I Wanna Go Home!!!!

Well, they did it again!  They blew another one.  After playing a really solid 1st quarter, the New York Knicks found themselves with an 8 point lead.  At one point in the 2nd quarter they were up 13 (41-28).  The New York Knicks, like I’ve been saying all season, don’t have that killer instinct that you need to close out games.  I know I know it was only the 2nd quarter, but if they keep the pressure on the Trailblazers and sustain their lead going into halftime this game would have played out very differently.  Over a span of 2 minutes and 43 seconds at the end of the first half, the Knicks went from up 10 points to down 3 points.  It’s amazing how a team can play so well for 21+ minutes and in a blink of an eye watch all of their hard work wash away.  It’s almost like high tide coming up the beach, you know it’s coming there’s just nothing you can do about it.  If there was any doubt that the Knicks were going to lose this game when they went to halftime, they erased all doubt with their lackluster 3rd quarter.  The came out of the locker room as flat as they went in and they found themselves down 16 points at the end of the 3rd quarter.  The New York Knicks lost to the Portland Trailblazers by a score of 105-90.

I could write for days and days and days about the Knicks problems and why they are playing so poorly, but I’ll try to keep it simple.  The Knicks don’t play any defense.  I’m not going to sit here and make excuses about their injuries because they don’t play defense when their entire roster is 100% either.  They play defense for 8 minute stretches, but they don’t consistently shut teams down for 48 minutes.  They also are a jump shooting team that relies heavily on the 3-pointer.  When that is your teams strategy you go through ups and downs.  Right now they are clearly trending down.  On the Trailblazers side of things, they may not make any noise in the league this year, but they have a good young team with a lot of potential for years to come.  Damian Lillard is really really good (enough said).  If you don’t know who he is, he is going to be hoisting the Rookie of the Year trophy at the end of the year.  Let me get back to the hopeless Knicks.

The Knicks have played 3 out of 5 games on this tough road trip.  They must be more homesick than a child going to sleepaway summer camp for the first time.  Their road trip is not going to get an easier either.  They will have to head over to Los Angeles next to play the Clippers, and then they’ll finish up this dreadful road trip against the Utah Jazz (good, at least they’ll win 1 game on this road trip).  Side note:  what’s the deal with fans booing former players for literally no reason?  Last night the Trailblazers’ fans made it very clear how they felt about Raymond Felton.  However, just like Carmelo Anthony’s return to Denver, this unruly behavior was uncalled for.  Fans are not smart.  They boo players just because they used to play for “their” team, and now they don’t play there anymore.  They don’t have a valid reason to boo said player, they just do it because, well it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Well, once again these uninformed fans are 100% in the wrong to boo Raymond Felton.  Let me just state that I’m not defending these players just because they are on the Knicks, I would feel this way about any player that was treated this way.  Anyway, if you want to boo someone because they played poorly that’s fine but do it while they are on the team.  If someone plays that poorly for your team, you should be relieved that they were traded, no?  Plus, he was TRADED.  He didn’t leave under his own power because he wanted out of Portland.  I think fans should reserve booing for the players who actually caused problems or drama when they were part of your favorite team.  Other than that, get over it.

Like I said earlier you can find the Knicks in action again this coming Sunday at 3:30 P.M. against the Clippers.  They are going to need a miracle if they plan on winning that game.  They will be without Carmelo Anthony once again after having his knee drained Thursday.  Tyson Chandler’s status will also be in question come Sunday.  For the Knicks sake I hope Chandler is ready to go because if he’s not you can expect Blake Griffin and lob city to fill the top ten on SportsCenter come Monday morning.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook athttp://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

63 points?!?! What Is This Amateur Hour?

