Tank Mode Is In Full Effect

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The New York Knicks were able to trade who?!?!  That’s right sports fans, someone voluntarily took on J.R. Smith.  In a three-team, six-player trade, the Knicks traded Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  In turn, the Cavaliers traded Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, and a 2019 second-round pick to the Knicks.  The Thunder will send Lance Thomas to the Knicks along with a protected 2015 first-round pick to the Cavs.  This trade took place just before tip-off of last night’s games, so none of these players suited up for their respective teams.  The Knicks also waived Samuel Dalembert which will clear $3.8 million of cap space.

This is a good trade for all three teams.  The Thunder added a solid scorer in Waiters for a first-round pick and a throw-in player, making the Thunder a good team who just got better.  The Cavs got two rotation players for the price of one, so as long as Lebron James can corral J.R. Smith, this trade will help the Cavs this season.  And the lowly Knicks continued to clear cap space, including $6.4 million owed to J.R. Smith, in hopes to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The best part of this deal, by a mile, is that the Knicks were able to rid themselves of the cancer that is J.R. Smith.  Some people believe that the Knicks gave Shumpert away for nothing, but he is hurt, again, and probably wouldn’t have been re-signed following this season anyway.  The Knicks now have only 4 players under contract for next season in Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Cleanthony early.

Just when you thought the 76ers knew how to tank, the Knicks are going to show them a thing or two.  Following last night’s loss, the Knicks have now lost 12 straight games, tying a franchise record.  The Knicks have the worst record in the league at 5-32, and there is no doubt they are en route to the #1 overall pick in the draft.  Now this may be wishful thinking, but I think Phil Jackson planned on tanking this season all along.  He obviously would never admit it, but I’d bet the polygraph would side with me on this one.  He traded Tyson Chandler just so he could rid himself of Raymond Felton’s contract, and last night he did the same with Shumpert and Smith.  He will certainly be waiving the three bench players he just acquired, so he doesn’t have to pay them.  And now he is left with a pile of cash in hand, and his reputation, in hopes to attract a group of free agents who will bring winning ways back to the Big Apple.

Do you still believe in Phil??  Or have you lost faith in the Zen Master??  Let me know in the comment section below.

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!

The “Zen Master” Strikes Again

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Wednesday afternoon, the “Zen Master” showed us once again why he earned such a prestigious nickname.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  That’s okay, I’m going to fill you in.  Who needs ESPN when you have DaveTalksSports right??  Phil Jackson made a splash yesterday by making his first trade as New York Knickerbockers President.  You would be hard pressed to find some one with a brain to tell you this was a bad deal for the Knicks.  The Knicks will be shipping Tyson Chandler back to the Dallas Mavericks along with Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and 2 2nd round picks (34th and 51st) in tonight’s draft. 

For starters, I can’t believe the Knicks were able to offload Raymond Felton (Hey Ray, don’t forget to register those guns in Texas…..oh what it’s Texas, never mind).  The Knicks get a definitive upgrade at the point guard position in acquiring Calderon.  Calderon is going to do exactly what a “true” point guard is supposed to do.  He is going to manage the floor, limit turnovers, knock down the open 3-pointer (which he showed he can certainly do), and most importantly keep the ball out of Carmelo Anthony’s hands (assuming Melo is still on the Knicks next season).  The other thing that most people probably don’t realize is that Calderon is one of the best free throw shooters in the NBA.  Now, you’re probably saying that’s not a big deal, but when you think about it, clutch free throw shooting is often the difference between winning and losing.  The Knicks do commit to Calderon for 3 years seeing as he is under contract, but this is the type of point guard Phil Jackson wants in his “Triangle” system anyway, thus making the $8 million per year easier to swallow.  The Knicks do take an obvious downgrade at the center position by bringing in Dalembert, but he can play some semblance of defense and give you 8 points and 8 rebounds on a consistent basis.  And most importantly, he is an expiring contract.  Even if Tyson Chandler goes back to Dallas and returns to his 2011 form, the Knicks still cleared his $15 million from the salary cap.  As for Larkin and Ellington, these are 2 young players that could turn in to solid role players.  They are in the wait and see category, which is exactly what this Knicks franchise NEEDS!!  Rebuilding while also having a solid foundation if Melo comes back?!?!  Who could have thunk up that genius idea? 

