Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chatting Up the Knicks

(Knicks-related excerpts from this afternoon's chat over at the Worldwide Leader with NBA columnist and stat-whiz John Hollinger)

Laird (NYC): What is keeping the Knicks from being the worst team in the NBA?

John Hollinger: (3:10 PM ET ) Kevin McHale.

* * * *

Laird (NYC): If you were the new GM of the Knicks, would you keep any pieces currently on the team? I think other than David Lee and Renaldo Balkman, get rid of them all!

John Hollinger: (3:23 PM ET ) I might be tempted to keep Zach Randolph, if I could put the right players around him. And I'd hang on to Wilson Chandler and Randolph Morris. But otherwise, hard to argue with that strategy.

* * * *

Jason (Santa Monica, CA): Suppose the Knicks were willing to part with Randolph, Curry, Crawford, Richardson and Jeffries and they wanted nothing back except expiring contracts. Are there any other teams willing to pay these guys even if acquiring them costs literally nothing?

John Hollinger: (3:29 PM ET ) I doubt it. Maybe on Crawford or Randolph, but no way on the other guys -- Curry and Richardson don't have insurable contracts, which makes them radioactive for a lot of the league's teams, Jeffries is grossly overpaid for what he provides, and Zach makes too much and has a questionable attitude.

* * * *

Anthony (Toronto): Is Jason Kapono the most one-dimensional player in the league?

John Hollinger: (4:04 PM ET ) I actually think Eddy Curry has him beat. At least Kapono can handle and pass pretty well. Curry can score on the block. That's it. There's no other area where he's even mediocre.

* * * *

Stronger than Breathalyzers

Spotted driving erratically about 40 miles north of Atlanta, Charles Oakley was pulled over by local law enforcement. Although he PASSED THE BREATHALYZER TEST, he was still arrested because that's how the law works down there.

The Smoking Gun has all the pertinent paperwork on display.

I don't know if it's funny or sad. I'm going to go with slightly funny. No one was hurt and he wasn't legally drunk so I'm just going to enjoy the mugshot.

I mean it's not Tony LaRussa falling asleep at the wheel, drunk and at an intersection. It's not that, for sure. That was sad.

Tuesday's Starting Five

1. Adrian Peterson. The Purple Jesus lead the Vikings over the rival Bears last night on MNF and into the thick of the playoff race. Turning a botched handoff-exchange (with former Jet and forever Badger Brooks Bollinger) into 6 points late in the game, Peterson lifted his team to an 8-6 record. The Vikes eliminated seemingly half the field from contention last night and gave themselves a chance to catch the Giants if their Rite of Winter Losing continutes.

2. That One Time. A "moment" gets the nod today because every MLB player named in the Mitchell report who isn't completely and utterly arrogant is following Pettitte's ploy of admitting "that one time" that they used steroids or HGH. Brian Roberts is the latest to go this route. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens still falls into the completely and utterly arrogant grouping. Let's see how that works for him.

3. Mike Dunleavy. The former Dukie scored 22 straight in the third quarter en route to a career-high 36 points as his Pacers beat the Knicks at the Garden.

4. Walk-On Football Players at Florida State. I hope those third-string defensive backs and eighth-string O-linemen were paying attention during meetings all year because a lot of them are going to get a chance to play. FSU has suspended as many as 20 players for the upcoming Music City Bowl (against Kentucky) as well as the first three games of 2008 for some sort of academic cheating. Apparently, there is some crooked stuff going on with athletes at FSU. They may not be studying very hard. Bobby Bowden must be rolling over in his grave.

5. Dirk Nowitzki. The Big Blonde One scored 31 last night, including a pair of free throws in the waning seconds, as the Mavs edged the Magic. I would be OK with watching seven games of that come June.

Tick...tick...tick....

"We don't grind and we don't compete like we should for 48 minutes and I've never ... a lot of things that can be said about me and teams that I've coached and the way I played, but I've never been accused of not having heart or competing. Tonight was very discouraging to me because we didn't collectively play with heart and compete like I know I do."
-Isiah Thomas on the Knicks performance

....Boom!

These comments from Isiah immediately following the latest debacle at the Garden (full write-up to follow in the AM with links to the papers) make it seem like there is a chance that the "Fire Isiah" chants are still off the mark. Listening to these sentences spill forth in monotone it seems like Isiah might not be fired tonight (but he sure could/should be), but he just might quit tomorrow instead. Six of one half dozen of the other. I'll take it either way.

He sounds like he has finally stopped his (good) habit of accepting blame for his team's poor play. Tonight he pointed his championship ring wearing finger right at the team that he put together. Unequivocally he called them heartless and gutless. By and large he is right. Tonight was a debacle. In the search for absolute zero we have a new benchmark.

Regardless of his robotic and colorless delivery (this was no Denny Green or Jim Mora post-game talk) the words are clear and they will be indelible in the papers tomorrow. They will not be the glue for this fractured squad. And since this team clearly isn't about to be shamed into playing better (as someone who has been at the Garden a lot thus far I know this because we've tried) it would seem like Isiah might be poised to dump this team before he can be dumped.

And, I couldn't really imagine his departure going any other way. Isiah is too egomaniacal to let Dolan even get a line in edgewise during his protracted death scene. When that scene comes it will be a monologue. Arduous and delivered with a wink and smile as if it is a victory rather than defeat. Meanwhile, Dolan is too inept and spineless to turn up with any sort of definitive action. If he were a man of action he would have acted. If he were a man who built things he would not have stood as more scaffolding was erected around such a shoddy frame. But he is not a man accustomed to action or to building, rather he is just someone who oversees what has already been built and holds in trust the gains of those who have acted on his behalf and that is why it is likely that he will just sit slumped in his courtside seat and let history happen around him.