Tag Archives: new york knicks

As is his wont, Larry Hughes is causing me to have an existential crisis

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealers Early Edition blog)

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer's Early Edition blog)

When I saw the headline to the Wednesday post on New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola’s “Knicks Knation” (ugh) blog, I felt a chill run down my spine:

“Knicks targeting Bulls’ Larry Hughes.”

For real?  I mean, I’d heard possible trades discussed that would maybe allow the Knicks to shed a contract or two, maybe bring back an expiring deal, maybe add a frontcourt asset, etc.  But “targeting”?  Larry Hughes?

Are they aware that this is the dude whose reputation for taking abysmal, low-percentage shots at inopportune times inspired someone actually started a Web site called “Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots“?  That he has in the past worn an ungodly body armor undershirt contraption that would elicit derision from the hairiest, Rec-Spec-iest dudes in your Wednesday morning YMCA league?

That he has engendered such distaste among Bulls fans that Matt at Blog-a-Bull admitted he “may have snuck in a pump of the fist when [he] saw Larry Hughes crumple to the ground” during a pre-season game against the Timberwolves?  That goathair’s lone birthday wish for this trade deadline (BTW, happy birfday, broheim) was that his beloved Bulls ship out Hughes?

That math genius Tom Ziller wrote at The Sporting Blog that “Hughes + Basketball = Wincing pain“?  That spiritual sage Bethlehem Shoals at the same site once advised Bulls GM John Paxson that Hughes “will destroy this team if you let him shine, like a cult leader and corrupt guidance counselor rolled up in one“?

That, through a uniquely distasteful combination of poor play and selfishness, he earned this etherization by Eamonn Brennan, noted scribe of seemingly everywhere?

Larry. Real talk. You are not as good as you think you are. You’re that awkward, crappy guy at open gym who, for whatever reason, thinks he’s really good, and alienates an entire court of eager basketball players in the meantime. You are self-deluded. You don’t command minutes. You waste possessions. You don’t defend. Your arm sleeve-sweater-thing is utterly ridiculous. You take horrible shots. SOMEONE NAMED A WEB SITE AFTER YOUR BAD SHOTS. IT WAS QUITE POPULAR DESPITE ITS INCREDIBLY LONG URL.

Christ, Larry. Figure it out. You’re the only one that hasn’t.

(I knew there was a lot of Larry Hughes-centric venom on the Internet, but I never knew it was this widespread … and we haven’t even gotten to the Basketbawful retrospective.  More on that to come.)

And yet, here we are, with Isola reporting that team president Donnie Walsh is considering flipping the expiring contract of Malik Rose and at least one player asset — including, possibly, restricted-free-agent-to-be Nate Robinson, whose stock has jumped after a string of quality performances leading into the All-Star break and whose monster 38-minute-32/10-with-3-assists-and-zero-TO line in Tuesday’s surprise victory over the Spurs led Kelly Dwyer to write the following: “That’s a line, and I’m being serious, that we were used to seeing from Dirk Nowitzki during his MVP run” — to bring in Hughes, whose $13.65 million contract comes off the books heading into the much-ballyhooed Summer of 2010.

(LONGEST SENTENCE EVER.)

But hold the phone on the giant cap-space clearance.  Let’s see if we can’t handicap the odds of this sucker actually going down.

Over at ESPN.com, Chris Sheridan last night gave us the good ol’ “go fuck yourself, trade watchers!” coin flip:

I have one very plugged-in source telling me that the Knicks still have a “slim but possible” chance of landing Larry Hughes, while another source was equally emphatic in saying he expects the Bulls to keep Hughes in mothballs now that they’ve dropped some $200,000 under the luxury tax threshold via the Brad Miller/John Salmons deal.

Today’s Chicago Tribune reports that “a nearly completed deal sending Hughes to the Knicks for Malik Rose and Jerome James fell apart Wednesday.”  At the same time, however, today’s Chicago Sun-Times says that Hughes didn’t travel with the Bulls to Milwaukee for their game against the Bucks (intrigue!) and that the framework for a Hughes deal might involve David Lee going Midwest and Kirk Hinrich heading to the Big City of Dreams.  (NOTE: Newsday’s Alan Hahn says that deal’s not happening, and that Lee’s not going anywhere.)

