Tag Archives: carmelo anthony

The Knicks Have A Plan

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As I was about to throw my phone across the room in anger because the Knicks were about to let their first really good point guard since Rod Strickland (smh) walk away I saw this aura with a orange hue hover above me.

It was the ghost of Knicks coaching great Red Holtzman who prevented me from making a $250 mistake.

Enough intro, here’s what happened:

Red: what the hell is wrong with you?
Me: I’m sick of this damn team! Every year it’s the same old (bleep). Bring in older players, poor contracts, and letting go of really good players that we really need. Why?!?! Why us?!?! Did you see our draft?! Kostas Posdonous? Who the hell is that.
Red: (to the side) let me not bring up why we have no draft picks.
Me: huh?!
Red: nothing. Look, calm down Kevin it’s not the end of the world. What of I told you that the Knicks had an actual plan?
Me: is Isaiah Thomas apart of it?
Red: thank god no! It’s bigger than even his narrow- minded head could come up with. You should thank the Houston Rockets for doing you a huge favor.
Me: you’re losing me Red.
Red: have you seen that contract? It’s horrible. 5 mill over the first two seasons then 14 mill in the last season. If the Knicks agree to that then they’ll be paying $40 mill after luxury tax rapes them in the last year of that deal.
Me: … Ouch.

(side note: while everyone was dissecting Carmelo Anthony’s “ridiculous contract” statement… Um he’s right. I liked Linsanity, I like Jeremy Lin, but in two years unless he actually becomes Steve Nash 2.0 do I want to kill my luxury dollars on him? Hell no.)

Red: yup. Who knows if this kid is more than a 35 game wonder. Why kill your dollars for him?
Me: ok Red, I get that… BUT WE HAVE NO POINT GUARDS!!! We just signed Jason Kidd at 39 and the flabby wonder Raymond Felton. We’re still a crappy backcourt team especially without Iman Shumpert.
Red: but can you hold on for one more year?
Me: huh?
Red: picture next offseason Chris Paul in a Knicks uniform.
Me: I don’t get it.
Red: this is the real reason the Knicks aren’t signing Lin its CP3. Paul already rejected an extension with LA and is eyeing the Knicks. Neither team has enough firepower to make a deal happen right now so instead Paul will play out his last year and join the Knicks after the season. In order for the Knicks to have a shot at getting Paul they can’t sign Lin. It’s too much money, too much luxury tax and too much hassle.
Me: oh (bleep).
Red: next year the Knicks can also kill Amare Stoudamire’s deal as well to give them more room and sign an actual power forward who can rebound and isn’t scared of the paint.
Me: you hate Amare too?
Red: don’t get me started.

(think about this for a minute. It’s possible that next year the Knicks could have CP3, and Melo. Get rid of Amare’s horrible deal and get a real power forward or trade him for Josh Smith like I’ve been asking for 890 years, and they’ve quietly built up a decent bench with Steve Novak and Felton who works way better as a backup instead of a starter. Wait a minute, will the Knicks actually be a competitive basketball franchise that can actually function? Brain overload.)

Me: so wait a minute, we’re actually looking ahead, being patient and building this team up for something big instead of rushing?
Red: crazy isn’t it? It only took them ten years to figure it out.
Me: but I have to sit through one more crappy year.
Red: it’s the Knicks you’re used to it.
Me: true.
Red: Linsanity was fun, it was great, we all bought t-shirts and watched his highlights. But after 35 games, five turnovers a game, poor defense and that horrible contract the Rockets are giving him, is it worth it to give up something bigger for a few more dollars in merchandise?
Me: I guess you’re right.
Red: the Knicks are getting close. Brooklyn’s making noise, the Cavs may get Andrew Bynum, and the Heat and Celtics are there. However, Chris paul in NYC changes everything. The Knicks become important, they become a title contender and they become the big boys in the East. That’s real insanity. So cheer up, relax and don’t worry, the Knicks may be alright after all.
Me: thanks Red I appreciate it… Wait, why’d you say MAYBE alright?
Red: it’s the Knicks. You know if anyone can screw this up they can.

