On Tuesday afternoon, I started bouncing ideas around for a post about the whole symmetry of Phil Jackson taking over the Knicks and then the Knicks and Lakers playing on national TV at a time when the Lakers seem to be aggressively tanking while the Knicks ride a semi-hot streak trying to grab a playoff spot that once seemed like a complete pipe dream.
I figured I’d make some parallel between the NBA’s two signature franchises moving in opposite directions – the Lakers experiencing their worst season since the mid-70s, and possibly the worst season since they’ve been in Los Angeles, while the Knicks surge following a dreadful start to the season and strut around after signing Famous Phil away from the West Coast. It would have been a largely disingenuous argument, considering the Knicks are most certainly not “a team on the rise”; They’re an unmitigated disaster that only by the sheer grace of Christ himself are still (technically, mathematically) alive in playoff contention. But it was narrative, and you can usually get away with that sort of thing.
But then, you know, the game happened.
In case you didn’t watch, the Knicks lost because they suck at basketball and they wanted to remind everyone of this after throwing a few people off the scent with that eight-game winning streak. Their loss Sunday against the Cavs went under the radar as so many people were watching the college tournament, so they got savvy and waited until last night to do their whole “No, in case you forgot, we REALLY suck” routine.
In the second quarter, they surrendered 51 points. That’s not a typo. Their defensive efficiency in the quarter was a strapping 204, which means their defense would have performed better if they had issued monogrammed invitations for the Lakers to simply walk down the lane and dunk the ball on each and every possession. You might think that sounds hyperbolic and stupid, but it (regrettably) is not. It was around this time that I decided to start drinking. Unfortunately, I did not have any whiskey in the house, because I apparently used it all over the weekend to make the dogs barking in my head shut up (this is how my roommate claims I explained it to him). So I went rooting around in my basement and I came up with a few cans of Wood Finish. I assume you’ve never drank Wood Finish, so if you’re curious, here are my thoughts:
This is a pretty standard finish. It has a slight burn at the beginning but it subsides quickly. No one flavor stands out, but has hints of oak, hickory, and maple. If you’ve never drank finish before, this is a good one to start with – it’s very good for amateur palettes. 7/10
Red Oak 215:
As the title would indicate, this has a strong oak flavor, complemented by a hint of Concord Grape and and even softer hint of cocoa. It will give you a bit of a headache if you drink it too quickly – this is a finish you want to savor. Good with lamb or pork. 8/10
Puritan Pine 218:
This is one of the weaker flavors – I thought it was okay, but the name “Puritan” really seemed to be unnecessarily judging. All the flavors are very muted – offers a very vague, indiscriminate taste. 4/10
Here’s a finish if you want to put some hair on your chest and feel like a real American. The flavors are strong and hit you almost immediately – perhaps even before the liquid touches your lips. The cacophony of flavors includes steel, lead, gunpowder, mesquite, bacon fat, and rattlesnake venom. You shudder when you drink it but feel better for it. 9/10
Dark Walnut 2716:
A very heavy, nutty finish. The most prominent flavor is (obviously) walnut, but it also carries several Earthy flavors like soil and peat moss. It has a saltier taste at the beginning than most (from the nut flavors), but it ends with a sulfur taste (from the earth tones) which gives it a nice balance. 8/10
Golden Pecan 245:
Certainly one of the more impressive flavors – it’s very buttery with a strong honey finish, almost like a mead. Brown sugar and vanilla give it a robust sweetness. A classic “finish for people who don’t like drinking finish” flavor, but even a connoisseur would enjoy it. 9/10
Cherry Fruitwood 292:
The strong fruit flavors nearly overwhelm you right away – Cherry, multiple apple flavors (Golden Delicious and Granny Smith were two that I picked up right away), and pear with hints of raspberry, blueberry, and cranberry. There’s even a hint of green olive, a nice salty flavor to offset some of the sweetness. 9/10
Sedona Red 222:
One of the Earthier finishes, mostly sandstone and limestone, but they’re balanced with a strong blood orange citrus character. A generally smoky flavor. Apparently it complements Mexican food well, but I’ve never tried it. 6/10
Brazilian Rosewood 213:
A very interesting finish in that it carries a very strong aroma, but most of the flavors are muted. An experienced finish drinker can pick out coffee, açaí, mango, guava, okra, cilantro, and cocoa, among others. The muted flavors can be a bit off-putting at first if the fragrance has you expecting a full-body finish, but if you know what you’re getting it’s really quite lovely. 9/10
Colonial Maple 223:
This was clearly the class of the lot – particularly the 2007 Vintage. A strong maple flavor slowly descends to a lovely combination of venison and tobacco before rounding out with a hint of Earl Grey tea, lemon, and saltpetre. It’s a rugged, sinewy finish that you can really feel transition from one flavor to another, as opposed to simply all blending together. Great for amateurs and connoisseurs alike. 10/10