitment and most importantly, how to develop relationships, unity and team cohesiveness. To be successful in the NBA, you need the best talent, a tireless work ethic, a winning culture and a total commitment to the development of both the individual and the team. I know that the ability to forge solid, productive relationships is what binds all that together.

For the remainder of this season, I will work tirelessly behind the scenes while evaluating every aspect of the organization. Most immediately, we will support Mike Miller, his staff and our team, who have plenty of basketball left to be played this season. I want to thank Mike for his continued leadership and professionalism during this period.

Our team has young talent, significant future assets (including seven first round picks over the next four years) and an ample amount of financial flexibility in the coming years. Everyone – from ownership to athletes, to staff and especially our fans – wants this team to be a winner. We will have all the resources necessary to create a great organization – one that supports our efforts to build a winning culture and gives Knicks fans, and the city of New York, the team you deserve.

Nothing about this is easy, or quick, so I ask for your continued patience. What I promise you in return is that I will be honest and forthright. We will develop a plan that makes sense, both to jumpstart our short-term growth and ensure our long-term success. Our team will work hard, stick together and ensure we live up to the honor of wearing the New York Knicks jersey.

While I realize that there have been difficulties on the court, what has been remarkable to me is that your pride remains so strong, your loyalty undiminished. Rest assured, I will do everything I can to create a winning organization.

I look forward to seeing you at The Garden.

Leon

Nothing there to really make you too concerned. So that’s something!

Come on, Leon Rose, be good at your job please!

Just Change Jets to Knicks…

Larry David roasting the Jets (and supposedly a little bit of the Knicks) on the last episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

WARNING NSFW Language!

JK: “You come into this house and bring up the Fucking Jets? Do you know how much disappointment I’ve had to live through with the Jets?”

LD: “You’ve lived with disappointment? Are you serious?”

JK: “Yeah Larry!”

LD: “You know what this team has done to me? I haven’t enjoyed a football season since 1969. Maybe ’98 with Parcels as coach for a year.”

JK: “Get out of here.”

LD: “That was good too. But that’s it.”

An honest assessment of the second part 2019/20 Knicks season – Or how I learned to stop worrying and ignore the void

Hi fellow Knickerbloggers, it’s your friendly neighborhood Farfa.

You might think I’ve given up entirely on this Knicks season. In fact, I pretty much think the same. The recap exercise has quickly become pointless once we hit the deadline and still play the “wrong” guys. Who cares what happens during the long stints where our lineup doesn’t feature at least three potential future pieces (and no, I’m not counting Randle among them)? Is there a goal in trying to describe the impact of Harkless on our rotation (by the way, it’s pretty close to zero).

I wouldn’t say I’m a great writer, especially in a foreign language. But I also think I’m not that bad. Here’s the thing, though: if you want to write something compelling, the subject has to elicit something in you, whatever that is: amusement, love, passion, disgust, hate, ridiculousness, really whatever. There are thousands of ways to imbue a single fact with all sorts of flavors; you just have to identify the right flavor, and bam! Narrative.

The sad truth, though, is that the 2020 Knicks don’t provide anything. You can be the best at seasoning food, but nobody will eat just the sauce if there’s no meat at all.

So here I am, wondering what to make of the many games I’ve seen in the last two weeks (because, seriously, I’m Pavlov’s dog when it comes to Knicks. As long as there is a Knicks game, you can take it for granted that I’m watching it. Even if it makes me curse at the screen. And yeah, these games don’t even make me curse. The rotations do, but the games leave me just meh). Do I go on another rant about the fact that it makes no sense not to start Mitch? Or to take him off the court as soon as he gets to two fouls because I don’t know, maybe Miller’s mistaking basketball fouls for baseball strikes? Do I go on writing furiously about the latest Randle high handle-caused turnover? Would you like it? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t. Even the truest argument gets thrown out as empty words after you’ve repeated it too much (see: Thunberg, Greta).

I can promise you this: there will be at least another recap from now to the end of the season. But there needs to be something at stake. Take last night’s game, for example: did anyone care about what happened on the court? How can someone care when Wayne Ellington gets thrown into the fray before a kinda hot in the previous two games Allonzo Trier does? Trier is as much a free agent as Wayne is entering the 2020/21 season, but his path in the League should be a little different. He should still be on the rise, or at the very least he plateaus for the next two years. Zo’s not that young, but he’s still hungry and will not demand a huge salary. Plus, I think he’s a RFA. For chrissakes, just play him 20 minutes on a night when Frank and DSJ aren’t available in the second half!

Miller’s first 20 games were kind of encouraging. Now he’s just as perplexing as Fiz was, at least in terms of rotations and playcalling. He’s more solid, but just as perplexing. The team isn’t disjointed, but he looks incapable of understanding which players will help him win games (because I think that’s his only goal right now, lame duck as he is after the Stoute special).  But you know that already.

In short, what I’m saying is that I’m here. I’m following the games. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to write something that doesn’t look like a chewed out 2019 post (but that doesn’t mean I won’t write something else entirely, maybe detailing a few draft prospects – by the way, read this piece from Tjarks on The Ringer, it’s nothing special but it’s quite good at telling everyone what the Knicks have done wrong in the last three years – without even talking about the Knicks!).

Bless your souls.