Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The Knicks look cripplingly depressed. I think this Marbury thing has everyone feeling like "here we go again." Randolph being out doesn't help the mood. And here is the rest of it. Read more

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Knicks-Nuggets Afterglow

Oh man. It feels good. Let that 2-1 record sink in, Knicks fans, let it sink in completely. These are the days, baby, these are the days! I can't remember the last time I felt this good about a Knicks win. You'd have to go back to the Patrick era and then I probably took em for granted. But do you want to share this moment with some lame beat writers? Fuck no! Come with me through a sampling of messageboard comments from the most win-starved fans in the league:

How happy are we about the Knicks? Well there's this English chap on Posting and Toasting leading the pack:

"I fucking love Eddy Curry, he can do anything he likes to my missus, it would be an honour for me!"

Oh those Brits and their "ou" in "honor." Next we have the inevitable Prophet of the Book of Isiah commenting on Berman's blog:

"And who put this team together? ISIAH THOMAS!!! All you 'writers' have been killing him for all the 'bad' moves he's made. How about giving some credit where credit is due. when the team loses, it's all about how Thomas assembled a team of large egos/contracts with little in the way of skills and cohesion. So when the team wins, why not swallow your pride, admit you were wrong and give credit. The man had a plan. he's stuck to it regardless of what you 'writers' say."

If this keeps up he's got a serious point but 3 games in may not be the best time to bust out the mea culpas. Still -- remember what the team used to look like? Here's a reminder:
Hope his retirement is going well -- fortunately for Keith you don't need to play defense in golf.

Over at Knickerblogger, commenter Gregson summed things up well:


And that's it for now. A fantastic win against a very entertaining team. My heart was racing from minute one and never slowed down.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knicks vs. Nuggets

Everyone's harping on the brawl last year now that the Nuggets are coming to town. I personally don't care about it too much and don't think it was so big a deal. It was great that the Knicks played so well afterwards, but as an incident no one would care much if it weren't for the Detroit-Indiana ruckus a few years back. Now, the game itself, that's where I have my worries...

Denver, on the surface, appears to be a team just built to destroy the Knicks. They have a lethal perimeter shooter in Carmelo and an all-time great slasher in Iverson, who require a large shot blocking help defender and some semblance of perimeter defense to deal with. So far the Knicks have neither, and seeing how the Greg Buckners of the world are dropping bombs on the Knicks, there's no reason to think the Linas Kleiza's won't be able to. In Nene, a theoretically healed K-Mart, and Camby, they have arguably the best 3-man frontcourt rotation outside of the Knicks, almost a mirror image of the Curry-Randolph-Lee juggernaut focused on the defensive instead of the offensive end. The Knicks often play up to the level of their opponent (or down to their level, ala Minnesota) so hopefully they'll bring it, but this team will be a major test in the best of circumstances.
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Sunday, November 4, 2007

WTF Musharraf?

The situation in Pakistan is probably even scarier than the news seems to treat it. The more crazy dictator Musharraf gets and the stronger the Islamists become in the areas out of government control, the closer the country gets to some Iran-style revolution or just plain chaos. That means nukes, fellas, stuck in the worst of places. I hope someone -- Pakistan, the CIA, the French, Scooby Doo -- has a very good plan sitting around as to what to do should that situation arise. Is there a way to make sure the crazies don't get a bomb that's not, you know, apocalyptic?

But Doc Strangelove scenarios aside, let us parse how bizarre The General's speech was today. From the New York Times:

"The general, dressed in civilian clothes, quoted Lincoln, citing the former president’s suspension of some rights during the American Civil War as justification for his own state of emergency."

Lincoln was so badass that Pakistani dictators can cite him as a rationale for overthrowing the government? Does Musharraf read the National Review all day? And isn't Pakistan the number one country for America-hating in the known universe? Maybe the best plan isn't to reassure your citizens with "We'll be just like our hated America during its most bloodiest period of civil strife!"

As if to confirm that Musharraf's speechwriter is a member of The Corner:

"He accused the country’s Supreme Court of releasing 61 men who he said were under investigation for terrorist activities. 'Judicial activism,' he said, had demoralized the security forces, hurt the fight against terrorism and slowed the spread of democracy."

Apparently "Judicial Activism" is a magic word that lets you do anything you want as President in Pakistan, too! At least the judges aren't letting the gays get hitched there, then he might declare himself dictator-for-life instead of just dictator-for-indefinite-vaguely-defined-crisis.
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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Knicks-Cavs Breakdown

I'm kind of surprised at how harsh the press is on the first Knicks game. They collapsed on old nemeses of free throw shooting and 3 point defense, but there was also a lot to like. Let us discuss...

People seem to suddenly forget that the Knicks' biggest problem last year was turnovers. They were god-awful, with no ball movement beyond tossing it into Curry. Tonight it was like a different team -- crisp passes around the perimeter to find open 3s for Nate, jump shots for Z, and Curry down low. This was against one of the better defensive teams in the league, mind you. If they can play as fluidly as last night, they will see improvement in their record on that alone.

Zach Randolph looked fantastic. I think after a lifetime of Knicks basketball, I somehow expect every all-star the Knicks acquire to immediately become a crappy player the second they put on a Knicks jersey. McDyess, say? But he was as advertised, bombing away with an absolutely gorgeous 20 footer and collecting offensive rebounds with aplomb. He didn't seem to step on Curry's toes at all on offense, with both looking comfortable. Curry looked very in control of his body after a wild preseason. Also on the big man front, Lee played limited minutes but showed off a more refined post game then we've seen before. With all three playing well that is a monster for any team to handle.