That first trade would make some economic sense — the Bulls get Rose’s expiring $7.65 million deal to create some space this off-season, the Knicks shed the now-largely-symbolic albatross of Big Snacks and turn about $14.25 million in total expiring contracts (spread over two years) into one lump-sum $13.65 million goner next year, the overwhelmingly obvious and explicitly stated goal of everything they do.

On the other hand, the second proposal would make most Knicks fans cry, cry, cry for several reasons:

  1. Lee’s become the great white hope for many in the Apple;
  2. While Hinrich is a more gifted overall player than Chris Duhon and his 2009 per-36 numbers are about in line with his career marks (with at least a couple of his advanced stats/peripherals nosing up toward his ’06-’07 career bests) despite missing about two months to a thumb injury, he doesn’t appear to represent a monster upgrade over what the Knicks are getting from Duhon this year;
  3. Hinrich’s contract pays him through 2011-2012, meaning that even though the Knicks would shed Hughes’ $13.65 million, they’d still have Cap’n Kirk, who doesn’t seem to be too many people’s idea of an NBA championship-caliber starting point guard, on the books for two more seasons.

Added wrinkle: In his post yesterday, Isola claimed that Lee would only go to Chicago in a Hughes deal if the Bulls sent back Joakim Noah or Tyrus Thomas, a framework for which had also been discussed as a “trade that SHOULD happen” by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (in a post that was summarily pooh-poohed by Tommy Dee at The Knicks Blog on Tuesday).

But what makes this all the more interesting is Isola’s suggestion that some in NY’s front offices are having doubts about whether Lee is talented or savvy enough to merit locking up long-term:

Lee has enjoyed a breakout season but some in the organization wonder if he has reached his ceiling. On Tuesday, Lee was no match for Tim Duncan, who scored 13 fourth quarter points. Lee also missed a crucial free throw in the final minute and then knowingly gave his sixth foul in the final three seconds while guarding Tony Parker, who finished the night shooting 5-for-20.

Although the Knicks won the game, Lee’s decision to give a foul – the Knicks had one to give – was a questionable move at best. If the Knicks were up one, Lee would have been smart to foul. But in a tied game, there is a strong chance that the game will go into overtime. Think of it this way, how many All-Stars (and Lee thinks he belongs in that group) would knowingly foul out of a tie game? The answer is none.

Now, there’s one patently ridiculous point in Isola’s post, as has been noted in various places: Name me all the teams that Duncan doesn’t go to town on, especially down the stretch, especially when opponents are trying to guard him with 6’9″ guys.

But as for the other stuff — the questions about how much more’s left untapped in Lee’s talent reservoir — well, hmm.

/takes himself out of fan mode and tries to think like a company man

If you believe Lee’s reached his ceiling and as a result you’re not really considering him in your long-term plans … and if you’re looking for a higher-potential athlete that might be totally unleashed in Mike D’Antoni’s system (I think we can all agree that Thomas has the chance to be that) … AND if you think teams are unlikely to ever have higher opinions of Lee and Robinson than they do right now …

Then doesn’t it make perfect sense to continue the job started by the Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph deals and use these remaining valuable assets (in conjunction with Rose’s expiring contract) to try to shed the last remaining bad multiyear deals (Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry) and keep cleaning up the company’s balance sheet?  Especially if said deals could return a chip (Thomas) that has the potential to be a higher-performing asset?

Even if it goes against all intuitive fan instincts to actively try to lose the two players who most make your team worth watching and fun to follow?  Even if it means taking on a millstone (Hughes) that is sure to inspire Silky Johnston-level hating from yours truly (which, come to think of it, might also be considered an upside)?

The man in me thinks the “sell high” principle should take hold and I should have the balls to stick with the same thought process that I maintained when Walsh dumped Crawford and Randolph — this year doesn’t matter, D’Antoni will find ways to be competitive and interesting this season regardless, building the foundation for the future and scouring the books is what counts, etc.

But the fan in me wants to boo the notion of moving Lee and NateRob until my throat is sore because of the life they’ve helped bring to the squad.  It’s causing the clash of head versus heart, intellect versus instinct, adult analysis versus childlike glee.  I honestly didn’t know I cared this much.

Wow.  That’s 1,500+ words I didn’t see coming.  Thanks, Larry Hughes, for making me feel like Dane McGowan after he smokes the blue mold in The Invisibles.  Trade deadline is doing my fucking head in, man.