Now that Phil Jackson has gotten his feet wet, I am excited to see what he does with his 2 draft picks this evening.  This is easily the best part of this trade by the way.  No, it’s not that the Knicks are going to find the next Michael Jordan with the 34th or 51st pick, but it is the concept of draft picks that I love.  That sounds silly to say, but if you are a Knicks fan then you know EXACTLY what I mean.  I am also intrigued to see how many more tricks Phil has up his sleeve.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a team with plenty of salary cap space to take on Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani a year earlier than anticipated.  This would give Phil immediate flexibility to chase free agents.  I think the moral of the story is: Never Doubt The “Zen Master”.

 

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!       

One Liner Friday’s

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Hello and welcome back to another edition of One Liner Friday’s. Here you can find the past week in sports wrapped up in one line and one line only. Enjoy!!

Hey what do you know, Bill Belichick does have a heart.

I was actually starting to wonder if he was a robot.

Has anyone seen that picture of Tyson Chandler in a pair of shorts?

Forget one line, I have one word for Tyson Chandler : SQUATS!

I know virtually no one has noticed, but we must be in bizarro world because the U.S. Men’s Soccer team has won 9 games in a row!

Dear Derek Rose, I love the confidence, but you must be high as a kite to say that you are the best player in the NBA.

We all know you didn’t play any games last year, but apparently you didn’t watch any games either.

The Hefty Lefty shot a remarkable final round 66 to win the Open Championship, I’m just glad there were no tents in his way this year.

From now on, I think Tiger Woods should wear Pink on Sundays.

Is anyone else tired of hearing about A-Rod?

Here, I will be taking a stand against the meaningless A-Rod drivel that everyone else is pushing.

I will give you one last line: he cheated and lied, but he’s clearly The Yankees best option at 3rd base so play him until he gets suspended.

Isn’t it sad though that The Yankees are going to rely on Alfonso Soriano to be their savior?

Wait a minute, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, and Mariano Rivera, where is Chuck Knoblauch when you need him?

Lebron left his city, now he’s turning his back on his own country, what’s next? (Maybe he’ll move to Canada)

Ryan Braun bet his life and he’s still alive and Aaron Rodgers bet his salary and he’s still living large, let’s bring out the electric chair so we can move on with our day. #welchonabet

Matt Ryan gets paid!!!!!!

Apparently winning 1 career playoff game is the new benchmark for a $100 million dollar contract.

So big hits at the college level are now cause for ejection, I’m glad the NCAA is attempting to completely ruin another aspect of their game, what a shocker.

They might as well put tutu’s on these guys and let them hit each other with pillows.

Football is a violent sport, let’s leave it that way!!

Speaking of football, Jaws must be sharing Derek Rose’s stash if he thinks Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are both better than Drew Brees.

On a serious note: I feel horrible for Tim Hudson, who over the past 15 years has been one of the most solid and consistent pitchers in all of baseball.

I feel really bad that he got injured the way he did, and I hope he is able to return to form and pitch in the Major League’s again.

The Mets are not just ruining their own players careers, but have now figured out how to ruin their opponents careers too.

Jaromir Jagr was born during World War II, and he is still playing in the NHL; amazing.

With the start of training camp it’s time to get excited about football, but I think it’s cute that Jets fans are actually convinced that they can win 9 games this year.

4 spot, if they’re lucky.

Have a nice weekend everybody!!

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 Is This Team And Where Did The Knicks Go??

