Monday, December 3, 2007

"His Finger Tips Maintained Contact With The Ball"--Jaws, justifying the Gaffney TD

Anyone with eyes, a brain and no money on this game knows that the Patriots were gifted this victory by the officials. Gaffney never caught that last ball, in spite of Jaws' protestations about the finger tips. Both Kornheiser and Torico and, oh, everyone else at a home not within 100 miles of Worcester, MA knows that he never had possession of the ball and both feet in bounds. Of course, this bogus call, held up in a bogus review, came shortly on the heels of a ridiculously ticky-tacky illegal contact call to prolong the drive.

With so much on the line it is a sham that the referees had to decide that game. The undefeated season is the ONLY hallowed single-season team mark in the NFL. It deserves to be treated with such respect rather than something that officials just want to be a part of.

Lupicas, Thomsens & Bermans. Oh My!

What The Pros are Writing About the Knicks Today

-Over at The News, Frank Isola and Lisa Olsen both weigh in on how badly things are going for Stephon Marbury at this point in his life. Putting aside all of the things that we think we now about him, it doesn't seem like things could really be going much worse for this guy. His dad died. Suddenly and during one of his games. His aunt died. His school-yard mentor died. He gets booed at work every day no matter what he does. His boss is an incompetent ego-maniac. Who has completely sold him down the river with his co-workers and the press. Yeah, it's bad news piled on bad news for Steph right now.

..and, there's coverage of the games but I think every Knicks fan should read these two articles and remember them next time that they're at the Garden.

Around the Internets in Eighty Minutes

1) As I was settling into my seat in the last row of the upper level (still a better view of the court than 2/3 of the seats at Brendan Byrne) at the Garden last night the early-arriving crowd was playfully alternating between "Fire Isiah" and "Fire E-li." Then, an hour later, I hear that the Giants had won the game. Of course, the Knicks lost. But, Steve Politi put together a pretty good break-down of the Eli rollercoaster.

2) Apparently, Major League Baseball used to have some severe profanity problems.

3) Both ESPN.com and SI.com have the Knicks listed at 28 in their NBA Power Rankings. They're just above the Dolphins.

Monday's Starting Five

BCS Selection Edition

1) Ohio State. Jeez. The Knicks have more quality wins than these guys. With two. The Ohio State University only PLAYED two teams all season long that even finished in the AP Top 25. They lost to #13 Illinois and they beat #18 Wisconsin. They played ZERO other teams who finished in the Top 25. You know who else boasts only one win over a Top 25 team? Undefeated Hawaii.

2) Missouri. So, Virginia Tech can't leapfrog LSU because LSU beat VT? But Kansas leapfrogs Mizzou even though Mizzou beat Kansas (and lost in the Conference Championship game that Kansas didn't make). I know that Kansas is a better story and Mangino's sweatpants are a work of engineering the likes of which we've never seen but doesn't everyone remember that the Missouri Tigers are a flat-out better team?

3) LSU. Maybe if LSU loses to Ohio State the selection gurus and rankings voters will spontaneously create some sort of inverse playoff system to give this team their eighth chance to win the National Title.

4) West Virginia. Those guys. Oh, man. This program has only lost five times in the last three years, including bowl games. They were the most overlooked top-flight team of the decade. And, here was their chance to win the National Title. And, they shit the bed against Pitt. Pitt? From Pittsburgh? Biggest collapse of the year. Worse than Appalachian State. Worse than Stanford.

5) Notre Dame. Thank you for not smoking. Television viewers across the country won't be forced to watch another overmatched ND team in a BCS bowl this season.

Grant Hill Parties Like It's 1995

Knicks fizzle in Fourth, Fall to Suns
104-115




It was a one-point game at the end of three quarters. The Knicks had rallied after letting up 37 points in the first quarter. We had a ballgame on our hands. The crowd was into it. The "Fire Isiah" had been staved off. We had a game on our hands and we knew it. Until Grant Hill rolled off nine straight points to open up the fourth quarter. The Knicks never recovered.

Grant Hill put up nine straight, LAST NIGHT. He ended with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. LAST NIGHT. And, he didn't do this in the over-40 league down at the Y. He did it at the Garden. This guy has had, I think, thirty-nine ankle surgeries and, little known fact, is actually the person for whom Tommy John surgery was first performed. Tommy was just his favorite ballplayer when Hill was growing up in sixties so he named it after him.

Meanwhile, Steve Nash was quietly brilliant. He can really get himself and the ball to any spot on the court that he chooses. He doesn't seem particularly faster than everyone (like Iverson) or stronger (like Baron Davis) but he clearly knows or has something that no one else does. If he wants to get to the hoop he can turn the corner on the baseline and swing past any defender with ease and if he just wants to get the ball into the paint to Amare (who is built like the progeny of Charles Oakley and a gazelle) then he throws some seemingly impossible bounce-pass. His understanding of angles is preternatural.

Obviously, the main story coming out of this game is the tragic death of Don Marbury, who was in attendance. That will affect this team longer and more profoundly than the L.

Still, I'll post some more post-game, basketball-related thoughts on this game later today because that's what we do here.

When it Rains...

Stephon Marbury's father passed away at some point during or immediately following the Knicks loss to the Suns last night. Don was in attendance at the game and died in a nearby hospital. So far all of the details have been a bit sketchy but this is tremendously sad regardless of the specifics.

No matter what anyone wants to say about Steph's game this is comprehensibly sad. He is a ballplayer. His dad came out to see him play against one of the better team's in the league. His dad came out to see him play and he died before Steph could even see him after the game. Someone had to break the news to him in the locker room. And, of course, the post-game coverage on the radio was filled with talk about Steph being a jerk for not talking to reporters. The situation is so cancerous at MSG that everyone automatically expects the worst.

Meanwhile, Steph's aunt died not too long ago (and he skipped the funeral because it came on the heels of that WC trip) and he is routinely booed at the Garden in spite of the fact that he is actually playing better and harder than most of his teammates. Because of his bosses indiscretion it was made public knowledge that he slept with an intern, wiping away much of the public goodwill that his affordable line of sneakers may have engendered.

I hope that Steph takes some time away from the court to mourn his father and get his head together. I hope that he takes a few games off and that when he comes back he gets a warm welcome back from the Garden.