As the Cleveland Indians, owned by Lawrence J. Dolan, were trying to gut out a win in Game 7 of the World Series against Chicago, his nephew James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan, owner of the Knickerbockers seated in his usual endcourt seat, heard the Gulag boo-birds serenading his team.
The din of discontent came late in the second quarter Wednesday night with the Knicks trailing Houston 68-48. The irony was apparent to anyone who found the strange urge to flip from a winner-take-all baseball game of historic proportions on the biggest of stages to the Knicks fourth game in an NBA season that won’t conclude until June.
Even only four games in it’s safe to say the Knicks season will be finished by the time June rolls around. But just like Lawrence J. Dolan, who has seen the good and bad as Tribe boss, James Dolan, who has witnessed bad and dysfunctional with the Knicks, wants to win a title.
Or at least, like his uncle, come close to winning one.
Even if miracles are your thing, it’s unlikely Phil Jackson, Dolan’s designated — and well-compensated — architect, is going to provide a whiff. Jackson’s blueprint only inspires memories of other failed attempts by his front office predecessors. Or Knicks coaches — like Larry Brown, to name one — who were hailed as saviors on their arrival.
Granted, it’s just November. It’s early, very early. But as one columnist wrote after the Knicks were embarrassed by Houston 118-99: “….This is starting to feel like a re-run of a bad movie.”
There is some consolation, albeit off the court. Jeff Hornacek’s postgame press conferences are becoming must-watch events on the MSG Network, if only because of his bluntness. Like the Rockets, Hornacek has shredded the Knicks defense, questioning their commitment to that side of the ball. And after the 102-89 loss to Detroit Tuesday night he also indicated his team is out of shape, saying they ran out of gas.
Jeff Hornacek’s postgame sermons are becoming must-see TV.
It’s not only what he says, it’s the look when his eyes meet the camera. It’s not a deer in the headlights gaze. It’s more like a what-have-I-gotten-myself-into look. That particular visual is easy to recognize. Most who have coached under the Dolan regime have worn it.
Wait, there’s more. Derrick Rose, who appears to come without a filter, invoked the dreaded T-Word, referring to how “Thibs” (Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau) established a defensive identity when he coached him Chicago. Rose insisted the Knicks must establish the same identity. “We have to and we’re going to,” he said.
Good luck. The Knicks have a faux identity. It has everything to do with Jackson’s obsession with the triangle offense and his crusade to keep the system alive, even if it means “allowing” the media to see him deliver triangle talks to some of the players, the men Hornacek is paid to coach.
While all this stuff has absolutely nothing to do with winning, it is entertaining.
And if the Knicks aren’t winning, if the acquisitions of Joakim Noah (who has provided early evidence he’s perfected The Matador D), and Rose don’t start providing positive results, if Kristaps Porzingis doesn’t find consistency, and if Carmelo doesn’t start moving (better) and grooving, the Knicks will need all the entertaining nonsense, their usual soap opera, to keep eyeballs interested.
If this slow start turns into a slow week or month, there is another place to find refuge. And that would be in the alternative universe of MSG’s Knicks postgame show. Tuned in after Tuesday’s loss to Detroit and once the cast confirmed the Knicks had actually lost the game, they got busy playing Candy Land.
Alan Hahn is making sure the Knicks’ recaps are happy ones.
(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor)
Like in the “boxscore” segment, when Wally Szczerbiak said: “Lots of positive things in this boxscore.” Hello. The only “positive” thing in a boxscore is if you scored a total of more “PTS” than your opponent.
Then there was analyst Alan Hahn, accentuating the positive, praising the Knicks offense for producing well “until the fourth quarter.” Whatever happened to playing a complete game? In the fourth, the Knicks didn’t score for the final 5:40 missing their last nine field goal attempts and committing two turnovers.
Still, both these Gasbags deserve credit. We now view them not as basketball analysts. They are defense attorneys making their case that goes like this: This Knicks team is guilty of playing like shlock, but really isn’t all that bad. Just look at the “positives” in the boxscore. Or look how swell they played until they couldn’t score in the fourth.
And as they try being convincing and serious while making the case they actually come off funny. Like two guys on the street trying to sell bubble-blowing machines. The same machines that break as soon as you get them home.
Now, that’s the kind of entertainment the Free World needs.
If only to take its mind off how terrible this Knicks team might be.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News