Keidel: Knicks Sweep Leaves Madison Square Gutted

By Jason Keidel
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Putting an April post mortem on the New York Knickerbockers has become as predictable as the asters popping pink in Bryant Park.

After all the flexing, posing, promos, and talk, the Knicks were framed in chalk on their home court, rendering a frantic fan base mute in a New York minute. A hardwood homicide occurred in Madison Square Garden last night, before 19,763 witnesses who expected so much more.

The Boston Celtics don’t care about Carmelo. They don’t care about buzz. They don’t care about All-Stars on the court or movie stars preening courtside. They don’t care about GQ covers or Q ratings. They don’t care that the Knicks made it close for two games. They care about basketball. And at that, the Celtics were far superior, stomping and sweeping a pretty talented but very tormented group, sending the Knicks on a familiar course – straight to the golf course.

“The Knicks are gonna be real good someday,” is what Doc Rivers and every other coach says after beating the Knicks. Strange how that day never arrives.

Though I trashed the trade from the jump, I am among the idiots who thought Carmelo would imbue the Knicks with playoff mojo and save some face after a woeful .500 record since the deal with Denver (while Denver went 18-7 without ‘Melo). We were duped.

After the game I changed the channel to MSG for some objective postgame coverage. Instead, the studio morphed into a delusional echo chamber, led by Al Trautwig, who passed the platitudinous baton down the dais to Earl Monroe, Bernard King, and Kelly Tripucka. All were in verbal lockstep over the Knicks’ “gutty performance,” and how they “really showed us something tonight,” and how “excited fans should be” by the energy the Knicks showed by cutting a 23-point lead down to four, ignoring the fact that the Knicks allowed Boston to blow the game open by 23 points in the first place.

You expect the old salt – Pearl, King, and Clyde – to shill for the team. But Trautwig and Breen are paid pragmatists. Had the score not been on your screen you would have sworn the Knicks not only won the game, but also swept the series.

The group sentiment was so surreal that I expected Rod Serling to float down from the rafters, where the ghosts still stir in disgust after another season ended for no reason and with little direction.

Eight American presidents have resided since the Knicks presided over a title. Television replaced radio and color replaced black-and-white, and now we watch in high-def as the Knicks yet again go from vocation to vacation before May.

The group hug reached Mike Breen, who said the Knicks “showed us how far they’ve come” as the court was solemnly dismantled behind him, the lights dimming on the Garden, Knicks, and Rangers who, for too long, have assured us a springtime hibernation.

Both teams play like MSG doesn’t pay its air-conditioning bill, always sure to get out of town before the weather gets hot.

Carmelo Anthony, who threw his team under the bus on the road and then fell flat for the home crowd, did not come as advertised, as a savior. Indeed, Amar’e Stoudemire lived up to his handle, STAT. Spastic spine and all, he is still the backbone of this team.

With Chauncey Billups dressed for church, Stoudemire tried his Sunday best to pull off a Willis Reed, limp onto the hardwood and leave a hero. You can clap for Amar’e, who forced his mummified frame into the game, and got 19 points and 12 rebounds in agony. It was the healthy Knicks who left us in agony.

There are people who will never admit the Carmelo trade was a mistake or that the Knicks made mistakes in this series, pointing futilely at the refs, injuries, and injustice. The two games at MSG were a cold slap to the hot faces of the fan base, who thought that after two tight games in Boston the Knicks had the fix. Tonight was supposed to be a changing of the guard rather than a black hole at point guard. Rajon Rondo gashed the Knicks for 20 assists in Game 3, and danced his way through their indifferent defense in Game 4 (21 points, 12 assists).

The Knicks are much like another franchise in the five boroughs bathed in blue and orange, with just two titles since Grace Slick sang White Rabbit at Woodstock. The Mets/Jets/Knicks fan must wear many layers to hide the burn marks over the decades, from the Gastineau Game to Game 6 in ’06 to last night. New Yorkers aren’t normally a sadistic group, just with sports.

The current Knicks fan, the Carmeloholic, is an odd chap who chafes at any notion that the players lose these games. All defeats dangle from Mike D’Antoni’s neck – after the refs rigged the game, of course. But every Celtic who played last night (nine players in all) had at least five rebounds – an astonishing stat that speaks entirely to effort. The consensus is that the Knicks came out flat or, in current NBA parlance, without energy, despite the infinite incentive to play hard.

On Easter, fittingly, the Knicks laid their greatest egg, dyed green to represent the Celtic knot that choked them out of the NBA playoffs. For all the hype, the tough-guy tenor the Knicks used as a battle cry, they left with a whimper, and without a fight.

Feel free to email me:

Should we be celebrating the Knicks’ turnaround or getting on them for their listless round one performance? Let Keidel know in the comments below…

  • keith

    We traded away what for Melo? If we traded anything more than a hotdog and a medium diet Coke, we got f’d.