Thus is the life of a Knicks fan. Even with a plan coming together we all know that at any moment things can get jacked up.


Amare’s Story

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Whenever I used to get mad at anything back in the day I used to turn on A Tribe Called Quest’s 8 million stories.

It was a song off of their Midnight Marauders album that was the antithesis of a bad day.

Why am I telling you this? Because after Amare Stoudamire decided to kill his season and the Knicks slim playoff chances I needed a breather and this song was this the first thing I thought about.

Naturally I wondered what would happen if Amare was Phife Dog on this song.

Well, here’s what came out of those thoughts:

Went to NY to get a new deal
Dolan opened up gave me $100 mil
Openly said that the Knicks was back
Fresh blue suit with a matching hat
Hated D’antoni out in Phoenix
Now I’m the man I’m the cleanest
New York had to drop David Lee
What they don’t his game is just like me
Went to Melos wedding back in August
Told him roll here and we’d all fit
Yeah to score both of us would need the ball
And we can’t play D but no prob at all
Started ballin out fans shouting MVP
Yet couldn’t rebound or even play d
Droppin 25 a night NY lovin me
Around January up there goes my knees
Finally the Knicks bring Melo back home
Should’ve known then that trouble would soon be on
He like ISO me I like to run the floor
And in half court i probably shouldn’t play at all
Everytime I saw the paint I had to peel out
When the playoffs came around I had to deal out
Shots started droppin low like my scoring
Couldn’t play a good game against Boston
All these problems that I’m havin and I cant correct them
And to top it off the league is locked out kid

(side note if you ever have a bad day A Tribe Called Quests 8 million stories is the best song to listen to. It covers every single bad part of everyone’s day. When I lived in Maryland this song was on repeat weekly. Yeah, I’ll never get over my hatred of Maryland.)

The lockout is over less stress see
Chris is now ballin with LAC
we need a point guard since we dumped Chauncey
Can baron be the man unlikely
Mike and Melo really ain’t workin
Here comes Linsanity now I’m really hurtin
Once Melo left I thought my game was on
Instead Tyson Chandler had it goin on
Can’t get a shot with Melo or J Lin
Back sat me down now they ballin
Woodson took over talkin bout defense
Moved Melo to the four now they intense
Came back now here are down 2-0
So frustrating make me wanna hit the door
See this piece plastic taking out my frustration
Damn, here come the ambulance racing


Please End The D’antoni Era

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I didn’t watch the New York Knicks game yesterday… Didn’t need to.

I just followed the flow of the game on Twitter and filled in the blanks… Jeremy Lin and turnovers blah blah blah… Melo missing shots blah blah blah… Amare Stoudemire with only 9 & 5… Knicks not playing defense… Landry fields torched by Evan Turner… BLAH BLAH FREAKIN BLAH!!!

The Knicks are back as Amare once shouted in his news conference last year to mark his NY arrival, back to playing bad basketball that is. Linsanity was fun for awhile. The Ben & Jerry’s flavors, the t-shirts, the sheer joy and hope that maybe the Knicks were turning a corner, now after a five game losing streak the Knicks are stuck at the eighth spot in the East and stuck in neutral as a team without direction or any energy.

And it’s Mike D’antoni’s fault.

Don’t blame this on Carmelo Anthony who is being fed to the lions as we speak, don’t blame Lin for losing steam because he’s technically still a rookie… This latest stink job is solely on D’antoni and his lack of skill as a coach.

You have two capable point guards, an all world scorer, a team full of talent and you still don’t know how to make it work this late in the season?

D’antoni’s run and gun offense has been a bust in the big apple. After reading yesterday’s stat sheet and seeing Lin lead the team in shots with 18 it’s clear that D’antoni has no clue about what to do with this team.

