Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crotch-Kick Loss

Knicks Find New Way to Lose Late in LA, 124-128If Sunday's last-second loss in Portland to the Blazers was a gut-punch loss then last night's loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers was a crotch-kick loss. To lose a game essentially because you were assessed a technical foul (for slapping the backboard) on the put-back dunk that should have won the game is more like a kick in the crotch than a punch in the gut because there is more comedy in the way the pain was inflicted. More comedy and less dignity.

Alright, I'm not sure where to start. The bulk of this game and it's ending make me feel altogether different. It was the same thing on Sunday in Portland. The debacle in Oakland is another story entirely. This game against the Clippers wasn't a debacle like that. Until it was. And boy was it ever.

The Knicks could have and should have won that game. At then end of approximately 47.55 minutes it seemed that they were about to win this game. If they had, this road trip would have ended with the Knicks taking two out of three games. Wins at @ Portalnd and @ Clippers would have excused the bed wetting in the Bay Area and re-connected the team to the Era of Good Feelings that took place before "Dream Week."

But, the Knicks lost. For the sixth straight game. It's almost officially a tailspin. The fact that the first three losses were acceptable and two of the last three were nearly wins confuses the issue and mitigates the pain. But, the Knicks are now 10 games under .500.

Notes, Observations and Things Better Left Unsaid
-Zach Randolph hit the shot that forced overtime. Of course, he did. The Zach-hole (the basketball equivalent of dark matter) was up to his old tricks, netting 22 and grabbing 15. The dude abides.
-With Chris Duhon hung on the clothesline, Nate Robinson was a revelation. He scored 33 points, doled out 15 dimes, corralled 9 rebounds, committed 5 steals, recorded 4 fouls and turned the ball over just one time in a game-high 52 minutes. And, he didn't do anything that we haven't seen before. This is Robinson's potential. Only Magic Johson (a young, lithe and powerful Magic in '81) has ever notched a 33 pts/15 reb/5 stl night. Magic and Nate. That's it. The Great is a special athlete. And as the 15 assists attest, an increasingly good point guard. In fact, I think he was helped by the fact that he was the the PG in this game. He wasn't alongside Duhon playing the 1.5/2 spot. He wasn't just brought off the bench to provide instant offense. He knew his role and seemed to be reined in by the responsibility.
-I said just the other day to Warriors blog Fear the Beard that I actually like Al Harrington. I noted that he seemed well adjusted for a pro hoops player. I said these things. And then two nights later he goes out and gets a senseless technical foul with 25 seconds remaining in a three-point game. We are both asshats. Me for bringing this upon all of us and Harrington for committing the dumbest play of the season.
-The Knicks tapped Danilo Gallinari with the No. 6 pick in the 2008 NBA draft. The young rooster played 17 minutes last night, scoring 4 points on 2-of-8 shooting. With the No. 7 pick, the Clippers selected Eric Gordon. The first-year former Hoosier dropped 30 on the Knicks in 43 minutes, including a back-breaking three early in the OT session and throat-ripping three-point play towards the end. "Why is Gordon getting so many minutes?" you ask. Oh, because the Knicks traded for Cutino Mobley, who was the starting shooting guard for the Clips, which freed up a lot of time for Gordon. You're welcome.
-The Jared Jeffries Project seems to be entering a new phase. In this phase, Jeffries shoots the ball more. And, sometimes from farther away than most fans would advise. I don't know if we're showcasing him for a potential trade-deadline deal, telling him that he needs to score to stay on the floor or if the JJP has developed self-awareness and is going rogue. It could be any of the three or all of the above. But something is happening. You've been warned.

Read All About It:
The Times
The Post
The News


It's 4 a.m. and I can't sleep. The Knicks overtime loss to the Clippers has left me tossing and turning. And sweating. And with dry mouth. I woke up shortly before 4 a.m. and turned on the television rather than drowning in insomniotic* silence. The television was stilled tuned to MSG. And, I was just in time to catch the last two minutes of regulation and OT of tonight's replay. Awesome.

For the second time tonight, I watched as Harrington was called for a technical foul after slamming home a missed shot for a 110-107 lead with 25 seconds to play. He turned the best part of my evening into the worst (or second worst, but that's for another time and another blog). He slapped the glass on the way back to the floor and handed the game to the Clippers. I don't care about overtime. I don't care that the Knicks were outscored 18-14 in the extra session. I just care about that play. That was the game. And the Knicks gave it away.

I wanted to yell. To run around the block.. I wanted to punch something. I wanted to kick something after watching this happen for the first time. But I didn't. I tried to stay still and not freak out and scream. And, then I couldn't sleep. I couldn't drain the bile from my blood. It's moments like these that make me wonder why I care. Why do any of use care? What are we doing? We are not men. Surely, men don't behave like this.

*I made this word up. I think.