Where do I begin? I guess I’ll start from the very beginning and try to work my way through this tragedy without feeling sick to my stomach. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was played Tuesday evening. The New York Knicks played the Indiana Pacers in Indiana with the Pacers leading the series 2 games to 1. The Knicks being the higher seed in the playoffs started the series with home court advantage. However, with the beat down they took from the Pacers in Game 1 in New York, the home court advantage shifted to Indiana. The Knicks could have stolen back their home court advantage with a win last night and evened up the series at 2 games apiece. Instead, as I’m sure you all know by now, the Knicks put forth a lackluster performance (again) and lost by the score of 93-82. That final score, if you ask me, did not accurately depict the way this game was played. The Knicks were outplayed in every aspect of the game, and very easily could have been run right off the court. The series is now lopsided at 3 games to 1 in favor of the Indiana Pacers. While game 5 will be played in New York, that fact is completely insignificant to the outcome of this series. The New York Knicks do not look like the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference. Right now they don’t look like they deserve to even be in the playoffs. We all know that the regular season determines who makes the playoffs. However, we also know that the regular season means absolutely nothing compared to the postseason. The focus and the mentality of every team in the playoffs should shift to one centralized goal: Win The Championship! This is the part that I am having a hard time understanding. Doesn’t every player in professional sports work their butts off for a chance to win a Championship? And wouldn’t you think that you would see every last ounce of energy poured out and left on the floor night in and night out? So why is it that the New York Knicks look like they’re simply going through the motions right now? Last night’s game in Indiana was hands down the BIGGEST game of the year for the Knicks. And, I didn’t see the urgency that such a situation should have warranted. Everyone can talk about J.R. Smith’s struggles, the elderly members of this roster, and how Carmelo Anthony is too selfish, but I don’t see any of these issues as the biggest problem for the Knicks. What I see is a team that lacks the heart, and the desire, and the balls to the wall effort that is necessary to win. What I see is a team that is being outhustled, outworked, and outeverythinged right now. Yes, I made up a word, live with it.

As I mentioned last week and every week of the regular season, the Knicks blueprint for success starts with their defense. I have seen their defensive efficiency and energy in spurts this postseason, but I haven’t seen sustained effort for an entire game or series. The Knicks don’t seem like a team that wants to win a game 79-76, and that needs to change. A W is a W no matter the score. It doesn’t matter what the games look like as long as you come away with a win. Sure, it’s more appealing for fans to watch Melo and J.R. Smith jack up outside shots all day, but that is not how you are going to win this series, or a Championship for that matter. And if, and that is a big IF, they can get their defense to the place it needs to be, then they can figure out their offense (and that is very easy if you ask me). Everyone and their mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and cousin know that Carmelo Anthony is going to shoot the ball once it lands in his hands. All he has to do is make a move toward the basket, draw some form of a double team and pass the ball (if they don’t double we all know he is capable of putting the ball in the basket). Yes, I know it’s a lot to ask the Knicks roster to hit open shots from a Carmelo Anthony pass (ahem, Jason Kidd), but if it happened more often maybe they would start knocking down open shots (ahem, Jason Kidd). Side note: Jason Kidd should retire. He can talk all he wants about his intangibles, but I don’t care one iota about that. He Sucks with a capital s. Anyway, J.R. Smith’s offensive struggles are the easiest to figure out. I know I sound like a broken record, but if Smith takes the ball to the basket he scores. If he shoots it from the outside, he makes 1 out of every 7 shots. Next question. Oh, and Smith is a moron. Last but not least, is the mental state of the New York Knicks. I love the Knicks, and I always have, but have you ever seen a bigger bunch of crybabies in your life?? Yes, the referees are not perfect, in fact they are pretty bad, but after every single foul call Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, or whoever it is throws their hands in the air and cries to the heavens about the horrible call. To that I say, “GROW UP!!” You need to recognize that there are always going to be bad calls throughout every game, but the quicker you move on to the next play the better off you’ll be. If the Knicks could stop complaining and keep their composure, maybe they would be up 3 games to 1 instead of down 3 games to 1. And that’s all I have to say about that!

Do the Knicks bounce back and win game 5 on their home court? Even if they lose do they go down swinging? My heart certainly hopes so, but my brain is telling me something different. The Knicks will go down in 5 games on Thursday night on their own court. This season will become an enormous disappointment, and we can all enjoy a long and arduous offseason. It’s that simple. Enjoy golf season J.R. Smith!

Okay We Are Going To Start Trying….Ummm…..Starting Now!

Can the Indiana Pacers play any better, and can the New York Knicks possibly play any worse? I don’t think so. I’m not trying to make any excuses for the Knicks. Trust me, I watched that entire game and let me be the first person to say that the Knicks made me throw up in my mouth; twice. Now, I’m also not trying to take anything away from the Pacers victory, but everyone needs to hop off that panic button once again. Let me shed some light on what the Knicks have done and what they need to do to make it past the Pacers.