In which I effectively bail on the Knicks’ 2009 season and talk myself out of a number of players they could potentially select in this year’s draft

you-suck

With All-Star Weekend now in the rear view mirror, NBA teams fall for the most part into two categories: those making a run at a playoff spot and those casting their eyes toward the Lottery.  Though they played well above pre-season expectations through the first three months of the season, the New York Knicks fall squarely into the latter group.

They’re 10 games under .500 and 3.5 games out of the 8th seed, trailing Milwaukee, New Jersey and Chicago, just ahead of Indiana and Toronto.  While that’s far from an insurmountable deficit, they’re simply playing bad ball, losing six straight to head into the break on a slide fueled by mental lapses, an utter inability to defend elite wings (or anyone, really), and the re-stocking of Al Harrington at the jerkstore.

On top of that, they come back from the All-Star break with an MSG visit from San Antonio tomorrow night, leading  into a home-and-home with a Raptors team that could get a boost from the import of Shawn Marion. Then, Dominant Team Pringles play host to the Pacers (who beat N.Y. at the Garden on Jan. 2), the Magic (who are significantly better than the Knicks by any objective measure, and whose center will have a mighty, Paul Bunyan-esque axe to grind) and the 76ers (who have already beaten the Knicks three times this season) before closing out the month out on the road in Miami, a superior team that should by that point have started to figure out how to integrate Jermaine O’Neal.

Mike D’Antoni’s already thin rotation may also be stretched even thinner in the days to come, as Chris Duhon (ankle sprain), Quentin Richardson (bruised ribs) and Tim Thomas (groin injury) all went into All-Star Weekend banged up.  (Yeah, Eddy Curry’s supposed to start practicing with the team this week as he targets a second-half comeback, but given the shitcloud that’s been following Eddy around for the past year and a half, do you have any doubt that he’ll sever the myelin sheaths of every neuron in his brain during shootaround?)

And it’s unlikely the Knicks would be able to add any helpful pieces via trade — they don’t seem eager to move David Lee, easily their most valuable player; KryptoNate might bring back a draft pick, but nothing of value this season; and their only two expiring deals are Starbury’s $20.8 million, which they haven’t exactly bent over backward to ship out, and Malik Rose’s $7.65 million, which likely wouldn’t return much worth having, because Malik Rose is 74 and stinks.

So while the great Studs Terkel teaches us that hope dies last, the odds don’t look good for the boys in orange and blue to make a postseason run; in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Knicks failed to notch a W in February and completely disappeared from the playoff hunt by March 1.

What do you do in times like these?  Start exercising the 2009 NBA Lottery Mock Draft machine, that’s what.  There’s always next year, and this summer’s draft pick could have you playing for a playoff spot next season.

Except that the Knicks don’t exactly have a great history in the draft; check out this list of first-rounders.  Since taking Patrick Ewing with the first overall pick in 1985, the best picks are probably Mark Jackson (1987) and Lee (2005), and there’s a whole lot of inexorable sadness in between.  And while 2007 first-rounder Wilson Chandler has shown a lot of improvement this year, it’s fair to say there’s some skepticism about how good 2008 pick Danilo Gallinari can be.

So since Knicks fans tend to be disappointed by the team’s draft picks (often with good reason), it seems prudent to start preparing a list of reasons to disapprove of whomever the Knicks select this season.  As I have watched virtually no college basketball this season, my analysis will be based purely on surface appearances, flimsy analogy, woeful misinformation, the occasional anecdote and a plethora of ill will.

Let’s start with Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, who most project to go #1 overall.

griffin-to-the-knicks

It has been suggested that you are an athletic marvel, a tall man that can run and rebound, a surefire prospect and the draft’s most gifted player, which would be cool for you.  It has also been suggested that you are secretly Kris Humphries, which is lame and deserving of mad scorn.  Based on how surprised you appear in this photograph and on no other research, I believe you will become a disappointing mashup of Tim Thomas, Austin Croshere and Rupert Grint.

What about the player whose name is connected with the Knicks most frequently in the lottery machine, Davidson guard Stephen Curry?

curry-to-the-knicks

It is my understanding that you shoot the ball very well, that you have great parentage (coming from the Basketball Currys), that you have the height, quickness and handle to play the point at the next level, and that you can score on pretty much anyone.  But you apparently didn’t have the foresight to purchase ankle insurance, nor did you have the foresight to dissuade your talented brother Seth from attending a university that was founded by Jerry Falwell.  All of this suggests a lack of crunch-time leadership that indicates you will not be anywhere near the floor general that Chris Duhon is.  Boo.

