Ish Happens – Player Movement NYC to the Bay

Last night the Warriors announced that they were releasing Ishmael Smith, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the Knicks connections.  Sounds pretty weird for a guy who wasn’t rosterable on a 3-7 team, but trust me the Knicks of the past, present, and future are strongly connected. Read more of this post

In Your Face, Malik – Knicks 85 Sixers 79

Malik Rose, you were a forgettable player from a forgettable era.

“Knicks are going to let them back in the game.  It’s like historical.  They always do that.” So said Malik Rose right before the teams entered the half with the Knicks leading 45-35.  Unless you believe that game jerseys have magical powers and white jerseys with “New York” on the front cause players to blow second half leads, the logic of his prediction made no sense.  Other than Jared Jeffries (who thankfully didn’t play last night) this team is completely different than those architected by Isiah Thomas during Malik’s time in New York.  Heck, this team is vastly different than the team from the beginning of last season. I’m probably giving Malik a hard time.  I think he happens to be a pretty good rookie announcer even though, after a 13-year career, he didn’t know that a player gets two free throws on a flagrant foul.  So this isn’t “one plus one is two, all day long, and it’s never gonna change. And that’s factorial.”

Malik was on point all night long with his criticism of Carmelo Anthony, and on multiple occasions said he preferred having Melo in the game becasue the ball movement stopped, making the Knicks easier to defend.  We’ve already detailed Melo’s selfishness and poor decision making late in games, but tonight was a new kind of awful.  The box score reads that Anthony had 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes, but he also needed 24 shots and committed five turnovers.  Pretty inefficient statistically speaking, however, the real problems were the things that don’t show up in the box score. Read more of this post

Power Rankings and Sweet Lou

Lou Williams is a Boss

The first Hollinger power rankings were released today on ESPN and the Knicks are a dissapointing 24th largely due to a 5-4 record against the easiest schedule in the league so far.  Unsurprisingly, the Heat and Bulls are two of the best teams in the league ranking 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Somewhat surpisingly, the Philadelphia 76ers are the number one team in the league.

In anticipation for tonight’s Knicks game, I watched some of the Philly-Sacramento game and I am pretty scared.  This is a real deep team that brings Thaddeus Young (third in 6th man voting last year) along with a backcourt of Evan Turner and, my favorite Sixer, Lou Williams off the bench.  D’Antoni would kill to have those guys as the starting backcourt.  So, in the soon to be overused word of the season, that Philly bench is cray, and it’s not surpising to see them in first.

In addition to getting me significantly worried about tonight’s game, last night’s Sixers game also gave the opportunity to increase my irrational admiration for Sweet Lou Williams.  For years, I’ve been dreaming of Williams on the Knicks Read more of this post

Week In Review

Before the season began, if you asked me to guess which five teams have the best chance of finishing with the worst record in the league, there is a good chance that my list would have been Sacramento, Toronto, Charlotte, Washington, and Detroit. The Cavs and Nyets would have also gotten strong consideration. Coming off a blowout win in Sacramento, it wasn’t foolish to look ahead and imagine that the Knicks would end this week on a five game winning streak. Instead the Knicks split their games, losing both at home and winning both on the road, but easily could have been 1-3 for the week if the undisciplined and still winless Wizards pulled out the victory. How did it all go down? Let’s review.

Against the Raptors on Monday, the offense looked terrible and the Knicks went into halftime down a painful 51-34 at the Garden. Stoudemire was still out with his ankle injury, and we were still a game away from the beginning of Shumpamania. Tyson Chandler miraculously managed to play 43 minutes without fouling out, and Volume Scorer Carmelo Anthony had 35 points on 31 shots making up 40% of the team’s 78 FG attempts. Normally I’d say that is too many shots for one player, but Anthony shot a relatively robust 41% from the floor (13 for 31), while the rest of the team was 15 for 47 for a less than sizzling 32%. Former cult hero Josh Harrellson scored two points in 33 minutes and Mike Bibby was scoreless in an ineffective 15 minutes of action. As Mike pointed out in his recap, this was a bad loss to a team that is largely comprised of players who won 22 games last year, but it was an understandable loss as the Knicks were looking ahead to playing the ’86 Celtics at the Boston Garden. Read more of this post

Announcing Around the League

Was watching some of the Kings – Magic game on League Pass being broadcast by the Kings and working on the weekly recap. Suddenly, I heard Jim Gray’s voice and looked up to see that he was reporting an update on Tyreke Evans’ injury from earlier in the game. Then I heard the color commentary say his name was Bill Walton before asking Gray a follow-up. Apparently both work for the Kings part-time.