You know you have a problem when your leading scorer has 15 points, and his name is CHRIS COPELAND!!  The New York Knicks did not do anything well Monday night against the Golden State Warriors.  The Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, ran the Knicks off the floor.  From the opening tip-off, the Warriors simply looked like they wanted it more.  The Knicks looked sluggish.  They did not look like a team that was determined to win their opening game on a tough 5 game road trip.  Monday night was supposed to be a welcome back party for the Knicks superstar, Carmelo Anthony.  Unfortunately, it looked more like a retirement party.  Melo looked flat, and the rest of the team followed suit.  I’m done getting on Melo.  By now, I think we all know he needs to try harder and play better.  He needs to play better defense, and he needs to PASS THE DAMN BALL MORE!!  Other than that he’s having a great season.  Now it’s not all bad for Melo and the Knicks.  They have had a winning record in every month of the season, and they are still atop their division.  However, you’d have to be blind not to see that the Knicks have struggled mightily from time to time this season.  Was this their worst loss of the season?  It’s definitely up there.  I will make this short and unsweetened.  The Knicks need to try harder.  It starts with the coach and the superstar, and the rest trickles down hill.  If they don’t find a way to win 2 of their next 4 on the road, they could come back to New York with a tighter race in the Atlantic Division than they’d hoped.  For now, they are lucky that the Brooklyn Nets are bad too.  Otherwise, they could really be in a world of hurt.  Winning the Atlantic Division is very important for the Knicks, for it would keep them as one of the top 3 seeds in the Eastern Conference.  As for the Knicks moving forward, I would hope that Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas, and James White won’t go a combined 0 for 15 form the field again (like they did last night).  The Knicks as a team shot just 27.4% from the field, and an atrocious 18.5% from 3-point range.  The Knicks will look to rebound as they travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets Wednesday night at 10:30 P.M.  This is the first time Carmelo Anthony will play in Denver since leaving the team.  Logic would dictate that he would get up for this game and will his team to victory.  For his sake, I hope he remembers to show up Wednesday night.  I see the Knicks playing a much better game Wednesday night in Denver, however I think they will lose 99-97 to the Nuggets on the road.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Phantom Injury Sparks Comeback

Let us rewind to Monday evening at around 8:00 P.M.  The Knicks were getting BLOWN OUT by the Cleveland Cavaliers.  We were witnessing one of the most embarrassing performances of the year in the NBA.  The expletives that were flying around my head are words I would never dare say out loud.  The Knicks looked like they were running in quick sand.  They looked sluggish, and lazy, and they were playing uninspired basketball.  During the 1st quarter, you saw the Knicks go from up 2 points to down 10.  However, the 2nd quarter is where the flood gates opened.  The Cavaliers led by Marreese Speights, simply couldn’t miss.  Speights went a perfect 10 for 10 in the 1st half.  This is a Cavaliers team who is ranked dead last in field goal percentage.  Was it the Knicks poor defense that contributed to the Cavaliers offensive explosion, or was it simply a hot streak that couldn’t be stopped?  I’d like to think it was a combination of both, but the Cavaliers were shooting 81% from the field and found themselves with a 22 point lead less than four and a half minutes into the 2nd quarter.  Yes you read that right, the Cavaliers were beating the Knicks by 22 in the 2nd quarter.  Then, in a blink of an eye, everything changed.  With 6:48 left in the 1st half, Carmelo Anthony caught an outlet pass near half court.  As he caught the pass he tripped over his own two feet and fell down.  It looked awkward, it looked like it could have been slightly painful, but all in all it didn’t look too serious.  Carmelo Anthony picked himself up and walked (not limped) his way to the locker room.  Minutes later, we found out that he would not return to the game.  Amar’e Stoudemire took Anthony’s place in the game, and sparked an immediate comeback.  In just over one minute, the Knicks cut the lead from 22 to 15.  The Cavaliers quickly took a timeout and tried to regroup.  That did not help, as the Knicks cut the lead back to single digits.  The Knicks accomplished this by attacking the basket and cutting down on their three point attempts (other than J.R. Smith).  J.R. Smith added a much needed 18 points but went 1-7 from three-point range.  Smith is very athletic and can pretty much get to the basket at will.  He needs to concentrate more on that and spend less time jacking up countless three pointers.  With a combination of Amar’e Stoudemire’s effective post game and efficient outside shooting by the rest of the team, the Knicks staged an epic comeback.  The Knicks scratched and clawed their way back into this game and with four minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the score was knotted at 64.  The Knicks turned up the heat on defense and held the Cavaliers to just 13 points in the 3rd quarter.  These teams battled back and forth throughout the rest of the game, but in the end the Knicks proved to be too much for the Cavaliers to handle.  They pulled out a tough (much needed) victory, 102-97.

