Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Directions Back to the Drawing Board

1: Start out going NORTHWEST on AT&T CENTER PKWY/COLISEUM RD toward GEMBLER RD. 0.5 mi
2: Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto N I-35/N PAN AM EXPY/N PANAM EXPY. 0.7 mi
3: Merge onto I-35 N/US-81 N via the ramp on the LEFT. 74.7 mi
4: Keep LEFT to take I-35 N/US-81 N toward WACO/HOUSTON. 135.9 mi
5: Take the I35E N exit toward DALLAS. 0.3 mi
6: Merge onto I-35E N. 47.1 mi
7: Merge onto I-20 E via EXIT 418B toward SHREVEPORT. 12.3 mi
8: Keep RIGHT to take I-635 N toward MESQUITE. 8.9 mi
9: Merge onto I-30 E via EXIT 8B toward TEXARKANA (Crossing into ARKANSAS). 304.7 mi
10: Merge onto I-440 E via EXIT 138A toward L.R. NATL. AIRPORT/L.R. RIVER PORT/MEMPHIS. 10.0 mi
11: Merge onto I-40 E via EXIT 11 toward MEMPHIS. 121.0 mi
12: Take I-55 S/US-61 S/US-64 E toward MEMPHIS/JACKSON MISS.. 0.1 mi
13: Merge onto US-61 S/US-64 E (Crossing into TENNESSEE). 5.9 mi
14: Turn LEFT onto S 3RD ST/TN-14. Continue to follow S 3RD ST. 1.1 mi
15: End at 191 Beale St Memphis, TN 38103-3715

It's Alive: Knicks @ Spurs

Second Quarter Thoughts/Observations:

-An ugly Spurs-favoring start to the second.

-With guys like Anthony Tolliver on the floor for the Spurs, the Knicks really should win this game.

-"Some rough shooting"-Mike Breen

20-21

-Nate and David blow off the doldrums, Nate hitting Lee with a nice pass and Lee double-clutching on his way to lay it in.

22-21

-Again, Lee gets to the rim. This time from the other side of the floor. He dribbles with his left and then lays it in with his right.

-Some "shaking and baking" by Umberto gets Clyde's nod of approval and ties the game.

25-25

-Duncan's off the floor and the Knicks haven't pulled away at all. FYI.

-Yeah, this is unattractive basketball. Until it gets better. I'm not going to dignify it with such a close reading.

41-38

-One thing worth noting is that Spurs seem to have the traditional home court advantage when it comes to officiating. Aside from Nate getting hosed at the end of the first, Q got called for a charge when he was CLEARLY set up outside of the restricted area. Oh, and the official scorekeeper temporarily robbed Crawford of a point on a three so deep that Clyde remarked it "should have been four points."

HALF

In the words of Mike Breen, that half featured "some ugly shooting, some ugly playing at times."

UPDATE: Um, it never got any better. The Knicks blew a great chance to move a game previously penciled into the loss column into the win column. They were aimless on offense and couldn't score when they needed to. Stupid.

It's Alive: Knicks @ Spurs

First Quarter Thoughts/Observations:

Weird game about to go down in Alamo-town for the Knicks. The New Yorkers come in hot and with the winning record (4-2) while the Spurs take the floor injured (Parker and Ginobli out) and in trouble (1-4). It's Duncan vs. the Knicks. Which is why the Spurs are still favored by four points.

-We've got Walt Frazier, resplendent in violet, and Mike Breen calling the game tonight on MSG. Although Tripucka wasn't bad (which means he's better than most) it is good to have Clyde back.

-Even without Parker and Ginobli, ESPN.com's Accuscore prediction has the Spurs winning this matchup 71% of the time. Nice. Clearly nothing to get too hopeful about yet...

-Once the starting ten start running up and down it becomes abundantly clear that the matchup to watch is Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan. That's likely your ballgame, folks. Which is not good for us.

-Duncan gets the first two shots for the Spurs. 1 for 2. He's attacking Randolph.

0-2

-The Knicks jumpshots aren't falling early. Another ominous sign. And, Randolph's clearly bothered by Duncan's length, even when he pulls him 17-feet out. Normally Randolph has the edge on defenders that far from the hoop.

-Crawford hits from just a bit farther out than the elbow.

2-2

-Yeah, Duncan is bothering Randolph's perimeter game, which he had to think he'd be able to get over the interior-minded Big Fundamental. Z-Bo's fading away on those shots because of Duncan's lengthy limbs.

-UGLY on both sides early.

