Been awhile…

Posted: February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

So between school and the beginning of baseball season it has been difficult for me to update the blog. I have now set some time aside to get things up to date. This is a very big week for the Knicks, coming off their split with the 76ers. The team still finds themselves as the 6-seed in the East; but the Sixers are closing the gap quickly. Los Angelas squared will be visiting the Knicks this week. The Knicks will first host the upstarted Clippers, led by Blake Griffin. I’m sure you all remember Blake posterizing the Moz just as well as he does, but the Knicks pulled out that W. The Knicks then will play host to Kobe and the Lakers. If you remember last time the two teams met, the game got a little chippy. I would expect nothing less the second time around. Kobe is known for his big games at the Garden so containing him will be key.

Next on the table is all the Carmelo talks. I would not look much into the Lakers deal. I do not think this deal necessarily works well for either team. The Lakers would be giving up Andrew Bynum which would take away their team’s greatest strength: their length up front. This would move Lamar Odom to the power-forward and create a lack of depth in the front court with only Theo Ratliff and Derrick Character off the bench (both of which haven’t played all year). You have all heard of the 3-team deal between the Knicks, Nuggets, and T-Wolves. If the Knicks can make this happen consider it a steal. Virtually it would be giving up Wilson Chandler for Carmelo Anthony. Yes, I understand the Eddy Curry contract is very appealing but it would be good to remove his distraction. Unfortunately, I do not think this will be enough to make ‘Melo a Knick. I have a feeling they are throwing this Laker deal out their to get the Knicks to up their offer. Who knows with this on going saga.

As the superbowl has come and gone, it is now time to set our minds to baseball season. Being a Mets fan I am not expecting much, but am hoping for the best at the same time. In some ways I am very intruiged by this New York Mets team. Although there are alot of question marks it leaves room for guys to step-up. Mike Pelfrey needs to be the ace he was in the first half of last season, R.A Dickey needs to hope his goodluck streak has not run out, Jon Niese needs to take his game to the next level and improve on consistancy, and Dillon Gee will get a chance to show he belongs. These guys along with the addition of Chris Young need to keep the rotation together while Johan rehabs. When you look at the Mets’ line-up, there are alot of guys who will be looking for comeback seasons. I expect Jason Bay to be healthy and have a bounce back season. The same goes for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

1. Jose Reyes

2. Angel Pagan

3. David Wright

4. Carlos Beltran

5. Jason Bay

6. Ike Davis

7. Josh Thole

8. Luis Castillo

The past decade has been one of turmoil for the New York Knicks and their dedicated fans. The last 10 years have been full of horrific trades, change in coaches, and change in management roles. Many New York Knicks’ fans have blamed the trade of Patrick Ewing for the demise of the franchise over the decade.

In 2000, the Knicks dealt the centerpiece of their organization for 15-years to the Seattle Supersonics for Luc Longley and Glen Rice. Ewing, who was named on of the 50 greatest N.B.A players in history, was upset with how he was treated by the Knick’s fans.

In the decade after the trade, the Knicks posted a record of 327-493. The team made the playoffs only 2-times and did not make it past the first round in either try. When Patrick Ewing controlled the paint for the Knicks, the team was 668-530. Although the Knicks never won the N.B.A championship in the Ewing era, they did appear in the finals two times. While Ewing was a Knick, the team found themselves in the playoffs 13 times. The difference in the two eras jumps out at you.

When Patrick Ewing departed, the Knicks were in search of a player to build their franchise around. The Knick’s search led to the acquisitions of players who could not fill the shoes of Ewing. In the 2003-2004 season the Knicks’ trouble was supposed to be fixed by new General Manager, Isiah Thomas. Thomas made an early splash by acquiring Coney Island, New York’s own, Stephon Marbury. Marbury was deemed the Knicks’ savior. The deal seemed to make perfect sense in a fairytale type story. Hometown product leads hometown team back to glory. What is not to like?

Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned for Marbury and the Knicks. Marbury found himself feuding with the personnel in the Knicks’ organization and put them in a very difficult situation. The one-time star found himself on the bench and becoming a distraction. After a series of disputes with Isiah Thomas due to his lack of playing time, the Knicks’ were forced to buy-out Marbury, who later signed with the Celtics.

The Knicks also made waves when they traded for Bull’s center Eddy Curry in 2005. This deal is one that still makes the Knicks’ fans cringe for many reasons. The first reason is for how much the Knicks had to give up for Curry. In exchange for Curry, the Knicks traded Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney, their 2006 first-round pick, and the right to swap first-round picks in 2007,along with second-round selections in 2007 and 2009. As a result of this trade, the Knicks ended up giving the Bull’s the second pick in the 2006 draft, as well as swapping them the ninth pick in 2007. The two players selected were Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge respectfully.

