fire Isiah

The Knicks offense: They scored 92 points on 38 percent shooting (30-79) and committed 18 turnovers. During the second quarter, the Knicks went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal. And I feel the need to point out the obvious here: An NBA quarter is only 12 minutes long. New York bricked 20 shots during that 11-minute Gulag. It very rarely gets any uglier than that.

Fun fact: The Knicks are last in the league in assists (17.2).

The Knicks defense: They surrendered 119 points on 58 percent shooting (49-84). Moreover, they could only stand by and watch in bleary-eyed wonder as Mike Dunleavy Jr. dropped a career-high 36 points (13-18) on them, including 22 in the third quarter alone. You cannot trust teams that give up career nights to Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Fun fact: The Pacers are the sixth highest scoring team in the league (104.6 PPG), and the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference. They're second in the league in field goal attempts (86.8), fourth in three-point attempts (22.4), and sixth in assists (23.3). An up-tempo offense in Indiana? Quite a change from the Rick Carlisle days.

The Knicks: They have the second-highest payroll in the league, yet they've lost six of seven games and are 7-17 on the season (including 1-9 on the road). Their own fans have turned on them and they're regularly booed at home. They're selfish, don't play defense, their coach/general manager is a laughingstock, and there's no hope whatsoever of anything improving in any significant way any time soon. The three words that best describe them are as follows, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."

Zach Randolph: He lead the Knicks in points and rebounds (26 and 9), but during the second quarter he displayed the kind of behavior that epitomizes a little bit of everything that's wrong with his team. While apparently trying to argue a call, Randolph completely turned his back and left his man (Troy Murphy) wide open for a three-pointer that gave the Pacers a 12-point lead with 1:20 remaining in the first half. Here's some advice, Zach. Argue with the refs when play is stopped or even not at all.

Renaldo Balkman: Isiah Thomas' tenure as the Knicks' GM has been a cautionary tale in abject failure, but drafting Balkman was supposed to be one of his rare successes. Well, I think you can officially scratch that idea. Balkman went scoreless (0-5) against the Pacers. It marks the seventh time in 20 games this season that he hasn't scored a point. He's currently averaging 2.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG. Of course, he's only playing around 13 minutes per game. Interestingly enough, he grabbed 9 rebounds last night in only 12 minutes, which tied him with Randolph (who played 38 minutes) for the team high. Balkman might actually be the team's most effective rebounder, but at 13 MPG, we'll probably never know for sure.

Cleveland Cavaliers: It took them two overtimes and a little luck to win a home game against the Bucks, a team that's lost 10 of their last 13 games. I know they say a win's a win, but sometimes a win feels an awful lot like a loss, doesn't it?

Charlie Bell: Remember, this is the guy that the Bucks wouldn't let bolt to the Heat. He's averaging 4.6 PPG and 2.8 APG on the season. Last night he scored zero points (0-3) and had 1 personal foul in 10 minutes.

Bobby Simmons: Speaking of contract errors, the Bucks' big free agent acquisition of a couple years ago didn't play much better than Bell: He had zero points (0-1), 1 assist, and 2 personal fouls in 15 minutes.

Utah Jazz: They let the Hawks -- the Atlanta Hawks -- score 116 points on 57 percent shooting. They also gave Atlanta the gift of 50 freethrow attempts. Naturally, the Hawks did their best to give that gift right back by missing 14 foul shots and committing 20 turnovers. But in the end, there could be only one loser, and that loser was the Jazz, who have now dropped seven of their last 10 games.

Miami Heat: Yes, they won a game, technically speaking. But they struggled with all their might to finish off the worst team in the league, at home no less. Dwyane Wade shot the ball like he'd just had his hands cut off at the elbow (6-22). Fortunately for him the officials were having a 2006 NBA Finals flashback, the end result of which was 20 freethrow attempts for Wade and a slim escape for the Heat. Shaq actually managed to stay on the floor for almost 30 minutes, but he fouled out again and looked pretty helpless against Al Jefferson (22 points, 20 rebounds). The Big Turnover also lost the ball 5 times.

Fun fact: Shaq recently said, "I'm a great passer from the post" as part of his argument for getting more touches. Well, that might have been true once upon a time. But now? Not so much. On the season, Shaq has committed 68 turnovers while dishing only 33 assists.

