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Jason has been a Knicks fan since the days of Patrick Ewing and John Starks.  He has felt the heartbreak suffered from Michael Jordan for a better part of the 90s along with a disappointing NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets in '94.  He does not speak of anything that happened during the Isiah era.  A time that almost drove him to stop watching NBA basketball altogether.  He has a renewed hope in his favorite team and hope that they can live up to expectations.  He will continue to write about them and anything that can hold his interest for more than 5 minutes.  This blog can also be found at


An Open Letter to Carmelo Anthony

Dear Carmelo,

I recently watched game 4 of the first round series between your New York Knicks and the Miami Heat.  The  Knicks won in a tightly contested match and you played a superb game.  Not only because you scored 41 points with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but you were also the catalyst whenever the Knicks were down, taunting LeBron on defense and making all of the hustle plays.  There is something to be said about a star who ends up on the floor chasing after loose balls at least three times in a game.  We were amazed by your shot selection and your cuts to the basket.  You took 14 free throws, making 10.  On top of all this, you played with a smile on your face.  Like the Knicks and the rest of the New York fans, you knew you had nothing to lose at this point.  You forgot that you were down 3-0 and decided to play hard and have fun. 

I want to stay on this last point for a little bit.  Fun is the reason we watch this sport and played it when we were young.  The up tempo style coupled with having four brothers battle with you on the court.  That is what we love about this game and is what we want to see when we turn on the TV or pay for tickets and go to MSG.  When my buddy Beau and I were discussing this season, we mentioned the word "fun" at least three times in a two minute conversation.  You have to understand.  When you were hurt and the Knicks amassed a seven game winning streak with Lin at the helm, it was fun.  You could see it on the faces of the players and everyone that attended the games.  There was a sense that it was going to be a good time each and every time.  As your timetable to return got shorter and shorter, there were a lot of people saying that the Knicks did not need you and that it was better if you stayed away.  Of course this was not true.  We all forgot that the seven game streak included teams that were well under .500.  Deep down we all know that you are arguably the number one offensive option in all of the NBA and the Knicks are lucky to have you.  We were just scared that you were going to ruin the fun.

Looking back at this past season and a half, we all realized that there was many flaws to this team.  You came midway through last season and the lockout shortened season of this season did not allow the team to develop any cohesion.  A lot of pressure was thrust upon you because the team traded away a large part of their team for you and New York was hungry for a championship.  However, partnerships and teamwork can not be manufactured, they have to developed through hard work and mutual compromise.  It was hard for you and Amar'e to play together.  It was even harder for D'Antoni to understand how all the pieces fit in such a short time.  The one glimpse of fun we had during the winning streak was quickly diminshed when the harder schedule exposed all the flaws of the currently constructed team.  However, after D'Antoni left, fun seemed to be on the menu again. 

As the Knicks battled for the last playoff spot, you lead them to an 18-6 record, the best in the league in that span.  You earned player of the month honors for the month of April.  In my eyes, you have a solid chance of becoming the Most Valuable Player next year.  I do not think you have ever entered the MVP conversation in my memory, but I believe that you can.  This is not because of your offensive firepower, but you have emerged as a leader, and this is what we are looking forward to.  We are waiting to see you make the transcendence into the player that we all believe you can be.  

The Knicks have a slim chance of winning this series.  In fact, you will most likely lose in game 5.  I do not believe that LeBron and Wade will allow this series to stretch out any further.  Nor do I think that the referees will call an even game.  This will be a frustrating game for New York players and fans alike.  However, you have shown that you can lead this team.  Despite the injuries to Lin, Shumpert, and Baron Davis, and with Amar'e and Jeffries playing hurt, the team played with a lot of heart on Sunday and gutted out a game that could have easily been lost.  It gave us an indication of what we could hope for next year.  Now that was fun.


A Knicks Fan


Spurs and LeBron's mouthpiece

Before I delve into the Knicks and their impending quick out, there are two subjects I would like to address. 