And what of the draft’s most exotic import, Spanish teen point guard sensation Ricky Rubio?

rubio-to-the-knicks

You are mad cute, and I keep thinking you’re small, but you’re not really small at all.  You look like Harry Potter, but way cuter.  During the gold medal game against the U.S. last summer, you didn’t look out of place on the court against the best American point guards, which was remarkable.  Internet basketball luminaries like goathair and Tom Ziller and Bill Simmons love you lots, and you seem like a perfect fit for a coach that knows how to get the most out of smart, multitalented point guards, and you’d probably be brilliant triggering an SSOL attack for the next decade.

But you also look like a mustache-less Gael Garcia Bernal in Amores Perros, before he gets super into the world of dogfighting and all of his dreams come crashing down, and that makes me preemptively sad and apprehensive in assessing your chances of success in the world of NBA basketball (a.k.a. “the world of dogfighting”).

I think New York City will eat you alive, literally, which at first sounds like it would make a great horror movie concept, but then when you think about it is actually pretty dumb and would probably need to be like a Troma Films production or something, and then it’s just relegated to the “cult classics” section at Borders and no one ever even watches it seriously, which pisses off the director because hey, we spent a lot of time working on this project, you know?  And now here you people all are, trying to option cartoon rights and get Joe Bob Briggs to do his hillbilly huckster thing on a DVD and make this whole thing into a joke, but we set out to make a legitimate genre-redefining horror movie, one that infused elements of subtle, encroaching fear inspired by sources as varied as Kafka and Henson and Craven and Danzig, and to be honest, I think we did, and that’s the way I view the whole “Big City of Screams” project, if you want to know how I really feel about it.

So maybe you should just go to Washington or the Clippers, Ricky, for all of our sakes.

Other inevitable disappointments:

  • Greg Monroe, Georgetown. Mike Sweetney was a gifted Georgetown big, too.  Remember him?  So do I, and so does every permutation of  “Famous,” “Original” and “Ray’s” in the New York metropolitan area.  We won’t get fooled again, Hoyas.
  • James Harden, Arizona State. You may say you’re 19, but you look like you’re 60, dog. I don’t believe you; you need more people.
  • Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut. Sure, you put up 25/20/9 in a win that brought your #1 ranked team to a 24-1 mark, the best 25-game record in UConn history.  But you remind me of the Bug that wore the Edgar Suit from Men in Black, and while that’s good for post defense, that’s too scary for kids to watch night-in and night-out, and the Knicks are for the children.
  • Jeff Teague, Wake Forest. You are a Wake Forest guard who is not Chris Paul. :(
  • B.J. Mullens, Ohio State, and Cole Aldrich, Kansas. The Knicks have already gotten lucky with one white big man this decade; to try for another would probably be pushing it.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest. You look really sleepy in a lot of your photos, and sometimes sad, too.  They said the same thing about Tracy McGrady, and look what a total loser he turned out to be.  No thanks.

Who do you think will be a disappointing draft pick, and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Enjoy the second half of the season, guys!  Can’t wait until the draft!

Image via FFFFOUND!

Taking stock of a herky-jerky, in-between-hop kind of week

It’s been a weird week here at the friendly confines of this is the city line., and I’m honestly not real sure what it all means.

I started out by trying to shake off illness with drugs and Welsh rock music, then got the surprise blessing of basketblog raconteur Tom Ziller selecting my dumb variant on a pretty common joke for inclusion in Monday’s NBA Essentials link roundup over at FanHouse.  Then the worksplosion started, which sidetracked me pretty significantly, pushing me into throwing up a placeholder post that actually generated a little bit of interest (at least among my friends).

Once safely past Tuesday, I learned that Dominant Team Pringles sucked it up against the Warriors, a team they’re theoretically better than (by the way, my Doomsday prediction of a winless February — click STOP after the link opens to read mine prophecy — remains intact), got sick wistful on the Eddy Curry tip and came late to the Deadbeat Plax party with a Wimpy GIMPoshop.  Then I decided I was going to get drunk while watching a shitload of sports on Wednesday night to get some blog fodder and scrub the detritus from my already-off week.

