By Jason Keidel
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As LeBron James roamed the hardwood with impunity, and Dwyane Wade dunked over dozing Knicks who failed to block out, the Knicks' matator defense was in full bloom, as it is with every spring. And every fantasy erected over the last month faded like a dream at 7 a.m. The alarm clock sounded on everyone Saturday afternoon, and now you should be awakened by the basketball reality confronting your Knicks.
Everything, from Carmelo's late-season surge to Mike Woodson's de facto induction into the Knicks' hierarchy was doused by such pungent play that only a win tonight can erase the stench.
As the Miami Heat vaporized the New York Knicks, 100-67, you learned a few things. Miami has two players better than Carmelo Anthony. Miami wants it more. Only one team came to play defense. And the Knicks are soft. Yes, soft. One stat says it all.
LeBron scored 32; the Knicks starting five scored 30.
We can dissect the 27 turnovers, Carmelo's disappearance, the disparity in free throws, etc, but the Heat simply played like they belong. And the Knicks are in their stuck-in-the-headlights stance, just happy to be invited to the dance but didn't bring their dancing shoes.
And it's never the Knicks' fault. The foe never wins; abstract forces conspire to foil your favorite team. New Yorkers aren't normally given to excuses, except when it comes to the Knicks. You pluck them like fresh fruit off the vine.
Shumpert got hurt.
Stoudemire's not right.
Bibby's not right.
Chandler has a cold.
And my favorite… the refs stole it…
Last I checked, it's impossible for any referee not named Tim Donaghy to influence a 33-point drubbing. As far as Tyson Chandler's illness goes, the last time Michael Jordan got fluids at halftime, he dropped 38 on Utah in the NBA Finals, and had to be carried off the court. No such theatrics from Chandler, who is a solid player but grossly miscast as Bill Russell because he actually plays defense, unlike most of his teammates.
There are no moral victories. Except with the Knicks, who have been so bad for so long that even the most hardened, blue-collar fans have bought into paltry maxims. "Wait until next year" was the exclusive province of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Knicks should pay royalty for being Dem Bums of basketball.
There's no shame to losing to a better team. But there's much shame in showing no heart. There's no excuse for not trying. The Knicks have 48 minutes to change how we see them. And it must start tonight. By the time they get back to the Big Apple, it will be over.
Feel free to email me: Keidel.Jason@gmail.com
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