By Jason Keidel
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transitive verb \ˈō-vər-ˌrāt\
Definition of OVERRATE : to rate, value, or estimate too highly <overrates his importance to the team>
Little did Daniel Webster know that he not only summed up the sport of basketball in general, but Carmelo Anthony in particular.
With the Knicks up two points and perilously few moments left, Anthony drove to the basket, unimpeded, ready for a trademark jam.
Then, as if to not only swat his shot but also repudiate all that “watch the star” template entails, Roy Hibbert snatched the life from the Knicks, sending the ball back down Anthony’s bread basket.
It was a flashpoint in the game, the series and the season for the Knicks, who have led you to believe that they’re just a few painfully random moments short of a title.
In fact, their blueprint is faulty beyond repair, and they just lost to a team with less talent, but more teamwork, which serves as a perfect microcosm of your Knickerbockers. Five different players led the Pacers in scoring over the six-game series. We know who always leads the Knicks in scoring.
“He had 39 points!” you snap.
And he was 2-for-7 in the fourth quarter, with some woeful turnovers occurring at crunch time. But why let facts interfere with idolatry? The truth is, you got Anthony at his best and the Knicks still lost. That won’t ever change, because Anthony’s limitations far outweigh his talents. He has not, does not, and will not make his teammates better.
The talking heads at MSG Network, the bobble-head dolls, corporate yes-men for all things orange and blue, belched the predictable platitudes, perhaps knowing that the door has been shut and bolted on this club.
One doll talked about having “really good pieces in place,” while another talked about how Marcus Camby can step it up next year. Marcus Camby.
The Knicks owe $74 million in guaranteed money next year. The salary cap is around $59 million. We’ve seen the past and present, and now they have no future. They have gone as far as Anthony will take them.
ESPN flashed a factoid that wasn’t lost on us Anthony detractors. Here are the top four scoring averages from players who never played in the NBA Finals.
1) George Gervin
2) Carmelo Anthony
3) Dominique Wilkins
4) Pete Maravich
Did any of Anthony’s ring-less contemporaries make his teams exponentially better?
Fun to watch. Fallible to the core.
When you’re a loser you dwell in marginal wins: best record since 1997, first division title since 1994, first playoff series win since 2000. But never, ever, first championship since 1973. That mark is monolithic, as much a part of the Madison Square Garden landscape as Penn Station, Penn Plaza, pretzels and hot dogs.
Knicks fans will scatter like roaches when the kitchen light flicks on. But they won’t leave without a few myopic parting shots, their sights set on Mike Woodson, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. Anyone but Anthony, of course.
If I hear one more Knicks fan blame the referees, it will be time to quarantine the entire bunch, stuffed into their accustomed, comfortable cubicles where they hibernate, clutching their conspiracy theories until next fall.
The Knicks have become the Brooklyn Dodgers, always an arm’s length from the promised land. Both are bums. But one team, this team, isn’t so lovable.
10 years and counting for Anthony, and 40 for your… New…York … Knicks!
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