Except I didn’t.  I wound up watching a bunch of Eugene Mirman videos while drinking/unwinding from work, then going to a good sports bar/bad restaurant, drinking a couple more beers while watching the first half of Celtics/Hornets, during which I took the following notes:

  • Hilton Armstrong looks like he could be Ron Artest’s son;
  • Kendrick Perkins needs to read goathair‘s hook shot post, because his form is often abysmal;
  • Two fouls on Chris Paul four minutes into the game at home = shocking and not good for N.O.;
  • Much like former Providence College scrub Leland Anderson, who my friend Chris and I nicknamed “Trainwreck” for his ball-handling “skills” (and who is apparently an aspiring professional wrestler), Hilton Armstrong should never be allowed to trigger the offense from the high post, ever, under any circumstances.  This is why Chris Paul getting two fouls four minutes into the game is bad; it allows Hilton Armstrong to be in a position to make decisions, which will result in him throwing the ball out of bounds at roughly 201 miles per hour;
  • David West = David Banner? I couldn’t figure out who the Hornets’ power forward looks like, so I threw down a name with a question mark.  My memory was wrong; see here and here for proof.  But still, I’m vexed that I know David West looks like someone, yet I can’t figure out who.  I’ve Googled it, but can’t find a consensus; DimeMag.com commenter “LakeShow84″ says he “looks like Columbus Short from Stomp The Yard,” which is false. Another commenter at DimeMag.com, which is apparently the home of  people who want to figure out who David West looks like (a.k.a. my new homepage 4 life), says he “looks like the persian general who gets his head cut off by the fat guy with knifes on his arms in the movie 300,” which may be true, but I’ve never seen 300, so that can’t be who I think he is.  And some commenter on http://www.moviesnaps-tv.net (which totally doesn’t sound like a real thing, which is why I’m not trying to link there) suggests that he looks like Master P, which, again, is false.  Any help in resolving this conundrum would be greatly appreciated.
  • Lando = Doom? The U.S. v. Mexico World Cup qualifier was on, and I kept thinking that Landon Donovan looks like Julian McMahon, the guy that played Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movies.  This may not be true, but it also may not be false.  I award me one point.
  • Marks = BSkts? This, of course, is Sean Marks = Big Skeets.  I think I win this.
  • Paul Pierce is electric early (he wound up being that good throughout, scoring 30 on 19 shots in an 89-77 Celtics win);
  • Rajon Rondo giving up his dribble while being guarded by Big Skeets at the three-point line so he can get Ray Allen a contested 21-footer = NO;
  • Big Skeets getting alley-oops will always surprise me;
  • Which is worse: Rondo’s Rondo-fake into a stepback J/airball or anything Anderson Varejao on offense?

And that’s it.  My fiancee met me out at the bar, we had a drink, I suddenly got very tired, she ordered loaded nachos to go, we went home.  I worked from home yesterday and decided not to write anything; I’m working on a few things now, but nothing’s ready, and I kind of more wanted to use this morning to try to work through why I felt so disconnected from the Internet/had so much trouble getting my head on straight to post over the past few days.

I think I felt weird inside my own skin because my immediate reaction to not getting something substantial up on Tuesday was, “Fuck, I didn’t capitalize on whatever look-in audience might have come from FanHouse.”  Which was weird, because it was the second time in less than a week that I’d had a thought like that (check out the second-to-last paragraph in last week’s “Week in Review” post).  My follow-up in the internal dialogue was, “What the fuck do you care?  You’re just doing this thing for fun, right?”  And the inevitable answer was,  “Because I want to get more readers,” and the inevitable corollary to that is “Because I want this thing to get big,” and that’s when I started to get a little sick inside.

Doing this thing has been remarkably fun and rewarding, and I don’t want to psych myself out of doing it by thinking about it like a small business that’s competing in some kind of depressed sports-joke economy.  The only thing that’ll do is shut this shitshow down on the quick and drive me nuts.  So let’s take this back a step:

Hey there.  I’m Devine.  This is a place where I write dumb shit.  Thanks for reading.  Here’s an unintentionally funny photograph of Jorge Garbajosa and Andrea Bargnani trying to look tough in front of what appears to be a junior prom backdrop. I might write some stuff this weekend; I will definitely write something on Monday.  One post a day, every week day, to distract me and you from our jobs.  Sound fair to you?

File this under “Things That Will Never Happen”

From ESPN.com’s front page:

eddy-sad

Yeah, there are a lot of things it seems like Eddy Curry might find, but normalcy wouldn’t be at the top of the list.