The 3 point defense was god-awful, of course. And it will cost them many games if they don't improve. Interior defense, however, showed flashes of improvement while still remaining pretty lousy. Zach and Curry fronted their man and Gooden and Ilgauskas didn't nuke the Knicks, as mediocre big men with half-decent offensive skills often do.

So I'm not happy with the loss. But I'm not at all ready to start declaring the Knicks in trouble or unimproved after that performance. They have to start winning quickly though, another weak November can kill them for the season.
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Friday, November 2, 2007


Let's get them out of the way now. A few guesses at what 2007-2008 holds.

1. First of all: Knicks record is going to be 50-32. I don't believe it, but I really hate that the conventional wisdom is so narrow now and someone has to bust it open. The pessimists say 37 wins and the optimists say 41. It really isn't exactly a wide range of opinion, except for Sports Illustrated which picks them as the 6th seed in the East. I think this time can win games -- the preseason looked very promising in some instances, especially the wins over Boston and Philly in which the Knicks showed good ball movement on O and surprising teamwork on D. If they can bottle that and hit their open 3s...damn, they might be something.

2. Next, lets get to awards. Champions will be the Suns. Why? Because I want them to be and it's their turn. They're looking better every season and I think Barbosa's natural improvement and Amare's continued recovery will kick them up another level. Plus they got Grant Hill around, who's good for at least 20 games. Maid Marion was my first round pick in fantasy basketball, so they better kick ass.

MVP, I'm picking KG. The league is so ready to embrace the new Celtics that I think if they put up any reasonable number of wins they won't have a choice. I think Lebron will have an incredible season but I don't see the Cavs getting better, what with their contract issues and aging center. Unless Boobie Gibson turns into a beast this season, they're sort of stuck.

ROY is Durant. Come on. I watched his season opener and even shooting a low percentage he looked ready.

Defensive Player of the Year, I'll leave to the experts. Sportswriters love to pick Bruce Bowen for reasons I don't seem to understand (really, when you can funnel guys into Duncan for a block you're whole career it's a pretty big advantage). He's like the indie pick. The Pitchfork's Best New Music of player award predictions.

Coach of the Year - Marc Iavaroni. Memphis is going to be awesome this season and Darko is going to fit the system well and compliment Pau Gasol as a defensive enforcer.

Executive of the Year - If Celtics win 50, you'd have to be insane not to give it to Danny Ainge. Considering his horrible reputation until now, that's kind of amazing and should give hope to Isiah.

3. Assorted Stuff

Kobe will be traded to some team no one guessed was in the running. Much like when KG went to Boston, I think Washington or Philadelphia or some other shocker will be the winner.

Shawn Marion won't be traded. I love him in Phoenix too much to comprehend it.

Ron Artest will be traded to the Knicks by the deadline, who by then will be looking to make some playoff noise. He'd be a perfect fit for the team if they can get him to an extension - he plays tough defense and helps commit the other players to his style, hits 3s, and in general does everything the Curry-Randolph frontcourt needs to support it.

Can't wait for the Knicks season to start. My absurd optimism strategy is now in it's third or fourth straight year. It's going to be awesome when it finally works out.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ethics are for Losers

It's the oldest cliche that history is written by the winners, but sports, whose very raison d'etre is to produce winners, are so perfect an example of this truism that it's worth dusting off for another look.

It's been tossed out there already that if the Knicks just started winning, all of their off-court transgressions would become trivial. This is absolutely true, but usually when people write this they mean it in the most cynical way possible. That is to say that everyone's sexual indiscretions and character flaws will go away, not that they should go away, and even then they mean will go away in the media, not will go away in the eyes of The Lord, or something like that.

But then there's Marc Berman, pushing things to new levels of amorality: "JUST WIN, ISIAH!"

Berman ups the ante on the popular sports religion that places winning above all. When he writes:

"Thomas certainly will be booed loudly during the home opener Sunday and he must realize the boos are not just about his sexual-harassment defeat in court, but 118-182. It is all intertwined."

It truly isn't intertwined to Berman. What he means is that he could care less about the sexual-harassment defeat and the host of other character issues facing Isiah. He wants to see some victories. Berman's bullying tone takes on the the air of a jeremiad, but his column is in service of The Desolate One, promoting the trivial to religious status.

Look, the book about my beloved '86 Mets is called "The Bad Guys Won!" The violently misogynistic Jailblazers, whose Portland fans literally bought billboard space to decry, would have surely received similarly cheeky reverence if they had only made good on their championship promise. A strategically timed broken foot from Shaq and we'd be reading "The Jailblazers Won!" at Barnes and Noble instead. Just ask Rasheed Wallace, the tattooed technical machine and poster boy for Portland's bad boy era, who rehabilitated his legend almost overnight by winning a championship with Detroit.

I ask my basketball team to hit threes and play defense, not emulate Gandhi. Not that I take pride in having a convicted sexual harasser on the bench. But seriously, Marc Berman, even if it is true that:

"Thomas has to realize the only place he needs to win now is on the basketball court and everything else will take care of itself."

Do we really have to celebrate it?
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