Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Minds Games

Knicks be playing those mind games together
Pushing for minutes, asking for trades
Playing the bench guerrilla
Chanting the mantra, seven seconds or less
We all been playing those mind games forever
Calling your agent, waving the towels
Doing the bench guerrilla
Some call it chemistry, only playing for fouls

Win is the answer and you know that for sure
Win is a flower, you got to let it, you got to let it grow

Knicks been playing those mind games since Isiah
Faith in the future, Lebron and Gallo
D'Antoni just can't please those bench guerrillas
Nate returns with Larry's playing time
Yeah we're playing those mind games forever
Berman spreading the anger in print, line by line

Coach has the answer and you know that for sure
Coach wants surrender, you got to let it, you got to let it go

So keep on playing those mind games together
Changing the rotation, defend and run
Roster of bench guerrillas
Chalking their hands, at the scorer's table they kneel
Keep on playing those mind games forever
Trade deadline looming, who'll we be rid of?

(I want you to win, not lose, I know you've heard it before)


In the first game of the new year on the first day of the new year, Nate Robinson surprisingly returned from exile to score 41 points and led the sputtering (and, yes, a road loss to New Jersey two days earlier counts as as a sputter) Knickerbockers to a come-from-behind overtime triumph at Atlanta. This was the Knicks second tight win @Atlanta this season and put the team on the right path in January after a promising 9-6 run in December. Nate scored 11 points in overtime. The Hawks scored 9. He won the game. Plain. Simple. And, I'd like to think, according to plan.

And, no I don't believe that D'Antoni planned on Nate exploding for 41 points to carry the team to a road win when he inserted him late in the first quarter with the regulars scuffling and trailing. But, I would like to believe that D'Antoni was always planning on re-inserting Nate into the rotation when he stopped playing him after Dec. 1. I'd like to think that he wasn't just giving up on a player eminently capable of 40-point explosions on any given night. As strange as it seems, I would like to think that D'Antoni actually was playing just the sort of mind games that Larry Hughes accused him of. I'd rather have a coach trying to get into the heads of players in hopes of getting the best out of them than a coach who buries talented guys on the bench just because he doesn't like them. Given a choice between authoratiaran mind games (temporarily benching a player to get his attention) and childish pettiness (giving up on a talented athlete because you don't like him), I'll take the mind games every time. Now, I'm not really quite sure that Robinson's reappearance and Hughes re-absence were planned - that they are mind games we've been playing - or if they are the knee-jerk reactions of a coach desperate for wins. I'm not sure. But, I'm hoping for mind games.

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