I know it’s well-worn territory, but the last two years of Curry’s life have been just a murderer’s row of horrendousness. He’s been the victim of a home invasion, he’s been reduced to a joke in his professional life, he’s been on the business end of a highly public and extremely embarrassing lawsuit that called his sexuality into question, and then his ex-girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter were murdered, an attack that his son mercifully survived, but was still present for. He’s also had to deal with all this before he even turns 27 (dude’s a little more than two months younger than me) — and, if he doesn’t come back from the knee injury that’s sidelined him for most of this season as a vastly superior player than he was last year, he could be on a path that takes him out of the NBA by age 30, sending him rocketing into the vast nothingness of NeverWas. Dark shadows abound.

All of which is to say: If this guy just wanted to staple himself to a barstool and drink for the next six summers, I’d have a tough time blaming him. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m rooting for you, Eddy. You’ll be in my thoughts as I start drinking. Slainte, boss.

In which your man fires up the ol’ computer to get the scoop on last night’s Knicks game

I didn’t see last night’s Knicks/Warriors tilt — not that I’ve seen any other Knicks tilts this season, what with my out-of-marketdom, my lack-of-League-Passery and my inability-to-procure-even-basic-cable-due-to-significant-broke-assness.  But on the way into work, I heard on the radio that despite NateRob’s best Short Round-esque attempts to warn Wilson Chandler to cover his heart (or at least the paint) as Corey Maggette lets loose a jumper, Dominant Team Pringles dropped a heartbreaker to the Golden State Dubs in Hammerworld.  Just a brutal stretch for the Knicks, as they continue to run up against excellent teams and play balls-out to the best of their abilities, only to come up just short.

Now, to take a spin around the news-gathering world to become more informed about just how well the Knicks acquitted themselves in defeat:

Hmm. That’s funny. Headline for the AP game story on ESPN.com says “Jackson’s 35 points lead Warriors’ 144-127 rout of Knicks.”  Must be a confused editorial intern or something.  Surely the Knicks didn’t give up 144 points to an 18-35 team that’s just beginning to integrate its best scorer back into the lineup while still giving starter’s minutes to this guy.  Surely the rest of the article will clarify that Mike D’Antoni’s squadron performed impeccably throughout:

OAKLAND, Calif. — Al Harrington basked in the boos, calling them down from the rafters with both outstretched arms after he hit a 3-pointer just 61 seconds into his return to Golden State.

The former Warriors forward should have saved whatever energy he possessed for playing a little defense. Harrington and his New York Knicks were just too pitiful to boo while Golden State rolled to the highest point total in the NBA this season. (emph. mine)

“Just too pitiful to boo”?  Oh, this doesn’t sound good.  But you know what?  Fuck the AP.  Bunch of greedy self-righteous dicks, if you ask me, always trying to undermine that which is relevant and hopeful.  Let’s turn to an outlet where the coverage isn’t ruthlessly biased and mean-spirited.   Somewhere like the New York Post, which I’m sure will give me an honest take on Al Harrington’s night:

Harrington was the most hated man in Oakland last night. The ex-Warrior who forced his exit to New York was booed whenever he touched the ball, cheered whenever he missed or had the ball stripped, which was three times. (emph. mine)

With 7:04 left, Harrington was stripped yet again, by ex-Knick Jamal Crawford, leading to a fast-break, Driving slam by Corey Maggette that sent the Warriors ahead 123-104. The Knicks outgunned the Warriors 138-125.

The Warriors spoiled Harrington’s revenge night with a dizzying display of running and gunning. Harrington had a big first half with 22 points before he disappeared, finishing with 24, with four turnovers, making 9 of 20 shots. (emph. mine)

Well, that doesn’t sound too good. But hey, that’s the typical mainstream media line of BULLSHIT, right?  You can’t trust anything you read in the fishwrap worth a damn anymore — the whole industry’s imploding, and attention to detail was on the first floor of the shitheap of a building.  God, look at that second paragraph — does that intermittently capitalized confusion-pile look like something a professional editor would’ve allowed to happen back in the heyday of hard-boiled scribes like Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill?  HELL NO.  And they were always drunk, all the time.

No, sir, any reader worth his salt knows that if you want the REAL story these days, you need to hook up with the blogosphere.  It’s where all the best, sharpest writing is happening, for honest.  I’m sure that Seth over at the excellent site Posting and Toasting will beat back these haters with clear-eyed analysis that is both calm and effusive in its praise of the Knickerbockers:

posting-and-toasting

Holy shit.  It really WAS that bad?  The Knicks just got their asses beat up and down the floor, and you’re telling me there’s no excuse?

