It has been an extremely trying time for everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. While a lot of people were impacted by the treacherous storm, the Tri-State area was hit especially hard. It was without question one of the worst disasters that mother nature has ever inflicted upon the Northeast. In a time when people have lost many of their belongings, some even their lives, all of us in the Tri-State area needed something to lift our spirits. In times of depression, many people turn to sports to distract themselves from their hardships. Knowing this, the New York Knicks made it their mission to make sure they didn’t give New Yorkers more to be upset about.
The New York Knicks were supposed to start their regular season last Thursday against their new inner-city rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately for fans of each of those teams, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the city so badly that Mayor Bloomberg and the NBA decided to postpone the game until later in the season. The Knicks second game was scheduled for the next day and was a match up against the defending NBA Champions, the Miami Heat. While a lot of people thought the game was going to be cancelled, the Mayor decided that Manhattan had recovered enough to go through with it and have the Knicks and Heat battle it out to open New York’s regular season. No one in their right mind would ever want to start their season facing the clear best team in the NBA, but the Knicks had a city to defend and something truly special cause to play for.
Before the opening tip, Carmelo Anthony addressed the crowd and showed his and the Knicks support for all of those affected by the storm. While his speech was short, it was very effective and got the crowd roaring. From the jump ball to start the game until the final buzzer, the Knicks had a fire in their eyes that I haven’t seen since the days of Ewing and Starks. There was no way they were going to lose this game. Not only were they going to beat the defending Champs, but they were going to obliterate them in front of a sold out arena that wouldn’t stop shaking in excitement. Carmelo led the team with 30 points but the game was the true definition of a full team effort. There are a lot of new faces on the Knicks squad this year and every single one of them made an impact to make this game one of the most entertaining and fulfilling opening nights I have ever witnessed.
Two days later, the Knickerbockers had another game at home against one of their division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers. Once again, the arena known as the Mecca of basketball was sold out and the crowd was going nuts before the game even started. As a matter of fact, the Knicks got penalized during the camaraderie with a delay of game warning due to the new rule about being ready for tip off within 90 seconds of the lineup announcements (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/10/17/rules-are-made-to-be-broken/). The Knicks came out firing and like their game against the Heat, New York seemed to be hitting anything they threw up. From Carmelo in the post to Novak behind the arc, the Knicks scored in a plethora of ways. Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, with a little help from Pablo Prigioni, had Knicks fans easily remove Linsanity from their minds with precision passing and quality ball control only seen on winning teams.
The Knicks third game of season was the following night, once again against the 76ers in the second game of a home-and-home. This was the first Knicks road game of the season and to quote my man Walt Clyde Frazier, they came out with some “tenacious defense” and were “wheeling and dealing” on offense. This game started a little differently for the Knicks as they found themselves down 10 early on and looked slightly sluggish. Their struggles lasted merely a few minutes because they started popping from deep and quickly took the lead. Once they had their lead they never relinquished it as they went on to win for the third straight game. Not only was this the Knicks third in in a row but it was their third straight win by more than 15 points, which they had never done in their history of season starting.
So as the Knicks sit at 3-0 and have to wait until Friday to play their fourth game, there are many questions that linger over them. Are the Knicks truly as good as they looked in their first three games? Will they still be playing this well once Amare Stoudemire returns from his most recent injury? Should Knicks fans be getting excited about their early success? Is it too soon to celebrate? Regardless of what you think, I for one am thrilled about how the Knicks have opened the season and really do appreciate how they have been able to divert my attention during a truly trying time. LET’S GO KNICKS!!!
Houston, we have a prob’lin’! The past 24 hours has been an absolute roller coaster ride for the New York Knicks organization. Just one day after Jeremy Lin signed an offer from the Houston Rockets, which he heard from multiple sources in the Knicks organization that they would match, the Knicks went out and made an impressive sign-and-trade that brought former PG, Raymond Felton, back to the Garden. This surprising turn of events came as a shock to everyone, including Jeremy, who has stated multiple times that he wanted to return to the Big Apple and prove he wasn’t a fluke. Well, after the acquisition of Raymond Felton, it looks like the Knicks and the NBA’s biggest story from last season are going to part ways. Whether you were a huge fan of Jeremy Lin, like myself, or you thought he was a one-hit-wonder, the decision by the Knicks to let him leave was a smart one.
No one can deny the positive impact that Lin made not only for the Knicks organization but for the entire NBA last season, but the offer the Houston made to him was way more than he was worth. Even the Knicks, who spend money without thinking all the time, was able to see that it did not make sense, monetarily speaking, to retain Lin and his massive contract. The deal was for nearly $25 million over a 3 year span, but $15 million of that would be paid in the 2014-15 season. The problem with that deal is that the Knicks would be so far over the cap that the luxury tax would make Lin’s deal in his final season worth upwards of $30 million. That number is absolutely astronomical and no PG in the NBA is worth it.
I loved the Lin story in New York and I would have enjoyed seeing it come to fruition over the next couple of years, but I have to admit that I am very happy the Knicks are finally making winning decisions rather than publicity building ones. No one can say whether or not Jeremy will be a better player than Raymond Felton or not, but what I can guarantee is that no matter how well Lin plays he will never be worth what Houston is paying him. Lin can be great, but with Felton you know exactly what you are getting.
Felton was the Knicks starting PG for half of the 2010-11 season before he was one of the four players traded to Denver for the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony. While Raymond was with the Knicks, they were an above .500 team and Amare Stoudemire was playing his best basketball EVER! Felton was one of the main reasons that Amare was able to go on his franchise best 8-games with 30 points or more streak. No one wanted to see Felton leave, but no one could dispute the pick up of Anthony as the right decision. The two are now united in what is coming together as one of the better and more experienced teams in the NBA.
The Knicks recent offseason acquisitions should draw much different sponsors, like AARP, Depends and Viagra, because their roster is filled with a bunch of aged veterans. Kurt Thomas, turning 40 in October and currently the oldest player in the NBA, Jason Kidd (39), and Marcus Camby (38), represent some of the new, but very old, Free Agent pickups during this offseason. On top of those dinosaurs, the Knicks are the front runner’s to acquire the second oldest player in the NBA, Grant Hill. With Lin out and Felton in, this group of veteran’s look poised to compete with the best-of-the-best.
Coach Woodson, who just 3 days ago guaranteed Lin would return to the Knicks, says that they have built a win now team. That hasn’t been the thought since their 99-00 team that went to the NBA Finals, coincidentally featuring Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby in their primes. Maybe the Knicks can convince their assistant GM, Allan Houston, to suit back up and make a call to former teammate Latrell Spreewell, so they can have a 99-00 reunion.
There is no denying that the Knicks have made some unconventional but possibly great moves this offseason. Without question, the Knicks have one of the deeper teams in the entire NBA and they now have the proper championship experience that is required to win. Let’s just hope that they work on their player’s not making bonehead moves during their free time like Jason Kidd did last night while getting into a car accident and then arrested on a DWI in the Hamptons.
Farewell to Jeremy Lin and hello to a new Knicks look that can hopefully bring winning back to NY.