When Carmelo Anthony went down for the count in the 1st half, the Knicks found a way to pull together and storm their way back into this game.  It was truly a team effort led by Amar’e Stoudemire.  Amar’e scored 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field.  Running the offense through Amar’e allowed the Knicks to play a nice inside out game.  If Amar’e wasn’t able to take the ball to the hoop aggressively, he kicked the ball out to an open man.  The Knicks found effective outside shooting from Jason Kidd and Steve Novak.  Novak made four timely three pointers, while Kidd added three of his own.  It’s nice to see Jason Kidd find his stroke, as he added 12 points off the bench.  Mike Woodson still seems to have a problem with Iman Shumpert though because he seemed to find his stroke as well in the 1st quarter.  He hit three of his first four shots but only racked up six total shots for the entire game (in 19 minutes).  I really hope that Woodson is just being cautious with Shumpert’s knee because the Knicks are going to need his production on both ends of the floor if they have any plans of making a run in the playoffs.  I find myself using the same expression over and over again, but ‘a win is a win’ no matter how it looks.  For now that might work against the Cavaliers and the Wizards, but come playoff time that is not going to cut it against the Miami Heat (if they get that far).  The Knicks have a much needed day off today, but will continue their road trip against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday night at 7:30 P.M.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

So Close But Yet So far

Lebron James is better than Carmelo Anthony.  It is as simple as that (it also doesn’t hurt to have Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on your team too).  Sunday afternoon, Lebron showcased his all around skills and proved why the Heat are the team to beat in the NBA.  This basketball game was a tale of two halves, and it took a turn when the best player in the world took the game over.  The Knicks opened the game with loads of energy, and Madison Square Garden seemed to be filled with that “playoff” electricity.  The Knicks played a nearly perfect first half and at one point had a 16 point lead over the Heat.  Carmelo Anthony came out on fire and hit 4 out of his first 5 shots.  He also got to the free throw line 4 times in the first quarter, hitting 8 out of 9 free throws.  Jason Kidd finally woke from his slumber and decided to hit 4 three-pointers in the first half.  As a Knicks fan I loved what I saw in the first half, but I had this sneaking suspicion that the Heat weren’t down for the count.  A 14 point halftime lead was cut to only 4 with 6:52 still left in the third quarter.  How did that happen you say?  Well, Chris Bosh came out of the locker room like a bat out of hell, scoring 7 points in the first 3 minutes of the third quarter.  Now, the Knicks showed great perseverance stretching the lead back out to 11 points with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  And from there it was the Lebron James show.  Lebron took the responsibility of guarding Carmelo Anthony for the entire 2nd half.  Lebron shut him down, limiting Melo to only 8 2nd half points.  He also helped the Heat close the 3rd quarter on an 8-1 run, cutting the lead back down to 4.  Melo did start the 4th quarter with a quick basket, but Lebron came right back and hit the two biggest shots of the game.  He nailed back to back three-pointers tying the game at 79.  Both teams traded baskets over the next couple minutes, but when the Heat took the lead with 4:28 to go, they wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.  The Knicks still had a chance when they were down 4, with the ball, and 30 seconds to play, however what transpired next became the nail in the coffin for the Knicks.  J.R. Smith threw a lazy pass across the top of the key toward Carmelo Anthony.  Lebron jumped the passing lane, stole the ball, and threw down a ferocious dunk.  This put the game out of reach, and the Heat won 99-93.  This has also officially put the Eastern Conference out of reach.

