Written by Anish Philip @dak0mish
The Knicks are set to play the Nets tonight, and it couldn’t lack any less luster. These two teams were supposed to be jockeying for a high seeding in the playoffs. Instead, you have two very injured teams that look like easy chum for the NY media feeding frenzy. 1
This wasn’t what was promised to us over the summer. Deron Williams attacking a child Knicks fan, Pierce embracing every chance to proclaim his hatred or leave the Knicks out of the contender conversation, JR getting on his social media soap box, to Dolan and Prok - you expected a 12 round grudge match. What was supposed to be a clash of the titans has turned into a slumber party pillow fight.
No matter who you think is worse, you can’t argue with one simple fact: The team’s with the two highest payrolls, Brooklyn at $101 million, and the Knicks at $87 million, have less than half the wins of the East leading Pacers combined . By building through the draft, shrewd signings and trades, the Pacers are paying homage to the greatest of all small market teams, the Spurs. The two hometown teams have done the complete opposite. Trading picks for players who are far from superstars & taking on monstrous contracts has given them the headlines they lust for, but not the tangible results to cement their claim to contender status. Don’t act surprised. Patience is a virtue, but long term growth will always be throw aside for a quick buck in Gotham.
Regardless, both these teams simply just need a win. Kidd booted Frank from the bench, and a W wil ensure his dictatorship for the time being. Woodson’s seat is so hot that it can melt a glacier. These coaches are fighting for their jobs rights now, and let’s see which team brings the most support for their leader.
Knicks steps to break the losing streak:
1. 48 minutes of basketball – Sounds simple enough, but the Knicks have fallen apart in different parts of each game during this 9 game stretch. There has been a lack of focus on both sides of the ball, and the Knicks aren’t shooting well enough to excuse any lack of execution.
2. Coach to get the W – Woodson has changed the rotation every game this year, and that has an effect on the players. Also, Woodson has stuck to the guys he believes in, not necessarily the ones who’ve produced. The coach has to play the guys who are playing well and having a positive impact in the Knicks favor. If this means sitting Amare, having a short leash on JR & Artest, and having some guys play 47 minutes so be it. The time has passed for loyalties.
3. Big games call for bigger stars – For all the talk of Melo’s selfishness, this might be the game the Knicks need him to be the most aggressive. When your team is struggling, it’s up to your big money guy to pull you out of purgatory. He hasn’t done it yet this season, so it’s time for Melo to carry them to a victory.
4. Push the tempo – The Nets have a roster full of grind it out, half court players. Getting out on the break with their younger legs will not only get the Knicks some much needed offense, but also tire the older Nets and force Kidd to use more of his depleted bench.