My opinion is the same as everyone else's when thinking about the San Antonio Spurs.  It is a feeling of indifference.  However, I decided to change this way of thinking.  With Poppovich's Coach of the Year award and the Spurs claim of the first seed in the Western Conference, I decided it was time to find out if I could like them and sucked it up to watch game 2 of the first round series between the Spurs and the Jazz.  I am amazed that I do not read about the Spurs more.  This team can play almost any style, is arguably one of the best dynasties in NBA history, and has one of the most outstanding NBA citizens in Tim Duncan.  But we do not talk about them.  Instead we discuss all the other "Big Threes" in the league.  The Heat, the Knicks, the Thunder and the Celtics all garner more headlines than the Spurs, who have quietly become the best team in the Western Conference and, in my eyes, the frontrunners to winning their fifth NBA championship in 13 years.  How is it anyway that the Spurs have won championships so many years apart?  1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.  I had to look that up.  I thought they had won three championships.  Even with their championships, they are humble and assuming.  It is like they thought it was too obnoxious to win four championships in five years and decided to space it out so they could fly under the radar.  This year is different though.  With Poppovich winning the award and seemingly have the whole 82 game season planned out (66 regular seasons and 16 wins for a championship), they are finally entering the conversation. 

One quick tangent about Poppovich.  I expect him to release a journal after he retires and the one page about the 2011-2012 NBA season is some crazy complicated decision tree that mapped out every possible scenario, showing the highest probability for the Spurs to win a championship.  In it, I fully expect him to have an 11 game winning streak planned so that he can sit his big three with the greater picture in mind.  In a season where the back breaking schedule caused injuries to be too frequent, can we not praise the genius of Poppovich to sit his best players and groom everyone else in order to hold them accountable to win a game on their own?

Back to my main point, I am now putting them as my top contender for the NBA title this year.  This may be due to the fact that I am typing this after having two martinis, or I just watched them destroy the "just happy to be here" Utah Jazz.  We all know the Heat are making the finals.  But we all still question their resolve to win the big one.  Front what I have seen, their big three is better than any currently out there.  They will beat any pretenders to the big three crown, whether it be the Knicks or the Celtics (even though they pretty much invented the term), as well as any big three teams that come out of the west, including the Lakers or the Thnder.  However, I suspect they will have more trouble with teams such as the Pacers or the 76ers, who play a more team oriented game.  They will still beat these two teams, but these series will expose them. Their weakness is that they still play 3 on 5.  No matter what we hope from their supporting cast, the Miami Heat bench and the other two that start the game, are still the same as last year.  Inconsistent, thus unreliable.  Because of this, any team that functions with a hive mind will push the Heat to the limit.  The Spurs are the ultimate in terms of being a team.  Sure their big three would never beat the Heat in a pickup game, but they can adapt to any style of play, something that the Heat could never achieve given their current makeup.  If the Spurs meet the Heat in the finals, I suspect many people will be disappointed with the boring team beating the exciting team.  However, it reinforces what the NBA is all about.  It is not like the Superbowl, where anything can happen, or the World Series where chance plays a bigger factor than anything else.  The winner of the NBA finals is usually the best TEAM.  That is what the Spurs are.  They are a TEAM that is prepared and hungry for a championship.  After all, it has been 5 years since their last one.  They are due. 


In case you missed it, LeBron had a mouthguard made with the the roman numerals, XVI on it.  This signifies the number of games a team needs to win in order to win the NBA title.  I found it amusing that a commentator suggested that LeBron was more focused this year because he had that made and it was the reason why they are the favorites to win.  I am paraphrasing, but my wife said that if LeBron were truly that focused, he would have had sixteen mouthguards made, from XVI to I, signifying the number of games he had left for a championship.  I think that sums up LeBron's career thus far.  He will never win with the general populace until he truly WINS, and it seems that he does the things people expect him to do.  From only showing up in body to the fourth quarters early in his career, to the decision and the "not one, not two..." quote and now the mouthguard.  LeBron never creates his own path.  He only has a surface commitment.  He is the ultimate "just happy to be in this league" player.  This is coming from a reformed LeBron hater who is trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.  I truly hope that he does win one eventually.  I just do not think it will happen this year because of the aforementioned Spurs.