If J.R. Smith can remember that he is allowed to take the ball to the basket, they might fare better in the rest of the series. And Mr. Anthony is not getting let off the hook so easily either. Since the end of game 3 against the Boston Celtics, he has been downright awful! We all know the statistics, so I’m not going to bore you with those. He, and the rest of the Knicks, are a jack up shots and hope they go in team right now. Despite what everyone thinks, their best recipe for success is not to live and die by the 3. Yes, they succeed when they hit OPEN 3-pointers at a high percentage, but they really work best off of dribble penetration by Raymond Felton or Carmelo Anthony. This either leads to a bucket or trip to the foul line for Anthony, or an open shot for Felton or Iman Shumpert. Their other best offensive option is the high pick and roll involving any combination of Felton/Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin/Tyson Chandler. This has led to the best offensive possessions the Knicks have seen all year. For some reason Mike Woodson doesn’t stick with what works. No matter how good the Knicks look at times they always revert back to their old habits (Iso-Melo). What Woodson needs to preach is sound defense first and smart offense second. They also need to recognize that the pace of play from game 1 completely favors the Pacers. The Pacers want to slow the ball down and work the ball through the low post (because they have a clear size advantage). The Knicks should look to push the pace at all times and take Roy Hibbert and their other big men out of play. And for the love of god, Coach, please leave Jason Kidd at the hotel napping next time you head over to the arena. He is god awful. Even when he’s wide open he doesn’t shoot the ball, so what’s the point of having him out there anyway? I’ve been screaming this from the hill tops all season, but Woodson has this secret love affair with Kidd that no one else is talking about. And at the same time, he has this odd hatred for Iman Shumpert that I can’t seem to figure out. Shumpert, especially against a defensive minded team is one of your most valuable weapons. They need Shumpert’s young legs and energy on both ends of the floor. And think about any of the Knicks fast breaks that aren’t being led by Raymond Felton. They’re being led by Shumpert aren’t they? Chew on that thought for a minute while I delve into what occurred on the Knicks home court Sunday afternoon.

As I stated before, the Pacers played a very solid game on Sunday, especially their role players. Now if Lance Stephenson is going to have a double double every night and D.J. Augustin is going to hit 45 three pointers than the Knicks have no chance in this series. However, if you want me to realistically believe that that’s going to happen, that also is not going to happen. I just can’t see the Knicks rolling over and dying in this series. Maybe I’m telling you what I want to see more than what I think, but for everyone’s sake they better show a better effort than they did in game 1. I think we will all see what this team is made of in game 2. At this point in the season, they need to lay it all on the line and leave every ounce of energy on that floor Tuesday night. I think they’ll stand up to the challenge and win what is without a doubt their biggest game of the year. It’s playoffs time baby! It’s do or die! 99-88 Knicks. Book it.

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!