God, I feel so hopeless.  Not even “Go New York Go” is dispelling my blues; I’ve watched the ’94 version and the Q-Tip ’09 update six times each, and my sadger’s still on 100, thousand, trillion.  Me llamo Eeyore, y’all.

Whatever.  Guess I’ll just go to the Knicks’ official Web site to put a cap on this depressing morning:

Already shorthanded without Quentin Richardson, the Knicks lost three players, Chris Duhon, Tim Thomas and Jared Jeffries, to injury.

OF COURSE!  INJURIES!  How could you reasonably expect any team to compete against the likes of C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike and this guy without talented, strategically integral pieces like Quentin Richardson, Tim Thomas and Jared Jeffries?  It’s unfathomable.

Injuries as an excuse for abysmal performances, FTW.  Can’t wait to use it again after the Knicks lose to this guy tonight.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images, via Yahoo! Sports’ NBA Photo Gallery.

Finding the silver lining when faced with a s–tcloud that endlessly rains down points

This list pretty neatly encapsulates the way I’ve been thinking about the Knicks since Isiah was powerstripped and D’ontonnie took over last spring.  It’s also why I can’t get really behind “LeBron or bust” (though God, it’s hard not to daydream after what he and Kobe have done on the Garden floor this week) or doing too much in the way of handicapping what five players will start in orange and blue on Opening Night 2010.

Things had to be different to have a chance at being better, and they are now (both better and different, though the Knicks are still a sub-.500 team headed toward the lottery).  Stylistically, intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mercifully, the game in the Garden has changed.  Knicks fans don’t have to be ashamed anymore; the last seven years are over, done, kaput, and I can’t think of any better illustration than the tenor of the national reactions that followed Kobe’s 61 and LeBron’s 52-10-11.

For Christ’s sake, the Knicks have been on the business end of titanic, historic, remarkable individual accomplishments on their home court in losses IN CONSECUTIVE GAMES — and the dominant topic of discussion isn’t, “Man, how awful is this woebegone franchise that’s getting served while their fans root for the bad guys?”  It is, as it should be, the two very different (yet equally jaw-dropping) forms of sharp-fanged athletic alchemy so ruthlessly unveiled by Messrs. Bryant and James against Dominant Team Pringles.

To the extent the Knicks have even been part of the national/league-wide conversation that has followed these two insane performances, the inclusion has mostly come in one of two forms:

  • a minor acknowledgment of the role that their lack of defense played in the two stars getting off so sick-like (a totally fair point, since the Knicks typically don’t play great team defense and don’t have any top-quality individual on-ball defenders, let alone someone who could hope to reasonably check Kobe or God forbid LeBron for more than a tenth of a second), or
  • a note of tacit amazement that New York didn’t get beat by 50, that they didn’t melt into a puddle of tears at the showcase of sheer masculinity they were witnessing … that they were, for large stretches at least, very much in both of these games against far superior individual and collective talents.

It would be absurd to qualify either loss as a net positive for D’Antoni, Walsh, et. al., but there’s something to be said for a coach being able to sell his team on the idea that the two best players in the world not only had to go supernova to beat them, but also that the outcome of each game wasn’t a foregone conclusion every step of the way.  Similarly, fans can find the honor in a team that doesn’t just roll over when they recognize the sword of God wearing a road uni.

But more important than anything else, not a single word of the preceding paragraphs could have been typed with a straight face (or even with a screw-face, really) at any point during the previous seven seasons, and certainly not during Isiah’s run.  The poison’s been purged, the demons exorcised.

Now, does that mean the Knicks’ next seven seasons will be better?  Maybe, maybe not.  But at least it’s not insane to believe that there’s a chance they can be.  Change has to start somewhere, and whatever starting five we end up with is the only one we could have.  Let Jesus take the wheel, Knicks fans, and for the first time this decade, try to enjoy your team as a choose-your-own-adventure story that actually doesn’t have to end with the secret agent you thought was your friend putting two in the base of your skull.  Things could be different; they already are.

Photo via FFFFOUND!

Want

Sweat stains not included.

One bad thing about getting more into the Internet/sports blogs/memes/clothing sites while making middling money during an economic event horizon: I now want $30 T-shirts more than I have at any previous point in my life. So friends and countrymen out there: Get your Marc Cuban, be my Benefactor and cop me that blue flame I need.

Thanks, FirstCuts.