The name of this game was defense.  The Knicks started the game with great intensity.  They were playing solid team defense.  They were doubling, and switching, and rotating perfectly in their defensive assignments.  This kept the Heat’s offense at bay and allowed them to sustain a lead throughout the entire 1st half.  Lebron though, headlined the defensive attack for the Heat in the 2nd half.  Like I mentioned earlier, he completely shut down a tired Carmelo Anthony and forced the rest of the Knicks to beat them (that obviously did not happen).  The Heat’s swarming defense forced 18 turnovers by the Knicks.  This is very uncharacteristic for the Knicks who only average just over 11 turnovers per game.  The turnovers were crucial in this game, and they all seemed to come at inopportune times for the Knicks.  On top of his stellar defense, Lebron also added 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists (just another day at the office).  This is clearly Lebron’s team, but everyone needs to realize just how fortunate he is to have such a talented player by his side.  Dwayne Wade had 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.  Combined they shot over 50% from the field, and were just 2 rebounds and 5 assists away from having 2 TRIPLE DOUBLES.  It’s basically unfair, but I’ll save my excuses for a later date.  We all know how good the Heat are, the story here is the Knicks and their confused lineup.  I like Mike Woodson finally making a move in changing up the starting lineup, but JAMES WHITE?!?!  I know it’s not a real thing, that it’s just a move to bring Kidd off the bench, but JAMES WHITE?!?!  James White shouldn’t be on an NBA roster, and he is starting for the third best team in the Eastern Conference?  Are you serious Mr. Woodson?  You might as well call up the Oklahoma City Thunder and try to get Ronnie Brewer back.  At least when he started games for the Knicks, they were winning.  What the Knicks need to do is insert Amar’e Stoudemire into the starting lineup at the 4, and allow Shumpert and Melo to slide down into their natural positions to the 2 and 3 respectively.  This will allow Melo to roam free offensively and not take on the task of guarding power forwards on the other end of the floor.  Amar’e can still manage to stay under 30 minutes per game, and should keep the Knicks from getting down early in games.  This has been one of the biggest parts of the Knicks downfall over the last two months.  Coach Woodson should also go back to resting Carmelo Anthony at the start of the 4th quarter.  Melo is not a guy who can play 40-plus minutes every night and still remain effective.  No matter what the Knicks do with their lineup going forward, they need to play defense and scale back the amount of three-pointers they shoot.  It makes them too streaky, and streaky in the NBA doesn’t win Championships.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

It Wasn’t Pretty But It Got the Job Done

You know that saying a win is a win no matter how it looks? Well, that is certainly true in regards to Friday night’s Knicks game. Sure, Melo had 30 points but it took him 24 shots to do so (what else is new). Raymond Felton had a nice game, but the overall performance was mediocre. The final score was 96-88 in a much needed win for the Knicks. This was their first game in March, a March where the Knicks play 18 games and 10 of them are on the road. Not only are they going to play away from home a lot, but they are going to be playing high quality teams. The first obstacle in their gauntlet run is The Miami Heat. The Heat haven’t lost since 1971, and they’ll look to keep that winning streak going. The Knicks have a little 3-game winning streak going as well. The Knicks magically won the first two meetings of the year against the Heat, but the Heat are a different team than the one we saw last time these teams met. The Knicks do have Shumpert and Stoudemire in the lineup opposed to the first two meetings, but this certainly is the toughest game of the year for these Knicks (even if it is at home). What do the Knicks need to do to win this game? Besides pray, they need to play the way they played against Golden State. That might sound silly to some but hear me out. I doubt anyone from the Heat is going to hit 11 of 13 three pointers today, but assume that Lebron and Wade are going to get theirs. If the Knicks can make one stop when it matters most, they may have a chance to win this game. Offensively they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders, and that means leaving Jason Kidd on the bench and trusting Amar’e, Smith, and even Shumpert to provide quality minutes down the stretch. I’m hoping for a thriller today at the Garden. This game is going to carry playoff intensity, and you can expect the Garden to be rocking today. 101-99 Knicks. Book it.