Which means by the time I’m done with this article the New York Knicks should have told him to kick rocks with no shoes on, seriously.

I’m over the D’antoni era, the lack of defense, control in the offense, and energy from his players at times. D’antoni is not a coach, or a motivator or even a plausible human being at this point (think that’s mean? Go read what’s being said about him by fans and writers alike. It ain’t pretty.).

The Knicks need a new direction. They need someone to instill defense in them, to give them direction, to make them look like an NBA franchise and not whatever this is on the basketball court.

I don’t know if it’s Phil Jackson, or Jerry Sloan, or hell it could be Tom Coughlin for all I care, the point is that the guy currently holding down the coaches chair in Madison Square Garden isn’t getting it done and there needs to be a change.

It needs to be done fast too. The Knicks had promise just two weeks ago and were looking to move up the eastern conference playoff ladder. Now they’re in danger of missing the playoffs all together.

Things need to happen and first on that list is relieving Mike D’antoni of his duties as coach of the New York Knicks.

It’s getting to the point where I don’t have to watch the Knicks to know how pathetic they are doing. Isn’t that enough to get him out?


Consumed By Linsanity

I Believe in this man.

The Knicks are a car accident to watch. It’s such a frightening mess and I know it’s bad to look at yet I still drag myself to a television set to watch this pathetic mess almost every night.

Last year they couldn’t play defense, this year they forgot how to score.
Bill Walker is a lackadaisical mess. Toney Douglas gets too trigger happy. Amare Stoudamire is the black David Lee (I told everyone this when he was signed but no one listened to me). Carmelo Anthony has no scoring help and all Mike D’Antoni could do was sit around and watch.

I wanted D’Antoni fired last year for his constant lack of detail, I wanted him fired this offseason for a defensive coach like Mike Brown, I want him fired this year because I’m sick of seeing him and his mustache.

Yet none of this matters right now in New York because Knick fans are on cloud nine thanks to a 6-3, 200 pound, undrafted point guard from Harvard that has become an overnight sensation.

His name is Jeremy Lin, and he is a gift from the heavens above.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but jeez not even last year’s acquisition of Melo brought this much buzz an joy to the basketball Mecca that is the NYC.

Lin’s emergence came at a time when the Knicks desperately needed some good news. At 8-15 and flirting with a disastrous season that would’ve surely ended the D’Antoni era for the Knicks, Lin has caught fire and has led the Knicks through their best stretch of the season.

He’s been the missing piece that the fast pace D’Antoni offense has needed to get going. A pick and roll point guard with excellent vision and passing skills that is able to create shots for his teammates as well as fend for himself offensively.

Funny thing was that he was almost released to make room for the return of Baron Davis, I guess that won’t be happening now.

Ever since he stepped onto the court against the New Jersey Nets Lin has created a buzz across the league and has turned skeptics into believers.

He schooled Deron Williams and ran circles around him two Saturdays ago, he treated Devin Harris like a rag doll, he embarrassed John Wall with a sick crossover and dunk that was replayed over and over on Sportscenter, his performance against the Lakers last Friday will be talked about for years, and he showed toughness and moxie in gutting out a win in Minnesota.

He’s done it all from knocking down clutch free throws, reigniting Tyson Chandler’s game and leaving Derek Fisher flat-footed as he spun by for a highlight worthy lay in.

Yeah, I’m in love with this guy. But it took me a while to get into him.

Like most people I had to actually see him to believe him. Watching highlights of Lin didn’t tell the whole story. Yeah it was nice to see him drive at will against Utah and destroy the Nets already grim confidence but I wanted more.

I wanted to know three things about Lin while everyone was already crowning him the next big thing:

1. Can he handle the mounting pressure that comes with being an athlete in New York?
2. How does he deal with failure in a game and can he still stay on point when he’s not on his A game?
3. How will he play with the return of Stat and Melo (yeah, forgot about then right?)

