Mike D'Antoni
"The Knicks never lead, falling behind 4-0 in a sign of things to come" in losing
118-90 to Portland on March 31. What can we learn from that?

Pitt T. Maner III writes:

If the Knicks were a portfolio of stocks it might be best to start trading them for younger players who put forth effort and play defense. It's a bad sign when statements are issued that accept this type of poor play as a natural event. One can imagine what Maurice Lucas or Bill Laimbeer would have done to players trying to dunk over them or drive down the lane for easy layups. If you are putting a team together it is best to get players who hate to lose and know how to box out and play defense and basically intimidate the opposition. "We had no energy at both ends of the floor," D'Antoni said. "When you do that against a really good team that is trying to solidify everything they do in the playoffs, there are going to be nights like this. We didn't switch [on defense], we didn't talk, we kind of just looked around. There were balls we didn't go after. It wasn't a good effort."

When you think of the Knicks in better times you think of Willis Reed playing on terrible knees to win the 1970 NBA championship — there you had it: sacrifice, teamwork, team defense, accountability, professionalism, precision passing and a hunger to win. And very good announcers to add to the drama and excitement. A quote attributed to the late Red Holzman, the coach of the Champion Knicks: "On a good team there are no superstars. There are great players who show they are great players by being able to play with others as a team. They have the ability to be superstars, but if they fit into a good team, they make sacrifices, they do things necessary to help the team win. What the numbers are in salaries or statistics don't matter; how they play together does."

Well, it could be worse — look at the Nets. Interesting though that they are moving to Brooklyn and may have a billionaire Russian industrialist as an owner.

Jeff Watson adds a corollary:

In 1969, the Chicago Cubs were in first place all season long. The beginning of Sept, they had a 84-52 record and were a solid five games ahead of the NY Mets. By mid-season, the Cubs were already getting ready for the series, and they even wrote many songs about them. The Cubs choked and lost 17 of their final 23 games while the Mets went on a tear with a 23-7 record, overtaking the Cubs and ultimately finishing eight games ahead. The Mets ultimately went on to win the World Series, while the Cubs quickly regained their status in the cellar. Still, Chicagoans love the Cubs, win or lose, as there's nothing like a good day at Wrigley eating hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, and plenty of beer to wash it down.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator, poker player, art connoisseur, blogs as MasterOfTheUniverse.


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