Knicks Defense Stifles Celtics

The atmosphere inside the World’s Most Famous Arena Tuesday night was electrifying. The crowd was in the game from start to finish, and the Knicks were able to match the fans intensity. That intensity really showed itself on the defensive end. Let me just say that if the Knicks play defense the way they did in the 2nd half, they will give Miami a run for their money. This game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Celtics played efficiently on the offensive end and they applied solid pressure on the defensive end. The first quarter was back and forth until J.R. Smith took over. His pure athleticism coupled with his acrobatic shots put the Knicks on top heading to the 2nd quarter. Smith was able to score 5 points inside the final 7 seconds of the 1st quarter to leave the Knicks ahead by 6. His final shot at the buzzer was a step back 3-pointer from about 40 feet. The Garden erupted, and it looked like the Knicks were going to cruise to an easy victory. The Celtics, however, had other plans. The Celtics turned up their defense and started pushing the ball up the floor off of turnovers. With the pace of play being turned up a notch, this created open shots for Jason Terry. Terry finally found his range as he hit three consecutive three pointers and helped the Celtics grab a six point advantage heading into halftime. The 2nd half did not exactly go as well as the 1st for the Celtics. The 3rd quarter of Tuesday night’s game was an exact blueprint of what the Knicks need to do to win. The Knicks energy and defensive intensity was phenomenal. They forced numerous turnovers and their defensive pressure stifled the old men in green. Paul Pierce has always looked like he’s running in quicksand, but I think it’s safe to say he’s nearing the bottom of the hill. Kevin Garnett on the other hand never got anything going due to early foul trouble. This time it seemed that he was the one frustrated by his opposition (and Carmelo didn’t even have to say anything about his wife, hmm go figure). The Knicks defense was intense, it was swarming, it was physical, and best of all it sent a message to the rest of the league. The Knicks in 2 straight games have held the Celtics to 24 and 23 2nd half points; respectively. Thats insane! Now all they need to do is commit themselves completely to that hard nose style of play, and they’ll be all set. And let me branch off here for a second to spend a little time to give credit where credit is due. Kenyon Martin is the man! I love Kenyon Martin’s game (and if you don’t you need to have your head examined). My favorite part of any game is when a player drives down the middle of the lane thinking he has a free path to the basket for a dunk. Little does he know that Kenyon Martin is not just waiting, he’s salivating for such an opportunity. What comes next is the best part. Kenyon either takes the player down in a way that the player says to himself, “I better not try that again”, or he comes away with a monster block. Either way Kenyon Martin is sending this message: (which I approve) Don’t you bring that weak stuff up in here boy! (And then he screams at the crowd which is awesome!). And that right there is what you should love about Kenyon Martin and the dynamic he brings to this roster. Plus, his wry smile at the ref every time he commits a ‘foul’ is pretty amusing too. Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand. We know what Melo brings to the table, and we think we know what J.R. Smith brings as well. But what we don’t know is how consistently Raymond Felton can play with the aggressive nature we saw Tuesday night. Felton was by far the player of the game last night. I know I know, Melo had all those points, but without Felton’s contributions that game would have ended differently. So, if Chandler, Shumpert, and Martin bring the defense while Melo and Melo Jr. bring the offense, all we need is little Raymond Felton to penetrate the defense and either dish or attack the basket. With Felton as a viable 3rd offensive weapon the Knicks stand a serious chance in the Eastern Conference. All the Knicks need to do now is not have a let down like we’ve all grown accustom to. They can’t get comfortable with a 2 game lead (especially with those 2 wins coming at home). They need to stay focused as
they enter the hostile environment that will be the TD Garden in Boston. Even with the declining play from Boston’s stars, Boston is going to be the toughest place to play for the foreseeable future, trust me. The Knicks need to keep their defensive intensity up and win game 3. Then they’ll be in the drivers seat. You can catch game 3 of the New York Knicks vs. the Boston Celtics on Friday night @ 8:00 p.m. Tune into ESPN to catch all the action. Enjoy the rest of the series everybody.

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!

Melo Scores So Much It’s Offensive

New York is home to the best show on TV, The Carmelo Show. Carmelo Anthony has been on fire as of late and he stayed lit Sunday afternoon. Carmelo Anthony scored 36 efficient points in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. Thanks to Melo’s offensive onslaught (and a little help from his friends) the Knicks pulled out a 125-120 victory. This win brings the first 50 win season to New York in 13 seasons. This also brings Carmelo’s astonishing scoring average to a blistering 41.75 points per game over his last 4 games. There is only word that can truly explain Carmelo Anthony right now; unconscious. He is now the leading scorer in the NBA, but more importantly the Knicks have now won 12 games in a row. As I’ve stated before, the Knicks are a streaky team who rely on the three ball. Right now they are shooting the ball well, and everything seems to be going in no matter where they shoot it from. The positive to be taken away is the types of threes that are being taken. When the Knicks were playing poorly they were jacking up a lot of contested three-pointers (ahem, JR). Now that they are winning again they are taking good open shots. These open shots aren’t created on their own, they are created from good ball movement and penetration. All of these things can be attributed to Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, and Raymond Felton’s ability to drive into the lane and kick the ball out to the open man. At the same time, when they decide not to pass the ball it’s because they have an open driving lane to the basket. This is a recipe for success for now and the future.