There is not much to say about game 3 between the Heat and the Knicks.  They lost as expected, despite teasing all of us for the first half.  My respect for Carmelo is continually growing though.  I have always liked him, but his effort in the last two months is truly commendable.  Despite being overmatched by LeBron and company, his play indicated that he did not want to lose this game.  I hope the Knicks faithful take that into account during Melo's next slump or when Jeremy Lin is playing well.  I also hope that the Knicks address their third quarter issues.  On a night where Tyson Chandler receives his Defensive Player of the Year award, and the first half was a battle of defenses, the Knicks still collapsed.  LeBron got his fifth foul early in the third quarter, but the Knicks still could not capitalize and gave the lead away.  LeBron came out with a vengeance in the fourth quarter, destroying the Knicks, and putting the game away. 

I also do not understand why we are entertaining the return of Amar'e and Jeremy Lin.  Why force things when the series has clearly slipped away?  I say give the players who are hurt the directive to completely heal and work on the weaknesses of their respective games in the offseason.  Forget about coming back too quickly and set their sights on owning the 2012-2013 season.  Why would the Knicks management not acknowledge this now?  They have a solid team that can compete next year.  Supposing that they can bring back a solid core, and if they can address mental issues such as having a team mentality and not giving games away in third quarters, the Knicks would be early title contenders on everyone's list.  I say strive to get everyone healed both in body and mind.  That is the only way the currently constructed Knicks can compete. 


NYK vs LeBron Drago

Funny how things work.  I was on my way to work today and thought about how best to describe the current match between the Knicks and Miami.  How they are clearly overmatched and no one is predicting them to win.  Of course, I settled on the Rocky IV, one of the best movies that exemplifies the underdog versus a force of nature. The force of nature in question is Ivan Drago, an unmatched specimen in power and speed.  The natural comparison is to LeBron James, who could arguably be the best player in the NBA if he just took that next step.  I was hoping this series would play out like the movie.  The Knicks clearly getting beat in game 1 and game 2, then with a hint of desperation, throws a punch that cuts the large Soviet.  They then battle it out for the rest of the series, culminating in a knockout blow for the underdog in the final round.  I found it amusing that doing a quick search for "LeBron Drago" on Google yielded this site.  The writer was talking about LeBron and the Cavs versus the Celtics in the 2010 playoffs.  But I digress.  I went into work this morning and what was the first article that I found on but that Amare had punched a glass fire extinguisher case and is out for game 3, possibly for the rest of the series.  The Knicks had punched themselves in their own glass jaw, effectively knocking themselves out this year. 

The game itself was a great example of how good the Heat can be.  They seemed like they were in cruise control, keeping the Knicks at arm's length the whole game.  I knew it was over when I knew every shot Miami took would go in, but I hoped the Knicks shots would.  The Knicks kept it close after the first quarter and were down by three, then doubled it to six at the end of the half.  Once again, the Knicks lost the game in the third quarter where they went almost eight minutes without scoring a field goal.  I never understood that about this team.  The one constant from this team this season is that they are always so flat in the third quarter, usually letting a team catch them if leading, pull away if behind.  They did it under D'Antoni and now with Woodson as well.  I hope this is addressed for game 3.  I would hate to see them head into the locker room with a ten point lead, only to give it away in the third quarter. 


I still think the Knicks win this one.  I thought game 2 could possibly be the "get out the way, I am going to score at least 40 points tonight" statement game from Carmelo, but it will definitely be game 3.  With no Stoudemire, the Madison Square Garden crowd will demand it of Melo and he better deliver. 

Knicks 106, Miami 100.

We will see how they perform and if the rest of the Knicks gain some momentum and help Melo carry the burden for the rest of the series.  Otherwise, this will not be Rocky IV, but Rocky III.  Where an immature Rocky is unprepared for the first fight and loses quickly in the first fight.  He then refocuses, and at the end of the movie, takes every punch Clubber Lang can muster and knocks him out in the end.  This may be the story of the Knicks this season.  They are just too immature and unprepared, and have to wait until next time to prove they are champions. 


