It’s Sunday, so we’ll spare everyone actual letter grades. They all fail, every man jack of them. The Knickerbockers have been banished to go sit in the corner in their repugnant all-Orange Unis. The only thing that would be worse is if, while seriously thinking about what it is they did, they were forced to wear these X-Mas day lumps of coal in our aesthetic stocking.
I’m sorry. That’s ridiculous. That’s like one of those cut-rate Batman costumes that your Mom gets you when you say you want to be the Dark Knight for All Hallowe’s Eve. You know, the one that’s a plastic t-shirt/smock with an image of the detective socking the Joker/Penguin/Two Face in the mug with a “Pow!” caption and that sugar-sweat inducing plastic mask with the little slit for your mouth that inevitably ends up shredding your tongue like so much brisket by the end of an evening’s trick or treating.
Or it was okayed by the same crack team of marketing wizard-bros that thought this cos-play snuggie would sell like hotcakes.
So now that we’re done with our sartorial evaluation, let’s turn to the game itself. It truly was a team effort, this rank, putrid garbage fire masquerading as an enjoyable sporting event (well, for the Knicks/Knick fans anyway). Caches, players, even fans should be slouching off like so many sad George Michael Bluth’s. I mean, the booing effort—considering how complete and total a devastation, like the Soviet tanks rolling over the Montenegrans in ’68 (Sorry ‘bout that Pek)—really was lacking in both energy and focus. One person in the entire World’s Most Famous arena gets an A. We’ll get to him in a bit
It’s not like anyone who’s been following this team for the first five games thought that this one would some kind of chocolate-coated, creamy money-centered bon bon of a game (I’m still coming down from my sugar rush). The Spurs have struggled offensively to start the year, but when it comes to both on and off the ball movement, they’re a freaking cold-as-fuck, devastatingly effective machine.
And that’s pretty much what happened. The Knicks switched early and often at barely a semi-offered pick, leaving a bajillion mismatches that were exploited with a simple pass to a wide open shooter or backdoor cutter. And even in this midst of all of these gobsmackingly dumb options that the Knicks seemingly foisted upon themselves, they insisted on doubling the mismatchee, leaving even more wide open-er (I can do that? Yes, yes I can.) looks or easy layups.
On the game’s opening possession, f’rinstance, Parker dribbled past a Duncan leaving Andrea Bargani the less-than-enviable task of trying to defend the twinke-toed Frenchman—a gent so deft of foot that Clyde opined that the former Mr. Longoria must swell dancer— twenty feet away from the hoop. The ‘Bockers half-assedly heartedly helped, and the ball swung to the metropolitan area’s own Danny Green for an uncontested trey.
Side Note: How is “Danny Green from Longuyland” not Jewish? He’s the Trevor Rosenthal of 3&D guys.
And that’s pretty much what continued through out 48 minutes of a drubbing that the Alamoes inflicted with the ease and casual indifference of cutting a water-soaked tonail. Closeouts and rotations were non-existent. Fast-break opportunities galore sprung up with even a casual outlet pass. They might want to pick up the aforementioned Mr. Green at halfcourt on those plays. No? Kay.
They had absolutely no tall dude capable of stopping dribble penetration, You know, stuff like this. Yes, that’s Iman Shumpert. Feel free to cuss at Bargs for screening his own man, but that was hardly the only instance of our formerly flat-topped friend getting burnt to a crisp.
And once any one garbed in silver and black (and since writing about uniform design is far more interesting that recapping/rehashing this depressing beat-down, the Spurs’ duds have to be top five in the league. The subtle use of a spur in place of the letter u is a nifty deviation from the standard “name plus digit” format) got past his man, the even taller dudes stared and marveled at the absolute miracle/poetry of humanity or engaged the Knick City Dancers in the Foucault discussion group that has replaced the stripper-y routines that Fearless Fedora’d Leader does not fancy and had an unimpeded path to the tin.