Shooting Clinic at the Garden

Wednesday night, everyone had the privilege of witnessing the best game of the NBA season.  The New York Knicks took on the Golden State Warriors and Madison Square Garden once again proved why it is the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’.  Anyone who visits the Garden brings their A game.  They want to showcase their skills on the brightest of stages.  Jordan used to get up for games at the Garden, Kobe always brings it at the Garden, and most recently Lebron has shown that the Garden is a venue made for stars to shine.  Last night, we were all witness to the greatest individual performance of the NBA season, so far.  Stephen Curry showcased his skills in last night’s game and showed the world that he is an emerging superstar.  In case you missed it, Curry’s night went a little something like this: 54 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Curry also played all 48 minutes of last night’s game.  He was 7-7 from the free throw line and went 18-28 from the field, including AN AMAZING 11-13 from 3-point range.  He was launching shots from everywhere and they all kept finding the bottom of the net.  Granted the Knicks should have started doubling Curry the second he got hot, but I’ll get back to that.  Curry has one of the smoothest jumpers in the game today.  He also requires very little space to get a shot off, and his release is lightning quick.  Add that to an impressive handle, and you have yourself a nightmare match-up.  As for his impact on last night’s game, he single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game (why do you think he played all 48 minutes even though he was in foul trouble?).  Without his performance the Warriors would have been blown out.  This goes to show you just how well the Knicks executed last night.

The Knicks won the game 109-105 in an absolute thriller.  I thought the Knicks played a really good all around game.  They had a well balanced scoring attack with 5 players scoring in double figures, and I saw something I’ve been begging for all year.  As written in many of my previous articles, the Knicks have played their best basketball when Carmelo Anthony penetrates, attracts a double team, and finds the open man (most notably Amar’e wide open under the hoop for easy dunks).  Now Melo took 26 shots so he still got his, but he also had a season high 8 assists.  Everyone and their mama knows that when Melo gets the ball on the wing he is going to shoot it.  However, if he puts the ball on the floor and starts taking it to the rack more often, he will either score at the basket, draw a foul, or draw a double/triple team leaving someone WIDE open.  This is a recipe for success for this Knicks team.  Now if only Jason Kidd could shoot a basketball, the Knicks would have another offensive option.  At this point, you might as well bring John Starks out of retirement and put him in for Kidd.  See, with Kidd it is not a question of ability (he is 3rd all time in 3 point field goals), it is a mental thing.  Right now his confidence is shattered, and honestly he looks like a broken man.  A fan who called into the Michael Kaye show yesterday said it best, “Jason Kidd is out there looking like he’s playing hot potato with the basketball.”  Yeah, that about sums it up.   Hey, quick question, who told Kidd that he has to keep shooting 3’s?!?!?  Jason, here’s a wild thought: take 3 or 4 steps in and try making some 15 footers.  Maybe when you gain some confidence there, you can inch your way back outside and continue launching 25 footers at will.  As for last night, the player of the game on the Knicks was Tyson Chandler, hands down.  Chandler had 16 points to go along with his 28 rebounds!!  He brought everything to the floor that the Knicks desperately need to win; physical play, defense, and rebounding.  He set the tone early grabbing 13 rebounds in the first quarter, and the rest of the Knicks seemed to feed off of his energy.  Iman Shumpert found himself in foul trouble, but his intensity on the defensive end continues to improve night  by night.  Amar’e Stoudemire’s offensive efficiency continued as well, but his defense is still nothing to write home about.  The Knicks success often relies on the streaky shooting of J.R. Smith, and last night Smith was on target, adding 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting.  On the other hand, Raymond Felton’s shooting woes continued (as his poor shooting has been overshadowed by Jason Kidd’s efforts), but he came up with the big plays down the stretch to seal the game for the Knicks.  The Knicks were lit up by Stephen Curry and gave up 105 points, but it was their defense that made the difference in the game.  Down the stretch, they finally figured out that they should be double teaming Curry.  Once they did that, they forced other players on the Warriors to beat them, and let’s just say they weren’t up to the task.  Also, when the game was coming down to the wire, Felton forced a couple of key turnovers and came up with a HUGE steal off of a Warriors inbound pass that pretty much sealed the game.  Overall I think there are a lot of positive things to take away from this victory.  The Knicks stood up at the sign of adversity and were the last men standing when the final buzzer sounded.  You can catch the Knicks in their next game Friday night @ 7:00 P.M.  They will be in Washington as they take on the Wizards and look to start another winning streak as they have now won 2 games in a row.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Who Ya Gonna Call?? No, not Johnny Damon. Call the Ghostbusters.