Mea Culpa

Wow, what a terrible game.  I was fortunate enough to have a prior commitment and TiVo'd the first game of the Knicks-Miami series.  This allowed me the luxury to fast forward through the last two and a half quarters of the game.  I guess I was a game off.  I thought game 2 would be a blowout, not this one.  It did not help that Carmelo came out flat, starting 0 for 5.  They were in it and only down by a few points for the beginning of the game.  That is, until the referees took over and had a series of bad calls, culminating in a flagrant 2 call on Tyson Chandler that was later rescinded.  A flagrant 2?  I looked up the definition of a flagrant 2 on

A flagrant foul 2 is unnecessary and excessive contact. This usually has a swinging motion, hard contact, and a follow through.

I do not feel that what happened falls into any of these categories.  The referee overreacted to Lebron's overreaction. Is there not a a psychiatric class we can send referees so that they can block out the raucous crowd?  It is just amazing how cognizant they are of who the home team is.  I am not saying that the Knicks would have won this game, but if you are calling touch fouls, at least call them both ways.    As I stated, this was a tough one to predict and deemed it a 50/50 game, with it being the Knicks best chance of stealing one.  Alas, it was not to be.  The Knicks did not show the resiliency of a championship caliber team when things were not going their way.  However, I think they will bounce back.  Carmelo will go off tomorrow and not make the same mistakes he had in the first minutes of game 1.  Woodson will get them more focused on defense, despite the loss of a great defender in Shumpert.  I still have faith in the Knicks and they will get better.  Hopefully in time to keep the game interesting.


Since game 1 was the blowout game and not game 2 as I had predicted, I will revise my thoughts accordingly.  Because of what happened on Saturday, game 2 will be a lot closer.  They will be playing from behind for most of the game, but the referees will let them play a little more and it will be more physical.  Unless Carmelo scores at least 30 points and gets everyone else going, the Knicks will be heading back to New York down 2.  This will probably not happen and Miami will win this one, even if I do not want it to be so.

Comments for some of the other game 1's in the league:

  • Derrick Rose is out for the rest of the season.  Looks like the march to the finals has now been gift wrapped for the Heat.  Another reason why the referees should be fairer.  At least give teams the chance they deserve to compete and give fans something to watch.
  • Great finish in the Mavs-OKC game.  I felt bad for the Mavs because I thought they deserved that one, but they blew the lead.  I thought it was fitting that Durant's game winning shot had to bounce around a few times before going in.  He is a great player but still has a little more to go before making the transcendence.
  • Another terrible referee call that took away from what could have been a great finish.  The Celtics were on their way until that referee took the steam away and threw out Rondo.  Rondo was dumb for doing what he did, but it was a series of bad calls that led to that point.

One interesting stat is that the winners of the first game has won 78.2% of the series.  This does not bode well for my Knicks.  Nor the Celtics or the Clippers who appear to be getting blown out at the moment, two other teams I like.  Let us all hope the game 2's make all the series a little more interesting. 


Excitement to the Max

As we all know by now, our beloved, yet flawed Knicks team will be entering the first round of the NBA playoffs playing the Miami Heat.  As we entered the final weeks of the regular season there were a lot of matchup speculation and many tried to pick the best team for the Knicks to meet in the first round.  Like it or not, it will be the Miami Heat.  This may not have been the matchup everyone thought was best, but it is definitely the matchup all of us want to see.  I am not going to dive too deep into the pairings, whether Melo and LBJ cancel each other out, if Amare has an advantage over Bosh, or even if Shumpert and Chandler can maintain the level of excellent defense they have exhibited all season.  You can read all those articles on ESPN.  The only thing that I hope the Knicks work on is their third quarter play.  This is what gave away the game on April 3rd versus Indiana.  It is when Miami pulled away on April 15th and almost lost leads on April 17th against Boston and then 5 days later against Atlanta.  I do not mind losing hard fought games by a point or being blown out by twenty, but it is painful to watch your team build a comfortable lead and then have the other team come out of the gates in the second half to close the gap.  If the Knicks can fix that, they have a chance against any team they face. 