With the Knicks latest success, all the “experts” who wrote them off are all slowly making their way back on the bandwagon. As I see each of these flip-floppers try to sneak their way on to my wagon, I sound an alarm that has their seat eject them back to wherever they came from. I understand that this is New York and the media attention that teams receive here is unbelievable, but we need to avoid the knee-jerk reaction. Everyone should have realized that the Knicks were decimated by injury and had a ridiculously tough schedule in the beginning of March (which included that tough 5 game road trip). This coupled with the lack of chemistry between Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler contributed to the teams struggles. Also, I shouldn’t forget to mention that Iman Shumpert wasn’t 100% healthy until just recently, and Jason Kidd and Steve Novak went ice cold at precisely the same time. So, I’m glad I’m the only one out there that didn’t serve them with the death penalty. Anyway, the Knicks are playing great basketball, and we can only hope that this style of play and intensity continues throughout the playoffs. The Knicks still shouldn’t overlook anyone they face in the playoffs, but it looks like they can give the Heat a run for the money if it should come to that. Tune in to MSG network Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. to watch the Knicks take on the Washington Wizards at home. They will look to keep the good times rolling and attempt to extend their winning streak to 13 games.

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!

I Aint Mad At Cha

The New York Knicks lost their 4th straight game on the road Sunday afternoon.  However, I can’t really yell at my favorite basketball team today.  They put forth a solid effort against a superior Los Angeles Clippers team.  By the way, Chris Paul is really really good at basketball.  I know everyone knows that, but I felt the need to reiterate that point.  If it wasn’t for Lebron James or Kevin Durant, Chris Paul would be the MVP of the league this year.  His defense is extremely underrated and his patience with the basketball is second to none.  While his defense Sunday was stellar on Raymond Felton, I found it funny that Felton waited until the game was just about out of reach to start playing hard.  Felton scored 8 of his 16 points in the 4th quarter, and he looked good doing it.  He was shaking and baking and taking the ball to the rim with authority.  If only someone, ahem like the coach, had told him to attack the basket in the 1st quarter maybe the Knicks would have had a chance in this game.  The Knicks never had a chance to win this basketball game though, however they never quit.  They kept fighting until the final buzzer, and that is the kind of effort they need to sustain when Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler return to action.  As for the game yesterday, there isn’t much to figure out.  The Knicks starting lineup consisted of Kurt Thomas, Kenyon Martin, and Chris Copeland.  That’s all you need to know to figure out how this game played out.  The Clippers defeated the Knicks 93-80, but not without putting up a fight first.  The Knicks played a tough physical brand of defense yesterday (just ask the Clippers front court if they like Kenyon Martin).  I think Kenyon Martin is really funny by the way.  Every time there is a questionable call against him, he looks at the referee and his eyes do the talking.  So now that we’re assuming that Kenyon Martin’s eyes can talk they say, “Come on man, you know you’re making that call because my name is Kenyon Martin, not because that was a foul.”  Anyway, it was an impressive feat to hold the Clippers high powered offense to only 93 points.  The only problem was the Knicks “C” squad was only able to muster up 80 points (and that included 12 3-pointers).  This game, if for nothing else, should be a nice confidence boost for Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, and Chris Copeland.  All hit 3 3-pointers, and kept their team within striking distance throughout most of this game.  Unlike everyone else in the world, I am not jumping ship on the Knicks, not just yet.  Their success depends entirely on the health of Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony going forward obviously, but I see the Eastern Conference as a toss-up outside of Miami.  If the Knicks get healthy and hot at the right time, they could still make some noise in the playoffs.  For now, they will have to make do with the roster they’ve got.  We will see if they can finally win a game against a desperate Utah Jazz team on Monday night.  This is the final game of their tough 5 game road trip.  The Jazz haven’t been playing too well as of late, but they need a win to keep pace with the Lakers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  You can watch the Knicks take on the Jazz Monday night at 10:30 P.M. on ESPN.

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!