-A quick pass from Randolph to Chandler gets the Knicks inside near the rim, but Chandler steps out of bounds. If we're going to need Randolph to open the lane with his passing (after pulling Duncan outside) then we're in trouble.

-Crawford attacks the rim. Good!

6-4

-Duncan hits a runner crossing the lane. Z-Bo is totally overmatched.

-Crawford hits a runner in the lane.

8-6

-Randolph is touching the ball far from the hoop. He gets it at the top of the key, drawing Duncan out, but turns it over while trying to pass it back to a guard.

-Easy transition hoop for the Spurs.

8-11

-Lee and Nate enter the game. The tempo picks up, as per usual. The Knicks need to get this game on a 100-point pace.

-Umberto is the wily sort of post-playing vet that could give the Knicks trouble as the game goes on. He's lurking under the hoop waiting for dump-offs and put-backs while our defenders are rallying to the ball.

17-15

-With guys like Greg Vaughn on the floor for the Spurs there is no doubt that this is a should-win game for the Knicks. They've only got to come to San Antonio once per season and this game should be found money.

-Mardy Collins recklessly spins to the rim and misses badly only to be beaten by Michael Finley at the other end.

17-17

-Crawford three!

-Finley three!

20-20

-Oh! Nate just got screwed on a call at the end of the quarter. The Spurs were trying to use their foul-to-give and hacked Nate. Without putting another dribble on the floor he continued his motion and got up a three. And hit it! But it was waived off. Bogus.

End of Quarter

Deja Woo-Hoo!

Something Familiar About Win Over Jazz

Buoyed by victory it can be easy to forget why hope can be an audacious act, something that can strike others as recklessly bold, arrogantly indolent, or mindlessly sentimental. The audacity of hope lies in the fact that victory is not assured, and in many cases very unlikely. The audacity rises from the just-who-do-you-think-you-are-? confidence to believe so strongly in success when the odds are stacked against you.

With this in mind I revisited the Knicks big win over the theretofore undefeated Utah Jazz on Sunday at the Garden. No doubt it was a huge win. A great early-season victory, in fact. And, one that led many fans and writers to think that the D'Antoni Era of Good Feelings and Better Play had already begun. But I soon remembered another seemingly portentous November win at the Garden.

On Tuesday November 6, 2007 these Knickerbockers knocked off the Denver Nuggets, then-considered a dark-horse darling of the Western Conference, in scintillating fashion at the Garden. I was there for that one too. And, afterwards I wrote:
Now that, my friends, is a win. A legitimate, feel-good victory over a worthy adversary. The Garden was alive. There were goose bumps and high fives, draft beers and "DEEEE-FENSE." Alright, there wasn't much defense but there was plenty of offense and just enough D when it counted. 
Those could have been the exact words that I wrote yesterday following the Knicks win. And they almost were, which means I really got pay a bit more attention to what I'm writing. Regardless, I had many of the same hopes for the 2007-2008 season then as I have for the 2008-2009 season now. Because, remember the Knicks began last year looking to build upon an '06-'07 season when they were in contention for a playoff spot until injuries derailed them in the final month; and the team didn't totally burst into flames until the middle of November. So, things were looking pretty good after that early November win.

But those hopes were shattered by the loathsome and lascivious realities of Isiah Thomas. Obviously I have more faith in the true North of these Knicks as compared to those Knicks. I do. I really, really do. And, I like to think that Sunday's win over the Jazz will be followed up by a win over the undermanned Spurs tonight and a surprisingly good season. I want to believe that will happen. I hope that it will. Still, I thought this similarity between November 6, 2007 and November the 9, 2008 was worth mentioning. So, let's not get too carried away. Not yet. But soon.

"Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
-Andy Dufresne

D'Antonisms


"They don't have Deron Williams. We don't want to get to excited. We'll just, you know, chill out. But, you know, that's three games in a row where I thought we were moving the ball. I thought we were playing well. You could see a little spirit starting to, you know, get between and them and that was good."
-On win over Jazz

"It's unbelievable. The guy can't jump at all and he's uh, well, you know, I don't even think he played particularly well but he's 25 and 14. There's maybe one other person in the world who can do that and he does it. And you gotta give him credit. He didn't, you know I told him at one point, I had to remind him that we were in the white shirts and not the blue shirts. He kept hitting the blue guys. So, you know, but he's got a knack and, like you said, those offensive rebounds, and come up, he came up with a couple big defensive plays and a couple of big hoops.
-On Zach Randolph's strange but effective skillset