That’s what it’s come to: extended fantasies regarding cheerleaders debating the notion that MSG has become a Panopticon. “Accountability” notwithstanding, at least the fans are getting fistfuls of “Discipline and Punish” shoved down their throats. I’ll show myself out…
…I’m back! Anyhoo, if you had better things to do on a crisp fall day (and I really hope you did). Things went straight into the hoops crapper from the opening tip. They were down 0-0 he 9:01 mark of the opening stanza. Earl Smith Jr., fresh off his NBA-mandated non-participation, proceeded to make up for five games worth of pine-riding (and late-night carousing and armored vehicle purchasing, by launching contested bricks, dribbling into traffic and/or coughing up the rock. It got so bad, I hear it inspired Stephen King to start work on a new best-selling super-scary tome, Stephen King’s Chinner. You know, because everything’s gone about as bad as humanly possible for Smith the Elder since he clocked Jason Terry on the… Look, I don’t sing or dance and I root for an execrable basketball team. Bad puns are all I’ve got. It’s not surprising that he was rustier than Jimilya Cavanovich’s portrait of the city of Detroit in his 1st game back. Go read that, if you haven’t. It’s much better than reliving this contest. Even so, for the reigning 6th Man of the Year, that was a pretty goddamn poop-tastic outing.
The offense reverted to being a stagnant, hot mess. The Texans decided doubling Melo was absolutely the way to beat this team, and glory be, it was. Anthony bagged a number of tough interior layups, and smartly rotated the ball, but no one was hitting, and there were way too many “I got this” moments. Looking at you, Ray Felton (or STAT, who really shouldn’t be playing. Or JR. Or Timmy Jr. (I was doing a lot of looking. I’m the Argus Panoptes, the 100-eyed Greek mythological giant of dung-strewn Knick games.) Or, considering they were rotating Tim Duncan onto Melo, it might possibly suggest that the floor-spacing that Bargs provides isn’t going to work as well as it did v. the Kitties.
They were down 35-17 after 12 atrocious minutes of so-called pro ball, with an Offensive Efficiency of 77.3 and a Defensive Efficiency of 159.1; the third time in four games they’ve allowed 30+ points in the first quarter. [h/t TweetKnick]
That’s when Coach decided to get in on this scatological orgy. He rolled with a STAT-JR-Artest-Tim-Udrih to start the 2nd that was 7-2 start the 2nd , leaving Pablo Prigioni to firmly grasp the starter-in-name-only mantle that was shameless abandoned by James White. Prigs sat for the remainder of the half, and Son of Wood stupefyingly brought in Amar’e for a single defensive possession in the final seconds, which obviously smacked Frazier in the head with as much force as the rest of us, because he was left to mutter, “That’s why STAT checks in, because you want the defense out there.”
Even more, why Melo started the 4th with the Knicks down 30 is God’s own unique mystery and it took until the fetid, pointless bottom of temps du poubelle to see what Cole Aldrich/Toure’ Murry might provide. Spoiler Alert: Toure’ got his first pro points and Aldrich snaggled 7 boards. Silver Linings! Like a single, shining daisy sprouting in a pile of manure!
Of course, the highlight (so to speak was in the midst of a 31 point drubbing — the worst at home since the Boston game from ’07-’08 — came, at the end of the fourth, you could hear the world’s most devoted/fanatical/delusional kid screaming “SHOOT IT” at Beno Udih dribbling top of the right key, and when Timmy Jr. bonked a trey from the wing off Beno’s penetration, the self-same kid let forth a blood-curlding Cri di Coeur: “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!”
You go, faceless/nameless fan. I mean it. No snark here. In the face of utter futility, and a pretty altogether bleak afternoon, your insistence on keeping the faith is a great (if possibly misguided) thing. You’re the Knicks’ “Good job, good effort!”
And that’ll about do it. Guh. I’m not even mad. I’ve hit the Kubler-Ross ‘acceptance’ stage of of rooting for a crappy team. Yes, it is early, as they say, but it gets early awful early ’round these parts. I’m sure we’ll have more tomorrow in our dandy “Notes and Errata” column about the panic button and all the premature pushing, with ‘Fire Woodson’ chants raining down like so much manna from heaven, and this post-game assessment from Melo, possibly the most understated understatement in all eternity: “This city and this organization is not known for being patient.”
Indeed. If I had my druthers, I’d rather push this on the entire season. INCEPTION BUTTON!