Darko Milicic: Another bad night for Darko: 2 points (1-2), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 8 minutes. Even with Pau Gasol out, Darko couldn't stay on the floor. Not only has he lost confidence in himself, his team's starting to give up on him too. I bet every time he closes his eyes, he sees Rasheed Wallace laughing at him.

Erick Dampier: He had one of his best games of the season, with 8 points and 7 rebounds. And the sad thing is, I'm not even kidding. It really was one of his best games of the season. How in the name of Lincoln's Wart is this guy third in All-Star voting among Western Conference centers (behind Yao Ming and Amare Stoudemire)??

Fun fact: Dampier's contract runs through the 2010-11 season and will pay him an additional $33 million after this season. Mind you, Mark Cuban bought Dampier with the money he wasn't willing to spend on Steve Nash.

Phoenix Suns defense: They won a hotly contested game with the world champs, and they became the first team to beat the Spurs in San Antonio this season. I'm sure you sense there's a "but" coming, and that "but" is the Suns' crummy defense. Amare Stoudemire basically shrunk away in fear as Tim Duncan ate his lunch (season-high 36 points, 15-25 shooting, season-high 17 rebounds). But even more disturbing was the fact that Jacque Vaughn looked positively Tony Parker-esque (14 points, 7-10 shoting, 4 assists). You cannot trust teams that make Jacque Vaughn look good. Also troubling is that, not only did the Suns get killed on the boards (again), Steve Nash actually led them in rebounding with 8. That should really never happen. Think the Suns miss Kurt Thomas? Think they aren't secretly wishing Steve Kerr had pulled the trigger on that Stoudemire-for-Garnett trade?

Robert Horry: Another rough outing for Ben-Gay Bob: Zero points (0-1), 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 foul in 13 minutes. However, he did find time to thug Steve Nash again.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Suns-Spurs game was one of the better games I have seen this year. As the game goes, the Suns won every important factor of the game. The Spurs hold their opponents to 93ppg, the Suns got 100. The Spurs average 100ppg, they only got 95. As for the Suns' defense, it was there, but so was Timmy "I DO NOTHING WRONG" Duncan and his childish big-eye staring who-me look. I have to vote for this guy as being the most comical guy in the NBA right now. There was one point in the game, second quarter I believe, when he got the ball down low, made a move to establish his pivot, did a bunny hop to a different area in the key, and then did ANOTHER move. The guy took an impressive 5 steps, but good thing we have such good refs in these games because they finally decided to call travelling only after the 4th one. Was Timmy surprised to be called for travelling, you bet.

Another thing is Diaw. He played a good game, posting up and getting to the rim. The thing that bugged me is when Diantoni took him out after Boris got it going. You cant do that to him, he is poorly built French machine that runs on pure confidence, so once he gets going, you need to keep him in there to ensure you get the most out of him.

Good win Suns.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That picture doesn't look like someone thugging anyone. It looks like the same pose and facial expression of a horny poodle, actually. Maybe that's Horry's way of making up...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The KG for Amare trade didn't pan out, but don't rule out the Amare for Camby trade. Makes the most sense for both teams actually, since Phoenix is trying to solidify their post defense for a title, and Denver really could care less about defense whatsoever. Besides, adding another ego to break the balance between Carmelo and AI would just be comical.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Knicks:

Every time I see lowlights of this sorry-ass team on ESPN, I think of those immortal words spoken by Michael Ray Richardson so long ago - "The ship be sinkin'."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
manic -- It's a good win for the Suns, but not the definitive kind I would have hoped for. Of course, I'm rooting for the Suns and anything other than utter domination makes me nervous.

anonymous #1: You could have a point. Maybe Horry just has a crush on Nash, and that hip check in the playoffs last year was his only way of expressing it.

anonymous #2: Can you imagine Amare staring down Iverson and Anthony, just waiting and waiting for a pass. It wouldn't be five minutes before Amare would want to choke a bitch.

80s NBA -- Oh dear lordy, that would have been perfect! Where were you 24 hours ago?? I will use that and credit you.

al james -- If you're out there, thanks for the heads up on the All-Star voting thing. You rock.

Blogger starang said...
Overall, I think we would all like to see complete domination by the much as I utterly hate them...Spurs are a good team, and I'll take any win over them. We can always improve on defense, but you can say that for any team in the can always get better at D. As long as the win column keeps adding up, we'll be sitting pretty.