My first question got answered on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last few times the Lakers have hit The Big Apple it’s been Kobe Bryant’s town without question. He has carved his own name into Madison Square Garden lore with huge performances like scoring 61 points in a game there just years ago.

It was the perfect test for my Lin theory, play arguably the best player in the game and keep the Knicks on pace with the Lakers.

That was the first full time that I actually got to watch Lin, safe to say I was shocked by what I saw.

He didn’t just keep the Knicks in the game, he controlled it. He dominated the pace and flow of the game by continuously attacking the rim, floating lobs to Chandler, coming up steals on the defensive end and destroying Fisher and Steve Blake when the ball was in his hands.

He looked like a younger Steve Nash, honest to god. Just his style of play and the way he maneuvered around the Lakers reminded me of the two-time NBA MVP.

Every time the Knicks needed a big play or a big shot the ball found its way to Lin. He never backed down and always came through. 38 points & 7 assists later I was starting to get sold on the NBA’s Tim Tebow.

(yep I made a Tebow reference but all of the similarities and hype and mass coverage are there. The big difference? Lin can ball out, Tebow’s a bum… Just saying.)

The next test came the next night against the Timberwolves in a hyped up battle versus Ricky Rubio.

The main reason I wanted to see him fail is because I wanted to see if he was more like Eli Manning or Tony Romo.

When things don’t go Manning’s way his demeanor doesn’t change and he pressed on. For Romo he panics and loses his cool. I wanted to see if when things get too tight of Lin folds or rises to the occasion.

(yeah I fit an Eli reference in there, so what? By the way did you know that the New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions? God that makes me happy)

The T-Wolves game was a game of two halves. Lin was his usual self in the first half 7-12, 4 dimes and running the offense efficiently. In the second half Lin was totally taken out of rhythm. He only hit 1-12 shots and the Wolves forced him into bad shots and 4 turnovers.

However, I got the impression from Lin that even in tough stretches he still doesn’t get rattled.

Even with all of the turnovers and with his shots not finding the net he still continued to set up his other teammates including Steve Novak’s game tying three with less than a minute left. He also scored the winning point from the free throw line after being fouled getting to the basket.

Even without a dominant performance Lin still found a way to pull out a win for the Knicks. That was enough to make me even more of a believer.

Now the third and most interesting task is at hand… Can Lin, Melo and Stat all work together to be effective?

Carmelo Anthony has received a lot of bad press in the last week with all of the Linsanity spreading through NY.

It’s as if we forget that we wanted Melo here in the first place, it’s not his fault that the Knicks traded the farm to get him (thanks James Dolan). Melo has always needed a point guard to stabilize this offense to make more effective. Sorry Toney Douglas wasnt the answer.

With Lin’s emergence Melo and Amar’e for that matter now have a lot less pressure on their shoulders to score.

The main question is can Melo let Lin run the offense without asking for the ball too much?

As dynamic of a scorer as he is, Melo holds onto the ball for too long in too many stretches of the game. With Lin at the point now Melo will have to find his rhythm in the game and let it come to him.

Besides elevating Chandler, Landry Fields has found his game and confidence and Novak has become a reliable shooter off of the bench. The Knicks have gone from a two horse team to an actual team with a good rotation.

If Melo can stay dominant while letting this mix still cook then the Knicks will be making noise come playoff time.

If not then he’ll be the one taking most of the criticism if the Knicks go back to struggling.

The next stage of Linsanity is upon us. He won’t be throwing up 25 shots a game any more or dropping 38 on defenses, but I believe that after watching Jeremy Lin he is the answer to a lot of the Knicks woes.

Lin has dazzled America, balled out on every opponent that he’s faced and is getting better by the day.

In a city consumed by sports with the Giants winning Super Bowls, the Rangers leading the NHL and the Yankees always on the back pages, the Knicks have wiggled their way back into the minds of New Yorkers.

