By Jason Keidel
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Peter Vecsey was blasted for saying on this station that the Knicks were a .500 team with Carmelo Anthony. He was wrong.
1-6 in your last 7 games.
New Yorkers are normally wedded to wins and losses, until they don’t support your argument. Facts become incidental, like 7-9 since your hero came home.
Yesterday, Boomer and Carton did a verbal u-turn, giving Peter props for his prediction. At least they were men enough to man-up on the matter. Many in the Carmelo Kool-Aid army, who just love the way “’Melo” rolls off the tongue, will insist this was a brilliant deal no matter what the scoreboard asserts.
Saint Anthony already gave his de facto concession speech in this space yesterday.
“We’re losing games, some games that we’re supposed to win,” Anthony said. “But that’s neither here nor there. It’s a learning process. We ain’t even been together three weeks. So I’m not really concerned about where we are as a team or us losing games or winning games. As long as we get better at the things we need to get better at, I’m cool with it.”
Stay cool through another spring without a ring. He’s learning on a quick curve that being born in Brooklyn – and demanding a trade to Manhattan – bears an inordinate burden. This isn’t Syracuse. There are no DePaul home games.
Before he migrated to New York, ‘Melo was the man the minute he peeled off his jumpsuit. The high altitude, all-attitude game he brought to Denver doesn’t work in New York without an appearance along Canyon of Heroes. We’ve been through Patrick Ewing’s eternally hollow promises of a title. Time for talk is over. Only one blowhard is allowed to bite the Big Apple at a time. His name is Rex Ryan. And Rex can flex with playoff wins.
The Boston Celtics, the latest team to pound the Knicks, set a perilous precedent when they cobbled together stars in hopes of a dynastic universe. Unlike the Knicks, the Big Three (Garnett, Allen, and Pierce) hacked off selfish parts of their game in the name of a title. Beyond Billups, not one Knick – from Carmelo to Dolan to D’Antoni – has touched a Larry O’Brien Trophy. And it shows.
There’s no shame in losing to the Celtics, the favorite to reach (if not win) the NBA Finals. But there’s much shame and blame when you’re wiped off the floor by perennial powers like Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland (twice) and Indiana (twice more).
More and more, the guillotine creeps down the neck of coach Mike D’Antoni, the fall guy for the fall of the 2011 Knickerbockers. All indications are that he didn’t want this trade, as the deal dealt three players who snuggled in his frenetic offense, replaced by a post-up player and a geriatric point guard.
Being right is the best feeling. Perhaps your impulse is to assume that those of us with a byline speared into some pricey Internet realty are imbued with psychic powers, an innate prescience that comes with a press pass.
Not as much as you think. Look no deeper than the retired jocks bulging from their silk suits, from Shannon Sharpe to Charles Barkley, who just bark until something sticks, unable to predict scores from their native sports. If I were gatekeeper of the point spread, I’d own the Knicks, not cover them.
So when I told you Carmelo was the wrong man for this team and town, and the invectives poured like lava into my mailbox, I winked with delicious redemption.
Amar’e Stoudemire – who’s never committed a foul in his life – drove to the hoop with 5:39 left in last night’s game. He missed. And rather than run back on defense, he straddled the baseline, whining to the refs, while Ray Allen cruised to a lay-up on the other end.
The Knicks are dumb, selfish and soft. The thirty-something crowd closes their collective eyes, recalling with orgasmic glory the 1990s Knicks with Pat Riley at the helm, windmill-waving the sleeves of his Armani suit, his waxed hair gleaming under the Garden lights, commanding his troops to hustle back on defense. That team came tantalizingly close to winning a title. Those teams, led by Oakley, Ewing, Mason, and Starks, won with blue-collar grit, while this team is freckled with red carpet glitter.
A shame that Q ratings don’t add to the final score, only to the final notes, which will include another April post mortem on the Knicks, as predictable as the asters popping pink in Central Park.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
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