So are the Maloofs broke or not? That has to be an expensive broadcast team, even if both are not working every game. Jim Gray has seen better days, but he was the reporter for LeBron’s decision, and definitely has to cost a lot more than any other sideline reporter in the league. Ditto for Walton who was once the number one color analyst for ABC/ESPN. He has to be more expensive than what Olden Polynice, The Wizard Walt Williams, and Mitch Richmond would cost combined. NBA owners are dumb.

Speaking of dumb, the Thunder’s color commentator, Grant Long has a contribution. Long was a member of the inagural Heat squad and played 1,000 games in a nice career. While Tim Duncan was at the line, the broadcasters were discussing Duncan’s FT% when Long opined of Duncan “I think he is a Hall of Famer.” Thanks for the insight. He went on to say that ice cream is delicious, the sun will come out tomorrow, and Blue Ivy is a weird name.

Game Recap: One for the Scrubs – Knicks 102 Pistons 80

Good teams beat bad teams and they beat bad teams on the road. Last night’s Knicks victory surpassed the Sacramento win as the team’s best game of the season. With the lockout cutting training camp short and earlier season injuries, the Knicks took longer than people expected/wanted to find their rhythm. Last night will either be a sign of things to come or an early season aberration. I think it’s the former.

The defining sequence was in the mid second quarter.  STAT and Melo ran a beautiful give and go as Stoudemire found Melo on a back door cut that would have made Pete Carril proud. Then after a quick Pistons miss, the Knicks got the board and ran. It wasn’t a fast break but it wasn’t half court offense, it was something the SSOL Suns did so well. Melo pushed the pace and before the defense could settle found Bibby who hit one of his four three pointers for the quarter. The first play was something that happens when you have two of the best dozen or so offensive players in the game working together, and the second was something that D’Antoni teams do.

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A Machiavellian Look at NBA Fandom

“It’s not about about East or West. It’s about power and money. Riders and punks. Which side are you on?”
-Tupac Shakur
 
Whether you think Pac is the GOAT or overrated lyrically, no will deny that he used his talent and charisma to be one of the, if not the, most influential rapper of all time. If you need proof go listen to “Brendas Got a Baby” and think about what you could write at 19. 2pac inspired countless with his rhymes, and at the same time he was an enigmatic and crazy mofo. No matter, fans ate up everything he did. In 1994, he released the mysogynistic “I Get Around” and the touching “Keep ‘Ya Head” as back to back singles, but no one really cared about the contradiction. When he slept with Biggie’s wife and bragged about in “Hit em’ Up,” he somehow gained more fans even though you would side with Biggie if the same thing happened with two of your friends (none of my friends are rappers, so it would have to be cheating caught on Facebook or something). Like most things in life, TuPac was complex, but he worked damn hard to earn the privilege of being embraced for that complexity.

A couple of months prior to his death he changed his name to Makaveli to make the very raw 7 Day Theory. As the legend goes, Pac recorded his verses in less than a week of late night sessions. During the day he was filming the movie Gang Related, so he was operating on fumes and still managed to make a classic rap album. The album opens with a fake news cast poking fun at other rappers who took shots at Pac in rhyme (poor Prodigy) and some rappers who had no idea they earned Tupac’s wrath (see Jay-Z). Then the fake newscast cuts to Tupac reading a press release and the quote at the top. Brilliantly he removes the geography from his feud with Biggie and makes it more polarizing. To him, it’s clear that there is something innately off about his rivals and most of them just happen to be from New York. He didn’t hate them because they were New Yorkers, after all, he could kick it with Boot Camp. Instead, he hated them because they weren’t riders; you couldn’t count on them when ish got thick. And in Tupac’s dichotomous world, if you weren’t riding with him you were his enemy, and therefore you were a punk. It was crazy and probably rooted in paranoia, but it was an oddly familiar perspective.
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