Linsanity is here and hopefully it’s not a flash in the pan.


The Betrayal Of The Orange

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No one's happy about the move to the ACC in Syracuse.

When I was a kid I remember watching Syracuse-Georgetown on CBS and going insane with every piece of action.

There was one game in particular, I can’t remember the date but it involved John Thompson getting ejected, Syracuse shooting six straight free throws and the Carrier Dome going insane. I had my eyes glued to the television not knowing what to think.

After that game I was a Big East fanatic. It wasn’t just about Syracuse-Georgetown, it was big Monday, Villanova-Georgetown at the Spectrum or Wachovia Center, The Big East tournament at the Garden, The Backyard Brawl twice a year, Gerry McNamera and Kemba Walker’s magic at the Garden, Ray Allen going bonkers in the Big East Tournament… As you can tell I love the Big East.

It’s been the best basketball conference since I was a kid, the only conference to have 11 teams in the tournament, 3 Final Four teams and it’s the conference that my favorite basketball team plays in, The Syracuse Orange.

Since Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens an Derrick Coleman to John Wallace to Anthony and the current group of Orangemen I’ve been a borderline nutcase. Even as an Ohio State alum Syracuse is still the basketball team I die with. I love them more than any NBA team that’s how deep it is.

As much as I love Syracuse football, the school is synonymous with basketball and the Big East.

When February rolls around there is nothing greater than looking at the Syracuse schedule and seeing a gauntlet of opponents that gives me ulcers but creates some of the best basketball around. 10 games against Louisville, Pitt, UCONN, Georgetown, Villanova, Notre Dame who are all ranked in the top 15 at some point and then St. John’s, Providence and Marquette thrown in for good measure. Hostile environments, tough opponents who bruise you in every way and just awesome basketball.

It makes winter just as much fun to be a sports fan as any other time of the year… and it’s now over.

When Syracuse announced that it was joining the ACC I almost cried (no seriously, I was at a bar after the Mayweather fight and saw the announcement on ESPN… I left immediately after in a rage… I’m a little overboard with this stuff sometimes I think). The tradition that it had built up for years, the rivalries with Georgetown and UCONN that had been so prevalent and the mystique of the Garden were pushed aside for a TV deal, money and a chance to showcase the ACC in New York as AD Daryl Gross put it… They have a showcase, it’s called the Greensboro Coliseum, let em have it.

I’m a traditionalist, I like rivalries, I like mystique, that’s what makes sports great especially college. Rivalries are what fuels games and competition. When the Cuse played UCONN it was about supremacy for the conference year in an out with the same area and the games were so physically and passionate it drove you nuts. Are we really going to get the same feel when the Cuse plays Maryland?

This is agonizing, the games will never be the same nor will they have the same intensity. I go from a gauntlet to watching the Cuse play Virginia, N.C. State and Wake Forest (ooooooohhhhh….). The age of the superconference has begun and it is killing the fabric that college sports was built on.

First we get Nebraska-Oklahoma taken away from us, then Texas A&M-Texas, now this… What’s next?

What is the reason for any of this? Jim Boeheim may have the answer himself.

“Football and money,” he said while on ESPN yesterday. That’s all it really is. Schools with football programs want TV money and their own network. The only reason Syracuse and Pitt for that matter are on the move is because of this one reason…

And it makes no sense.

One, if you want more money and a chance to showcase yourself wouldn’t you join a better conference. The ACC has been the most mediocre of the other 5 big BCS conferences (yep more than than the so-called woeful Big East. In BCS bowls the ACC is 1-9, the Big East has 5 wins including a National championship when Miami still called the Big East home) when it comes to football. They’ve become a punching bag for mediocrity and no one outside of their conference takes them too seriously.

Also in terms of basketball is anyone outside of Duke or UNC any good?

You kiss moments like this goodbye Syracuse.