The Curry trade also made the Knicks the team with the highest payroll in the league. Although the Knicks’ payroll was the highest, the team finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, posting a horrific 23-59 record. Eddy Curry found himself fighting injury and after injury and never turned into the player the Knicks expected. Now you can find Big Eddy sitting at the end of the Knicks’ bench wearing a suit.

In 2008, things began to change for the Knicks’ when they signed Donnie Walsh as team president. Walsh is a highly distinguished figure in basketball. He is known as an expert in the field of building a franchise, and managing a team’s salary cap. Donnie made an immediate impact when he signed ex-Sun’s coach, Mike D’Antoni, to the same position. From the moment Donnie Walsh arrived with the Knicks, he made it clear what his goal was. Walsh wanted to clear cap space for the summer of 2010, where he could make a push for high-level free agents such as: LeBron James, Joe Johnson, or Chris Bosh.

The strategic minded Walsh began making deals for players with expiring contracts in 2010. Walsh acquired players such as Al Harrington, Larry Hughes, Tracy McGrady, and Chris Wilcox. Walsh also signed veteran point-guard Chris Duhon. The Knicks struggled in the first two seasons under the Walsh/D’Antoni regime; but the fans knew the 2010 off-season was right around the corner and LeBron James would be on the market. The buzz was back around the Garden, as fans anxiously awaited the decision of LeBron James.

Although James was the prized player in the free-agent class, there were many other players on the market. With the deals Donnie Walsh made, the team had the ability to sign two maximum contract players. The Knicks set their sight first on guard Joe Johnson, who elected to re-sign with the Hawks. The Knickerbockers then turned their focus to Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire accepted the challenge of helping re-build the team, and signed a 5-year, 99 million dollar deal.

Stoudemire was a piece that was supposed to attract LeBron James to New York. Things did not work out as the Knicks’ and their fans planned, as they watch LeBron James’ “Decision” live on ESPN. While LeBron was dancing around on stage with new teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, Donnie Walsh set his sites on point-guard Raymond Felton. Felton signed a $15.8 million deal spanning 2-years. The Knicks then drafted Stanford’s Landry Fields in the second round of the 2010 draft. The drafting of Fields was frowned upon by many Knicks’ fans at the time. Little did they know, Landry Fields would be starting for the Knicks on opening night along with fellow rookie Timofey Mozgov. Walsh signed Mozgov, a Russian center, to a 3-year deal. Walsh also cut a sign and trade with the Golden State Warriors for David Lee. The Knicks acquired Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and Kelena Azubuke.

So here they were, the new looked New York Knicks. Things started off sketchy for the team, starting 3-8. At this point, Amar’e Stoudemire made it known that this Knicks team was not going to accept losing. After the statements made by Stoudemire, the Knicks went on a roll. The team won 13 of 14 and improved their record to 19-6. New York City fell in love with Amar’e Stoudemire and this New York Knicks team. Landry Fields also won over the crowd that once booed Donnie Walsh for drafting him. The buzz around the Garden has returned, just like the days of Patrick Ewing. For about a decade boos were constantly echoing around the Garden. Now you can hear Knicks’ fans serenading Amar’e Stoudemire with chants of MVP! MVP! MVP! With the Knicks eyeing more free-agents for next season with a lot of cap space remaining, it is safe to say basketball at the Mecca is back and it is here to stay.

Johnies smack the Dukies?

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yes, it happened. The St. John’s Red Storm beat up the Duke Blue Devils. No, I am not talking about on the streets of New York; but on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out MSG crowd.  Although there were a good amount of Duke fans at the game, they did not have much to cheer about. Duke showed that they are very vulnerable without Kyrie Erving. Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry could not get anything going from the perimiter, Myles and Mason Plumlee did nothing, Kyle Singler was forcing shots, and Duke struggled with the full-court press of St. Johns. You have to give it up for Steve Lavin who is single handedly changing the face of St. John’s basketball. I hope somewhere out there Norm Roberts is watching the up-tempo, in your face style of the Red Storm. Lavin has a way of utilizing what he has. What he has is an extremly quick and athletic team. They are also very experienced, as every player in the rotation except freshman Dwayne Polee are seniors. While Duke showed that they were vulnerable  to athletic teams, St. John’s showed that on any given day they could knock off anyone. This was a huge statement game for St. John’s moving forward. It is a big notch in the belt of SJU in their NCAA tournament resume. While St. John’s has no superstars, they are a deep and senior heavy team. This is always a good sign come tournament time.