Something big is happening in New York.  It’s not what you’d expect, and personally I’m terrified.  New York used to be the example of greatness.  We used to be the place that all others tried to model themselves after, but now we are the example of mediocrity.  Don’t believe me?  Okay, I’ll prove it.  The Islanders are one of the worst hockey teams in the world, the Jets are well the Jets (enough said), the Knicks are having a nice year, but they’re not winning any titles, and the Yankees are not the Yankees of the ’90’s anymore.  As sad as this is to say (I love the Yankees), the Yankees are not that good.  When Johnny Damon is the answer to your prayers, you know you’re in trouble.  For those of you who don’t know, Curtis Granderson broke his arm yesterday, causing mass hysteria here in New York.  Some of the media outlets here are suggesting that the Yankees sign free agent Johnny Damon to help fill the void.  A thought like that makes me wonder what really goes through peoples minds.  Do people enjoy living in the past?  Do they really think that veteran’s will bring intangibles to the team that the youngsters can’t?  Who in their right mind would think that the Yankees resigning Johnny Damon would be a good idea?  Everyone wants to talk about how old the Knicks are, but those same people obviously haven’t taken the time to look at the Yankees roster.  Let me run down the list of some of their ancient artifacts.  The Yankees have a 37 year old A-Rod who is probably not going to play this year or ever again, a 38 year old Derek Jeter who is recovering from a broken ankle, a 38 year old Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, a 39 year old Ichiro, a 40 year old Andy Pettite, and a 43 year old Mariano Rivera coming off major surgery.  Mark Teixeira (32) and Kevin Youkilis (33) are no spring chickens either.  With all the talk surrounding Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations (which are a year away), and Granderson going down, the Yankees season is already in disarray and it hasn’t even started.  Man, I’m really glad Steinbrenner made all of those off-season acquisitions this year.  Oh, yeah that’s right, they didn’t make any moves whatsoever.  Good idea Hal.  Quick side note: I’ve always said that the death of George Steinbrenner was the worst thing to ever happen to this franchise.  Clearly not everything runs in the family, because his kids have no clue how to run the most successful sports franchise in the world.  Anyway, with an aging roster and below average pitching staff, you’d think that the Yankees would have made a flurry of big moves to bring in some young talent during the off-season.  Instead, they let Russell Martin walk leaving the Yankees with literally no catcher.  They let Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez walk as well.  They also decided not to negotiate with Rafael Soriano due to the devil’s (I mean Scott Boras’) demands.  Hey Hal, do you know why the Yankees won 4 World Series in 5 years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s?  I didn’t think so.  It’s because you had a transition from a great closer (John Wetteland) to another GREAT closer (Mariano Rivera).  As much as I love Big Mo this is clearly going to be his last season, and great closers don’t exactly grow on trees.  But hey, I guess little Steinbrenner wants us to be excited about the signing of Travis Hafner.  Newsflash, the long ball doesn’t win Championships by itself (Exhibit A: last season)!!  Without any substantial additions to the Yankees roster as it is presently constructed, they will finish in 3rd place in the American League East and MISS the playoffs.  They need a pleasant surprise from someone already on the roster, a big trade, or they need find some talent from their Farm system to compete this year.  Otherwise, I think they are in big trouble.  Nobody loves the Yankees more than me, I am just calling it like I see it.