The Big East basketball conference is hands the best in the nation. At least 10 of it’s 16 teams have been in the top 10 in the last few seasons, the ACC has only had 3 Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest who is as bipolar as they come.

So in reality Syracuse downgraded itself in it’s number one sport of basketball and plays lesser competition on a smaller stage while the ACC gains a decent football program that is still trying to find it’s winning ways.

And as fans this is supposed to make us happy? Now instead of the magic of Madison Square Garden in March fans of the Orange and the Panthers get the Georgia Dome or Greensboro Coliseum? It’s like having your Benz repo’d and having to drive a Hyundai Elantra.

But this is what it’s coming to. Tradition is out the window an the AD’s and chancellors of your alma mater’s and favorite schools are putting money first. It’s not fun but change is always eminent even if it’s not for the best such as with this case.

I’m still an Orange fan no matter what though. It’s gonna hurt two years from now when there’s no more Big Monday showcase games, no brawls with St. John’s, no more payback games with Villanova and no gauntlets to run through where every game is a must see.

Syracuse had a great thing going in the Big East and they ruined it over money. Now everyone involved from the players, fans and The Big East conference has to suffer for it.


The Summer Of Durant

Kevin Durant has welcomed and dispatched all challengers this summer.

So, what have you done this summer? Gone on vacation? Went to a few shows? Drank a few beers and partied? Yeah sounds like a normal summer where everyone is happy that the winter coats are away and the only thing that matters are warm vacations on beaches and being lazy as hell.

Kevin Durant could’ve spent his summer doing the exact same thing as all of his, instead he’s been too busy becoming the new face of the NBA and quite possibly the most popular, and best basketball player on the planet.

Durant’s summer has been a constant highlight reel that has showed him dropping threes by the bucket, dunking from every possible angle and drawing more ooh’s and aah’s than the circus.

Durant has been the man of the summer in any sport. His acrobatics and mind-numbing performances have overshadowed the bleak outlook of the NBA lockout, the MLB playoff races and any other headline that has graced ESPN.

It’s been silly to be honest with you. First there was the 66 that he dropped at Rucker Park earlier in the month where a pull up three for a heat check turned into a YouTube phenomenon. Durant made the crowd erupt with every pull up bomb to the point where fans rushed the court after he hit a fourth consecutive three. Even the on court announcer lost his marbles as Durant stood and posed with the mob of fans with nothing but a screw face signifying “yeah, I’m nice.”

they'll be talking about the Rucker game for a long time

He’s put on shows at Dyckman park, toured China and the Philippines, balled out in gymnasiums all around the country and this past weekend in a matchup of D.C. and L.A. ballers it was Durant’s star that shined the brightest with 44 points in a win for his D.C. area Goodman League team over the L.A. based Drew League squad (led by OKC Thunder teammate James Harden coincidentally). It was a game that had a ton of hype coming into it thanks to Durant’s presence and that of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and other ballers who came out. While everyone came to play it was Durant that controlled the action most and made the crowd of over 1500 stand in awe.

Not bad for a 22 year-old who’s coming off of his first conference finals appearance this year.

What I like most about this entire turn of events is how eager Durant is to go out there and show just how dominant of a player he is. There were times in the Dallas series where teammate Russell Westbrook stood in his way and wanted to take all of the big shots while Durant stood back helpless.

In these situations it’s just Durant and his opponent. He has the respect of his teammates at the Rucker, Goodman or any other spot so when he gets the ball they just clear out and let him do him. It’s done wonders for his game and his brand.

Whenever the NBA starts up its next season how can the league not make Durant its most focal piece? He’s always been known as a genuine guy with a quiet demeanor and a big heart, but now it looks like his game is reaching new heights.

With LeBron James’ hara kiri of his personal appearance to others in the league Durant is the perfect fit to replace him as the face of the league. Kids, adults, college ballers and the streets adore Durant from coast to coast. He cares about his image to the point that he puts his tattoos on one unseen area of his body so that he won’t mess up any marketing for himself, however he’s nowhere near as vein as James.