Carmelo’s Return Spoiled

Wednesday night marked the first game for Carmelo Anthony in Denver since being traded from the Nuggets.  The Denver Nuggets traded Anthony for a host of players and draft picks to the New York Knicks back in 2011.  When it comes to players being traded, sometimes you have players that become a cancer in a locker room or bring more drama to a team than a daytime soap opera.  However in Melo’s case, he and the Nuggets were in mutual agreement that it was time to move on.  Carmelo had always wanted to come back home and play in the city where he grew up, the one, the only, New York City.  At the same time, the Denver Nuggets found a way to get numerous promising young players and future draft picks in return for Anthony.  The trade turned out to be a win-win situation.  With that being said, I have never been more embarrassed for an entire fan base than I was for the IGNORANT Denver Nuggets fans that were in attendance Wednesday night.  From the second they introduced Carmelo Anthony to the starting lineup, they booed him.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, they booed him every single time he touched the ball.  To that I say, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?  And to make matters even worse, when Melo left the game in the 3rd quarter due to a banged up knee, the fans felt it was necessary to chant, “Where is Melo?”  Really?  Does that make you feel better?  This is not like Lebron James’ situation, where he left his team high and dry and they reverted back to the horrible team they were prior to his arrival.  It is not like Melo left the city he grew up in to chase the money.  NO, he wanted to come home and play basketball in the greatest arena on earth.  Now I know that fans aren’t always as smart as they let on, but I thought they were going to get this one right.  While everyone was wondering what kind of reception Melo would get from the crowd, I kept saying they have to cheer him.  For all he did for this team, they’d be the dumbest fans in all the world to boo him.  Well, if the shoe fits…….  So clearly, the fans that filled the Nuggets arena are classless and don’t understand anything about the NBA.  They clearly can’t look at Carmelo’s career as a Denver Nugget objectively and say, man he was great, he took us to the playoffs literally every year he played here (including his rookie season).  Say what you want about Carmelo Anthony’s game.  Tell me he’s not good enough to win a championship.  Tell me his style of play is not conducive to the “team” mentality.  You can even tell me he doesn’t have the work ethic of a Lebron James or a Michael Jordan.  But don’t tell me he didn’t give the Denver Nuggets everything he had for 7+ seasons.  Don’t tell me the Nuggets would have been a playoff team 7 years in a row without him.  And, you definitely can’t tell me that he wasn’t the reason you came out to the arena to watch the team every night.  So to all the Denver Nuggets fans who booed and heckled Carmelo Anthony, I say go back to school because you obviously don’t have any class.

As for the game, it was pathetic.  Man I get tired of using that word.  As I stated earlier, Carmelo Anthony left the game in the 3rd quarter due to his knee acting up again.  Carmelo Anthony is clearly not 100%, and they need to rest him so he’s healthy for the playoffs.  If a player is going to suit up, they need to be able to give it their all, every night.  And right now, he can’t do that.  Will having his knee drained solve all of his problems?  I don’t know, but I sure hope it does.  A very scary moment came in the 2nd quarter when Tyson Chandler went down after banging knees with Corey Brewer.  As of now the Knicks are calling it a knee contusion.  When asked about it after the game, Chandler said it shouldn’t be a problem and hopefully we’ll see him in uniform Thursday night.  Thursday night they continue their tough road trip against the Portland Trailblazers, and it would serve the Knicks well to have Chandler in there to slow down LaMarcus Aldridge (he’s pretty good).  If you haven’t figured it out by now the Knicks got blown out for the second straight game.  They lost the game 117-94.  While Melo and Chandler left the game and Raymond Felton’s woes continued, there was one positive to be taken away from Wednesday nights shellacking.  Iman Shumpert showed us that he can actually score the basketball.  Since always, I’ve been preaching that he is wildly underrated on the offensive end and once his knee is back to 100%, he will show the world that he can shoot.  Last night was a prime example of that.  Shumpert scored 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting from the field (which included going 4 for 5 from 3-point range).  So being the glass half full guy that I am (haha), let us take away only the positive (yes that’s positive in the singular form because there was only one) from last night’s game.  Other than that last night’s game was a complete and total disaster, and I’m not sure it can get any worse for the New York Knicks.  They need to pick off 1 or 2 of the 3 games remaining on this road trip and crawl their way back to New York with some confidence.  Luckily for them, the Utah Jazz are playing like the worst team in the galaxy right now, and that is where they finish their road trip.  But first, they will be in Portland Thursday night to take on the Blazers.  You can find that game on TNT at 10:30 P.M.  Personally, I can’t wait for them to finish this road trip so I can start going to bed at a reasonable time.  But hey, it’s not all about me now is it?