As for the Granderson situation, I have a solution that they should have been trying for about two years now.  Move Eduardo Nunez to the outfield.  Nunez has blazing speed but has not proven to be a consistent enough fielder at shortstop.  He makes far too many errors from one of the most important positions on the field.  If you keep Brett Gardner and Nunez in the order at the same time you will put speed on the base paths and be able to play small ball (a recipe for success that I’ve been begging for for years now).  And hey, if it doesn’t work you can always slide Nunez right back into his utility role.  It’s not like he’s ever had a set position and you would somehow be disrupting his rhythm by moving him to the outfield.

With Spring Training upon us, we are entering the best time of the year.  March Madness is on it’s way as is beautiful Spring weather.  Undoubtedly, the best part of the year is the start of Baseball season.  Stay tuned for my full preview of the Major League Baseball season including division winners, playoff and world series predictions, and player projections.

So That’s What Winning Feels Like?? Oh Man..I Almost Forgot!!

The Knicks got exactly what they needed.  A win.  It wasn’t all pretty but it got the job done.  I liked the style of basketball Carmelo Anthony played last night.  He looked like he kinda sort of cared on the defensive end and on offensive he was aggressive in taking the ball to the hoop.  Melo took a season high 18 free throw attempts last night (making 16 of them).  This goes to show you that his mentality was to attack the basket off the dribble, rather than jack up three pointers all night.  He had a team high 29 points, but he shot a measly 33% from the field.  On the other hand, Amar’e Stoudemire was clearly the player of the game.  He had a season high 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the field.  His field goal percentage this season (56.9%) is well above his career average (53.4%), and he is dominating inside the paint offensively in his role off the bench.  If the Knicks want to contend in the Eastern Conference this year, they need Amar’e to continue to his efficiency on the offensive end.  As far as the Knicks defense goes, they looked like they played with more energy and intensity than we’ve seen in the recent past.  However, this team lacks that killer instinct that say a Kobe Bryant has.  They found themselves sitting on a 20 point lead early in the 3rd quarter, and they simply didn’t go for the jugular.  I would have loved to see them blow the 76ers out last night.  It would have sent a statement to the rest of the league, and would have built their confidence beyond belief.  The Knicks let off the gas pedal and let the 76ers back in the game.  This game shouldn’t have been nearly as close as the final score would indicate.  Now, the Knicks did win 99-93, but I would have liked to see them hold the 76ers to under 90 points.  The Knicks also continue to lack any type of consistency from their “shooting” guards.  Shumpert’s intensity was up on the defensive end last night, which was great to see.  However, he is clearly still out of rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.  He is not 100%, and he has no lift on his jumper.  I was watching the game last night and thought to myself, man it would be nice to see Iman Shumpert throw down a ferocious dunk and get the fans up out of their seats.  He does have amazing hops and is extremely athletic, and I look forward to seeing him get back to form and contributing on both sides of the ball. As for Jason Kidd, have you ever seen a veteran player in his 19th season look more uncomfortable shooting a basketball?  I mean when he is WIDE OPEN he doesn’t even want to shoot it.  However when he does decide to jack up an occasional shot, his legs flail out like Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  Kidd did grab 9 rebounds last night and play decent defense, but if he is going to be the Knicks starting 2-guard for the foreseeable future he needs to start hitting some shots. The problem the Knicks had last night in closing this game out was their inability to guard quick point guards (nothing new there).  Jrue Holliday carved up the Knicks, scoring at will.  He ended up with a game high 30 points.  The Knicks won the ball game, but they are lucky the game ended when it did.  If the game were just 3 minutes longer, I guarantee you they would have lost.  They need to carry some momentum from this win into their next game.  They will remain at home, but have a tough match-up against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.  Tune in to MSG @ 8:00 P.M. this Wednesday night to watch the Knicks continue their winning ways, hopefully.

Is This Rock Bottom?