Durant is always active on Twitter and is eager to communicate with fans at all times. He always showcases other people on his page and is not afraid to let his guard down for a little bit of fun.

What really separates him from LeBron is that he wants to improve… and wants to fight for his respect. That’s the main reason why Durant is in Harlem, D.C., and L.A. balling on the courts against great pro and street ballers, he wants respect from all forms of the game and not just the league.

Going back to the Rucker Park game just look at his facial expressions. Look at how with every shot he takes and makes he slaps fives with fans, chest bumps rappers and plays with a killer mentality. He’s honing himself for the next time he takes the court and he’s staring Carmelo, LeBron or Kobe in the face and the game is in his hands. While LeBron finally tries to find a low post game in year 9 and is still searching for his killer instinct, Durant is getting his as we speak.

Live from New York its Kevin Durant.

(Side note: if you think Kobe doesn’t recognize Durant balling extra hard then you’re a fool. Why else would Kobe be at a Drew league game balling in a gym with 5 rings? Because Kobe competes, he sees Durant doing his thing, he saw the 66 in Harlem and thought to himself “I have to get out here and see what’s up.” He knows Durant is trying to position himself for the crown and Kobe still wants to match Jordan and isn’t satisfied himself just yet. Kobe didn’t ball in D.C. for the Drew-Goodman game, he didn’t have to. He proved his point already that he’s still around and he can still bring.

You know I used to really hate Kobe, but the older he gets I love him more and more.)

The question now is what happens when the summer ends and NBA players are heading overseas to make money during the lockout? Where will Durant go and what will he do?

Is Turkey an option, Russia? He’s rumored to be staring in a movie about basketball that will start shooting when NBA training camp would start. Durant’s stock is higher than any other player in the league right now. Everyone wants to know his moves, his thoughts and everything that has anything to do with him right now.

And he has this summer to thank for it all. His games at Rucker Park, Trinity, Dyckman and everywhere else that he has played in the last month and a half have dropped our jaws and made us look at him in a different light.

He’s scored a lot of points, wowed a lot crowds and has made himself the number one player to watch in the league whenever it starts up again. Kevin Durant has moved up the NBA’s pecking order and it doesn’t look like he’ll be coming down for awhile.

I think his summer turned out just fine.


The Rangers And Knicks Are Killing Themselves

Henrik Lundquist cant believe how these playoffs have played out so far for the Rangers

Jared Jeffries’s turnover, Marian Gaborik’s tip away, Ray Allen’s three, Alex Semin’s Goal, two blown halftime leads, two blown leads late in the third period… the last week in New York playoff sports have been a nightmare (and don’t get me started on the Yankees pitching woes either.).

This has been about as depressing as it gets. Watching the Rangers and Knicks blow leads to two teams that they’re not better than, but had outplayed in the majority of the games that they played.

The Rangers should be up 3-1, the Knicks should be up 2-0, and the reasons that they’re not are maddening.

First the Rangers ills have been not being able to close out an opponent (much like how they weren’t able to close out a playoff spot in the regular season). In game 1 against the Capitals they led 1-0 late in the third thanks to great goaltending by Henrik Lundquist and the defensive work of Marc Stall and company. Then in an instant Alex Ovechkin ties the game thanks to a fluke tip in where Derek Stepan, Staal, and Lundquist all couldn’t get a stick on the puck even though it was there in front of them.

The overtime goal was even worse as Staal seemed to nonchalantly make a clearing pass out of the zone that ended up on Jason Arnott’s stick, then Semin’s, then the back of the net. Defeat from the jaws of victory.