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!

Melo Jr. Gives It His All

Well apparently the Knicks didn’t get the memo about Kevin Durant.  He is a beast in the 4th quarter!  Durant scored 12 of the Thunder’s 20 points in the 4th quarter and they won the game 95-94.  J.R. Smith and the Meloless Knicks gave it their all against one of the best teams in the league, but it just wasn’t enough.  J.R. Smith did his best Carmelo impression last night scoring 36 points on 29 shots.  He played a good game off the “bench”, but he couldn’t beat the Thunder by himself.  Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire both added 16 points, but the offense was pretty inefficient as a whole (they shot 40% from the field and 32% from 3 point range).  Believe it or not, the Knicks actually had a 6 point lead heading to 4th quarter, so it makes sense that they got outscored by 7 points in the 4th quarter (haha, figures).  That leads me back to my original point.  Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA that is not named Lebron James.  The Knicks obviously didn’t realize that.  They should have been double teaming Durant in the 4th quarter and forced someone else to beat them.  Outside of Durant and Westbrook, no one else on the Thunder took more than 7 shots.  If you had doubled them and forced Serge Ibaka or Kevin Martin to beat you, I bet you would have had some success.  Unfortunately, the Knicks decided to go one on one with Kevin Durant, and he killed them when it mattered most.  I have to put most of the blame on Coach Woodson.  Mike Woodson keeps preaching that it doesn’t matter who starts games, it only matters who finishes games.  Well Mike, you continue to screw up the lineups at the end of games so what exactly are you talking about?!?!  How you don’t have Amar’e Stoudemire in against the Heat down the stretch is beyond me.  Plus last night he did the same thing with Tyson Chandler sitting him for 5 and a half of the most crucial minutes of the 4th quarter.  How many times do I have to hear about the questionable moves and substitutions from Woodson before someone questions him as a great coach?  People think because the Knicks have a good record that he must be doing a great job, but I’m here to tell you that their record could and should be even better.  Woodson needs to pull his head out of the sand and start managing his roster properly.  For starters, I like Kurt Thomas, but send him off to the nursing home already.  Secondly, James White should be a star in the D-League, not A STARTER on an NBA roster (let alone on a good NBA roster).  The next step for Woodson is to get Melo 100% and bring he and Amar’e back to the starting lineup together.  This will infuse some instant offense into the starting lineup and will keep them from getting down early in games.  It will also bring some size into the starting lineup, and while Amar’e is not a great rebounder, he’ll certainly grab more boards than James White or Kurt Thomas.  Everyone questions Amar’e’s defense, but everyone’s defense on this team is questionable besides Tyson Chandler.  At least Amar’e is trying on the defensive end, which is more than you can say about Steve Novak.  Is he not the worst defender in the NBA?  I defy you to find a worse defender in the entire NBA than Steve Novak.  Woodson should leave J.R. in his role as the 6th man, because it would make no sense to have 2 “Carmelo’s” on the floor at the same time.  If Woodson continues to bring Jason Kidd in as the backup point guard, Kidd can manage Smith’s personality and mold him in to a well-rounded basketball player.  As for size, defense, and toughness the Knicks have Chandler and need to hope and pray that the combination of Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby can help in those departments.

Let me get back to last night’s game.  The Knicks should take only positive notes away from this loss to the Thunder.  Think about it this way, did anyone in the world besides a completely biased Knicks fan think they were going to win that game last night?  No chance in hell.  I personally thought they were going to lose by 10 points.  The fact that they had a lead heading into the 4th quarter and only lost by 1 point without their top scorer is an impressive feat if you ask me.  It would have been a nice game to steal since they have an insane schedule in March, but they should feel good about themselves moving forward.  The Knicks have a much needed day off on Friday, but will be right back in action Saturday night at home against the Utah Jazz.  Maybe we’ll see Carmelo Anthony back in uniform by then.  Either way, tune in to MSG @ 7:30 P.M. to watch the Knicks beat the Utah Jazz.

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!