This has to be rock bottom right? Well, I hope for the sake of Knicks fans everywhere it is. The New York Knicks put forth another lousy performance last night and lost to the Toronto Raptors (100-98). Granted the Raptors are 7-3 since Rudy Gay arrived, but they are still a team the Knicks should beat handily. We all know the Knicks weaknesses, but right now it’s more than that. They look wildly uninspired. They look like they could care less about losing basketball games night in and night out. Maybe it’s because they have been too busy complaining to the referees rather than focusing on playing basketball. The Knicks have now lost 5 of their last 6 games and are in serious danger of falling to 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Carmelo put up his usual 32 points, but in my opinion he played his WORST game of the year. Do you want to know why? it’s because he doesn’t care!! He wants to be called a superstar, but he doesn’t want to do all the things that that title comes with. He is not a leader. He doesn’t rally his team and get everyone amped up. He doesn’t dive on the floor and do any of the dirty work. And he certainly doesn’t play the type of defense a superstar should be playing. Never in all my life have I ever seen a player completely give up on a play like Carmelo Anthony did last night. With just 6 seconds to go in the 1st quarter, Demar Derozan took the ball and drove the length of the floor for a layup. Carmelo Anthony was planted right under the basket in prime position to take a charge, try to block the shot, or at minimum take a foul and keep him from scoring an easy basket. So what did he do? Nothing!! He didn’t even pretend to swipe at the ball. He simply braced for impact to save himself from Derozan landing on him after the ball had already fallen through the hoop. I can’t come close to overstate how pathetic this play was. And that is the overall mentality of the Knicks right now. They look totally disinterested. As for Jason Kidd, he is not disinterested, he has simply lost any confidence he once had shooting a basketball. I mean the guy made his first two three pointers right out of the gate, and still had no plan to continue shooting. He had at least 5 wide open shots later on in the game, that he passed up and swung the ball to someone who wasn’t open. This team is in total disarray, and it all starts with the coach and his “superstar”. I’m done giving solutions to how they can fix their substitutions or play better defense. Of course we already know they need an interior presence who’s not 78 years old and a real 2-guard. However, even with their current roster, they just need a leader who is going to lead by example. They need a leader who is going to take this team and carry every last person on the roster through the finish line. Carmelo “well at least I score a lot of points” Anthony is not a leader.

NBA Trade Deadline in Review

The NBA trade deadline came and went without much noise.  All week Josh Smith’s name had been circulating in trade talks, and it all amounted to nothing.  Personally, I don’t understand why they didn’t deal him, as well as why the Lakers didn’t deal Dwight Howard.  Why would teams not trade players who are going to walk away in free agency at the end of the year?  Josh Smith is definitely leaving Atlanta, so the fact that they didn’t trade him is idiotic.  Dwight Howard may stay in Los Angeles, so I understand the Lakers keeping him in hopes to re-sign him at the end of the year.  The biggest name that was traded yesterday was JJ Reddick.  The Orlando Magic traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks, along with Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith for Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb, and Tobias Harris.  It was not a big trade by any stretch of the imagination.  However, the name of the game in the NBA is money money money.  Trades get made in the NBA once the money matches on both sides.  The Magic are in rebuilding mode (as they always are), and they were looking for some young talent which they received in Doron Lamb.  I think the Bucks got the better of this trade, with the addition of a solid perimeter shooter.  The New York Knicks did not make a big splash in the trade deadline either.  They traded Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2nd round pick and a trade exception.  And we all know what the Knicks did next right?  Come on, it made so much sense.  You can’t think of it?  Okay, I’ll tell you.  They signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-Day Contract.  Yes!!!!  That is just what they need, another mid thirties player who if his life depended on it couldn’t stay healthy.  Now, if, and this is a BIG IF, he can stay healthy he will help out their front line.  He can add some much needed rebounding, defense, and toughness.  That gritty warrior’s mentality is what the Knicks are lacking, big time.  Overall, I’ll give the Knicks an average grade of a C for their trade deadline moves.  Even with the inactivity at the trade deadline, we should have some good competitive basketball to watch over the last two months of the season.  Enjoy!!