Knicks Vs. Pistons: Recap

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Knicks' Center Timofey Mozgov

MOZGOV! MOZGOV! MOZGOV! Who would have thought that this would be the chant coming from the Garden faithful after Sunday’s game vs the Pistons. Timofey Mozgov or Ivan Drago as I like to call him, put together a career game in the abscence of Shawne Williams and Wilson Chandler. In the beginning of the game he looked like same old Timofey. He was dropping passes and acting soft, until he was thrown an alley-oop from Raymond Felton which seemed to boost his confidence. From there Mozgov was showing off his athleticism with tip-slams and showing some range with a free-throw line jumper. Thank god. We have been waiting for this all year after hearing so much hype about the 7-foot Russian Center. Mozgov showed that in fact he could be a viable NBA player. Timmy deserved all the cheers he received from the MSG crowd. New Yorker’s seem to relate well to the underdog, and Moz is certainly that. 23-points and 14 boards…big ups Moz.

Moz did in fact have some help. Amar’e Stoudemire did his usual thing by taking over the game when he needed to. The all-star finished with 33 points in almost 40 minutes. More importanly, Danilo Gallinari is beginning to show signs that maybe he is worth keeping around. Gallo poured in 29 big points, including 4-threes. He was also a perfect 11-11 from the line. This was a solid Knicks win with a very short bench. It will be interesting to see how D’Antoni handles his bench Thursday night when Shawne Williams returns and Wilson Chandler will most likely suit up. I’ll tell you one thing, the Moz better get some run after his last performance.

My Guy: Amar’e Stoudemire

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Congrats to Amar’e Stoudemire for being voted an 2011 Eastern Conference All-Star and starter. Amar’e was playing at an MVP level and is more than worthy of being an All-Star.

Knicks vs. Heat: Recap

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Amar’e Stoudemire said the Knicks were not afraid of the Heat and he showed why. I wouldn’t say the Knicks played a particularly great game offensively but it was enough to pull out a win against the second place team in the East. The Heat showed that they are very beatable. There will be games where D-Wade and LeBron will be off. Last night proved that you do not need them both to be off their game, but just one of them. D-Wade lit the Knicks up last night, at one point making 13 consecutive shots. He was making everything….except free throws. Wade was on 6-14 from the stripe and kept the Knicks in the game. He ended the game with 34 points, but could have had 42 if he made his free throws. As Wade scorched the Knicks, they were able to hold LeBron James in check. LeBron is notorious for playing big games at MSG, but it was clear early on he didn’t have it. You could see the frustration of James was getting to him. He shot only 7-24 from the field and took many contested shots. He was trying to play a lot of one on one especially in the fourth quarter when the Knicks made the big come back.

I won’t lie, when the Heat started to pull away in the 3rd quarter I was nervous. The Knicks were not making shots, and D-Wade was not missing.  But then the 4th quarter came along and the Knicks were doing the little things. Shawne Williams was crashing the boards coming up with second chance opportunities. Amar’e came out and was more aggressive against Joel Anthony who did a solid job on him the entire night. My key sequence was when the Knicks forced LeBron James into a bad shot and Danilo Gallinari hit a key 3-ball to give the Knicks the lead. They did not look back from there. Gallinari and Fields found themselves making key shots the rest of the way. It is good to see the Knicks ableto win with little production from Wilson Chandler. Wil shot only 3-14 from the field and tallied 7 points. His shooting woes have been the talk of the town since he was talked about in the Carmelo deal. Amar’e led the Knicks with 24 points, Landry Fields added a double-double with 19 points and 13 boards. Danilo Gallinari also poured in 20 for the Knicks. The Knicks return to action to take on the Hawks, Friday night.

Landry Fields and Toney Douglas celebrate Thursday's Knicks' win!

Knicks vs. Heat: Preview

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Nobody is afraid of the Miami Heat”. This is what Amar’e Stoudemire told the media today. This is true especially when the Heat are playing without Chris Bosh. Obviously this is a huge test for the Knicks, who were blown out at MSG earlier in the season by the Heat. If you are a Knicks’ fan you are looking for them to play up to the competition and pull out a win. My key player in tonight’s game is Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari will most likely get the assignment of guarding LeBron James. LeBron has killed the Knicks, pouring in close to 32 points a game against them. Oh yeah, the Heat also feature that Dwayne Wade guy. Landry Fields will draw that assignment and you can expect him to be very physical with Wade, who is coming off injury.

Another Knicks’ key tonight will be rebounding. In their prior 2 meetings, Joel Anthony has killed the Knicks on the offensive boards. The Knicks cannot give Wade and James any second chance opportunies. I also look to the Raymond Felton/ Mario Chalmers match-up. This is a match-up Felton needs to look to exploit and have a big game. Hopefully Knicks’ fans give Lebron James the boos he rightfully deserves. Lets Go Knicks!