I see most predictions stating that Miami will win in either 5 or 6.  I will analyze it game by game, working backwards starting with game 7.  The playoff format will be 2-2-1-1-1 with Miami being the first and last stop.

GAME 7.  I do not see the Knicks winning this one in Miami.  They have not been consistent enough on the road to give me faith in this.  Additionally, Lebron plays New York really well, and we will not see a LBJ collapse in the fourth quarter on this one.  However, this will be a crazy game and it will come down to the wire.  I expect a couple thrown, but missed, elbows (of course unintentional).  Wade will pull it out in the end, probably on free throws. 

GAME 6.  How can any analyst predict the Knicks would lose the series in game 6?  If they make it this far, the collective will of New York fans will single-handedly take this game.  There is no way they would allow anything otherwise.  There is nothing more to say on this one.

GAME 5.  Like game 7, I do not see the Knicks winning this one.  In the unlikely scenario that they are up 3-1, the Knicks will not have the wherewithal to clinch it in game 5 when they can wait until game 6 at home (they will want to win it in front of the Garden crowd almost as much as the fans).  If the situation were reversed and Miami was up 3-1, no way do they want to go back to the garden.  They need to finish the Knicks off and start worrying about the next round, which will probably be up against a young Pacers team with no fear because they will fall into the "just happy to be there" case.   If it is tied 2-2, Miami's playing at home and its playoff experience will pull them through.  

GAME 4.  This is a 50/50 game.  Too hard to tell.  Either Miami runs the Knicks out of the Garden or the Novak/JR Smith discount double check unconscious three pointers go wild and they shoot lights out.  Gun to head, I would probably pick Miami on this one.

GAME 3.  This is game 6 except with slightly more anticipation and a hint of desperation for the MSG crowd.  Going with the Knicks on this one.  If they even show a remote sign of slipping, the fans will get the Knicks back on track.  The fans think this team is good enough that they will never allow the players to NOT meet their expectations.

GAME 2.  No way Miami loses this one.  If they are up a game, they will not want to go back to New York tied 1-1, with the Garden crowd potentially swinging the momentum in the Knicks's favor.  If they lose the first game, they will play with even more desperation so that they will not be swept.  Lebron gets a triple double with at least 40 points on this one.

GAME 1.  As you may have gleaned from the previous paragraphs, this sets the tone for the rest of the series.  I do not know what to expect.  I am so excited for this game that I cannot form any rational thoughts.  This is a 50/50 game yet again.  Yes, Miami is playing at home, but I anticipate the New York fans to be so loud that it will be hard to tell which team is at home if not for the logo at center court.  So many variables to this game.  Do the Knicks come out guns blazing, three pointers at the ready, or will they come out flat?  With two superstars, a stellar defense and the expectations of the biggest market in the NBA, do they become the heroes that they were signed to be?  I cannot sit still to even blog about it. 

To recap, from game 1 to 7, I have 50/50, Miami, Knicks, 50/50, Miami, Knicks, Miami.  This means Miami in 5 or 7; or the Knicks in 6.  I feel Miami in 5 is the lowest probability.  The Knicks have too much pride and Carmelo has been playing too well recently to win only one game, especially playing two games at home and in a Miami market that has been kind to them in the past.  That leaves Knicks in 6 or Miami in 7.  Honestly, if I were a betting man, I would have to go with Miami in 7.  I do not think the Knicks have established enough of an identity to take the pivotal games.  They are a team that loves to hover around the .500 mark so they will allow Miami to come back if they have a lead.  But...if Carmelo transcends and becomes the player we want him to be...if he maintains his offensive firepower, keeps playing defense and rebounding...takes that next step like Pierce did in '08, Nowitzki in '11...then he will be the greatest Knick ever in my eyes.  Screw it, Knicks in 6, and then a march to the finals.  Mark it (for now, and I will update soon to boast or make a lot of excuses).