  • Gary

    do you realize the Islanders have won more playoff games than the Knicks in the last 10 years?

  • JK

    So, Chief, you’re saying if Billups plays you win that series?

  • brim88

    Great Point: The Mets/Jets/Knicks fan. We all came of age in the late ’60’s/1970’s – – the three most exciting and winning teams in the country. We had Namath, Clyde and Seaver. Since 1986, it has been PUTRID since. The names change (Richard Todd, Mike Scocia, Vinne T, Ewing) but the results are hopelessly the same.

    • JK

      Richard Todd. Ouch!

      I should have mentioned the Mudd Bowl instead of the Gastineau Game. Good point, sir.

  • JK

    Poor lad can’t get his own friends to visit his blog, so he uses ours. Sad, son. Sad.

    • Kurt Spitzner

      Wow,no shi….!

  • HooDatIS?


  • Kurt Spitzner

    Well the Mets won 3 in a row so as far as things go that could be the bright spot on an otherwise dreary season so its not all bad just status quo in NY sportsland.
    I can’t blame it all on Melo either and don’t think things would have been much better with the old squad so its…… if we did and ….. if we didn’t so for next year hopefully we can build and possibly take it a few steps farther.If not then its just the same old,same old and what we expect as ny fans.We don’t desire or deserve it but after a while you just get a little numb.That is unless you are a Yankee fan in which case it should be all good!

    • JK

      If only Knicks fans would just own-up to the disaster instead of dealing from a bottomless deck of excuses. You got your tail whipped. Can’t fix a problem until you admit you have one.

      Break up the Mets!

      • Kurt Spitzner

        As far as breaking up the Mets goes at this point and even after a massive 3 game winning streak I say go for it and see what can be gotten for what they have and maybe in a few years we can have a team that is worth watching.That is as long as they drop the ticket and food prices in conjunction with it all, but if not then it really doesn’t matter much until NEW OWNERSHIP IS IN PLACE but good luck with any of this on this side of the tracks.Yes I am a little disgruntled!

      • Kurt Spitzner

        Never said there wasn’t a problem as there always is but I can’t place all the blame on one player when its the ownership that makes the moves.And quite often in this town the moves are not always based on what is best for the team as a whole but what makes ownership money in the long run and the only exception these days are the NY Yankees.They don’t always win them all but they do win most of them and always try to win so much more than that you cannot reasonably ask for in this day and age and most certainly in this town.The Mets could learn something from the team in the Bronx if they only had an open minded ownership without financial restraints,but once again and most surely I digress.

    • JF

      The Mets will be doing the same thing at the end of their season that the Knicks are doing now, watching the playoffs on TV. Poor ownership decisions will doom these teams for years to come.

    • JK

      Break up your Metropolitans. First place, here they come!

      Not fair to compare any team to the Yankees, because they can just shove more chips into the pile and everyone else has to fold. Forgive the poker metaphor.

      • Kurt Spitzner

        In NY there is no other way to be than the way the Yankees are and everyone else tries but SUCKS very badly at it unfortunately but the DO try!
        I say don’t count your chips while you are sitting at the table….just do what needs to be done.PERIOD!
        PS As a Mets fan I would never expect first place carte blanche but if they start over with young talent and present ownership theres a chance they can be competitive and thats all I ever expect as a true life long fan.Now with new ownership there would be no need to dismantle only scrutinize and then spend to fill in the blanks.I am not holding my breath for anything other than blowing up this team and hoping for the best with the debacle that is the present ownership of the NY Mets.

  • JK

    Heh. Good point, Andre. I hadn’t considered the Liberty. When is Westminster?

  • Chief Wiggum

    What a typical reactonary article by another terrible journalist. What are the Knicks suppose to do without Billiups and Amare playing at about 50%? Anthony Carter and Roger mason were playing down the stretch. That has to be the worst back court of all time but its Carmelo’s fault they lost?

    • JK

      Indeed. A Carmeloholic has spoken. Any others?

      Spin it all you want, Chief, but you went 0-8 against Boston this year. No excuses.

      • Chief Wiggum

        I didn’t love the trade for Melo. Especially giving up Felton (who played great until Dantoni road him into the ground) but the trade is done and when you gut your team and are counting on 3 guys to carry you and two of them get hurt your not going to win. I mean if Wade was out and Bosh had a bad back the Heat would get swept by the Celtics as well.

  • Andre Jimmo

    The lights will be dimmed at MSG for only a month. The Liberty start their seaason in early June.

    • Rob

      Actually, starting in June, and for the next three seasons (through 2013) while the Garden undergoes its transformation in the summer months, the Liberty will temporarily play at the Prudential Center in Newark. They’ll return to MSG in 2014, I believe.

      • JK

        Oh, no! What about Westminster?

    • dico j.


    • dico j.


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