Then came last night. Not even 24 hours after the Los Angeles Kings blew a 4-0 lead in two periods, the Rangers upped them by doing it in ten minutes. After two periods of Rangers domination where the Rangers and the crowd was bullying the Capitals (last time Bruce Boudreau ever comments about crowd noise), the crowd stood in shock as Semin knocked in a loose puck that Lundquist lost track of, then after Marcus Johansson scored on a tip-in to make it 3-2 he scored on a lucky bounce off of a Karl Alzner slap shot to make it 3 all.

The worst of all came in double OT as Jason Chimera had his shot blocked and it looked like Lundquist was going to cover it up for a faceoff in his zone. For some reason Gaborik decided to knock the puck away from Lundquist right as he reached for it and it landed right on Chimera’s stick and the comeback was complete.

Carmelo and the Knicks are on the brink thanks to lackluster play from his teammates.

Three fluke goals, three to one deficit, the Rangers have redefined the stomach punch loss.

(Side note: Marian Gaborik has been a disaster the second half of this year. That boneheaded play combined with his lackluster offensive production has me and other Rangers fans doubting where his head is right now. If he can’t score goals and is causing some to go in then why is he on the ice? Last night the Rangers went 0-7 on the power play and are 1-234 in the series. Actual stat. That is Gaborik’s bread and butter and he’s not delivering. If this keeps up then next year he’ll be with Wade Redden in Connecticut.)

If that wasn’t enough, it came after the New York Knicks snatched defeat from victory in two straight games.

The Knicks had outplayed the Celtics and were in prime position to win both games even with Carmelo Anthony playing poorly in game one and without Amar’e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups in game 2.

In game 1 the Knicks led by 12 at the half and Stoudemire was destroying Kevin Garnett and company on the inside. Then somehow in the last 5 minutes of the game he doesn’t get one touch. Yeah Melo went 1-11 in the second half but the fact that Amar’e doesn’t get the ball that late in the game when he had dominated throughout was horrible.

The shot selection by Melo, Toney Douglas and others was typical Mike D’Antoni offense. If Amar’e gets the ball the Knicks win by 10, since he didn’t, and D’Antoni didn’t stress that in the huddle, the Knicks lost.

Game 2 may have been the nail in the coffin though. After losing Amar’e to back spasms Anthony took all of New York on his back with his 42 point, 17 rebound, 6 assist performance where he was the only Knick to shoot anywhere near 50% as Bill Walker shot 0-11 and Douglas went 5-16 (two things on Douglas real quick. 1. There is no way that Douglas should ever be allowed to take 16 shots in a playoff game, EVER. 2. Douglas ‘s poor shot selection at times is the reason that the Knicks need to actively look for a point guard this offseason. He’s not capable of carrying a second unit and keeping the Knicks in front or in the game.).

Marian Gaborik hasnt been helping the Rangers much this postseason.

With 12 seconds left Melo got an inbounds past where he was immediately double-teamed and Melo through a strike to a cutting Jeffries who had a good look at the rim… if he would’ve turned in the right direction and not directly into Kevin Garnett. Melo got criticized for passing the ball in that situation but that was his best option. He couldn’t hoist a bad three over two defenders and his pass to Jeffries was on point. The real issue was that Jeffries made a bad play on the ball (really Jared Jeffries? No.) and couldn’t finish.

The Knicks main issue is there lack of reliable role players. Walker, Douglas and Jeffries aren’t able to play big in these situations and that, combined with the lack of big men, are the reason that they’re down 2-0.

With the Knicks heading home in a rut down in a series they enter the a depressed Madison Square Garden after the Rangers put themselves on the brink with a terrible game 4 loss.

After this weekend both teams will be done. Both the Rangers and Knicks are a year away from being serious contenders and it couldn’t be more apparent.

The Rangers need to learn how to close, the Knicks need the players to close. The Rangers need to get better offensively, the Knicks need to get better defensively. Both teams’ big time players need to play big, and both teams need to learn how to protect leads.

It’s been a frustrating week for New York fans in the Garden watching these two teams fall apart fortunately it’ll all be over sooner than later.