Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nadir

One way or another this game was going to be significant. The team had lost six in a row. They'd been swept on the most disastrous road trip since the Second Crusade (rout at Damascus was even worse than loss against Nuggets). Steph was starting. Isiah was coaching. Or, at least, sitting in a seat where coaching would normally occur. If the Knicks won then perhaps the debactacular West Coast swing could be looked back on as the season-turning, gut-check moment. We could say that benching Marbury worked. That it focused the team. On the other hand, if the Knicks lost in an embarrassing enough fashion then perhaps this would be the impetus for Jimmy Dolan to finally fire Isiah Thomas. One way or another this game was going to be significant.

The Warriors beat the Knicks 108 to 82. The Knicks were never closer than 9 in the second half. Never closer than 13 in the fourth. They turned the ball over 27 times. Against the worst defensive team in the league. The boos poured forth from the crowd as frequently as Baron Davis's shots made their way through the net. The "Fire Isiah" chants began in earnest as the last seconds of the first half ticked away. The Warriors ended the half (and the competitive portion of the ballgame) on a 9-2 run that was keyed by NY turnovers. Isiah was, again, badly outclassed as coach.

The ball (metaphorically) is officially in Dolan's court (literally) now.

It can't get worse than this. The team is a disgrace. It is a joke. Knock, knock. Who's There? The Knicks. It is a cautionary tale. It is a reason for people with severe problems to feel better about their lives. Oh, don't worry. It could be worse. You could be a Knicks fan. They have transcended sports and become a part of the popular culture in the way that only the sublimely good and bad can ever do. The '07 Knicks and the '07 Patriots both have what it takes. The team is worse than their record states. They are synonymous with failure and hubris and folly. They are Watergate. They are Laser Discs. They are Waterloo. They are David Caruso leaving NYPD Blue. They are Colin Powell at the UN in 2003. They are Michael Jordan playing baseball. They are Godfather Part 3. They are Joey, Baywatch Nights and every failed spin-off in the history of network television. They are Bud Dry. They are The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and The Revenge of the Sith combined. It can't get worse than this. However, it can stay this bad. And, it will stay this bad as long as Isiah Thomas is affiliated with this franchise. He has failed at the task set before him. He has butchered the roster. He has banished tradition. He has crippled the financial flexibility of the team. He has alienated the fan base. He has alienated his peers. He has alienated his players. It can't get worse than this.

But how long will it stay this bad?

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