I love Knicks/Raps games. I always have. As a Raps fan those playoff match-ups are in some ways the highlights for this franchise to date. Since then obviously a lot has changed, but I still look forward to the game. This year it is not so much that I care to see any of the Knicks players, nor do I even expect a close game (frankly the Raps should kill them every time), it's that I enjoy knowing that EVEN the Raps could never be as bad as the Knicks are right now.
Picture this off-season in your head, and picture it this way:
(a.) Bosh demands a trade.
(b.) Mike James signs elsewhere.
(c.) We trade out first round pick for Mateen Cleaves.
(d.) Colangelo reveals that he is actually Daffy Duck.
(e.) Peddie takes control of the whole team and names himself starting center.
Even if all of this were to happen, we would still be better off than the Knicks. Tonight was a perfect example of why.
The first quarter stood out in my mind for a couple of reasons. The first was Pape Sow. Pape brought some serious hustle. He played Curry as hard as he could. He fought for boards and actually hit a nice jumper. Even with the foul troubles you had to appreciate the effort. Now, name one guy on the Knicks who you could say brought similar effort. Can you? Maybe Qyntel Woods. Maybe.
The second thing that stood out in my mind is that New York's offense whether by design or not, is too guard oriented. Get Curry the ball. Stop looking him off. You would think Curry was an ex-girlfriend of Marbury and Francis who when they see, they completely ignore. Curry may not have the best offensive game in the league but get the guy some touches. That being said, as the game went on the problem was clearly not ONLY that the guards looked Curry off by design, it was simply that the Knicks offense HAS no design. I am not sure I saw the same thing twice tonight. I saw the Raps run their pick and roll, the occasional curl, and some nice isolations with Bosh. That is the offence for the Raps in a nutshell.
And lethal on this night.
This offence gets over 100 points a game.
The Knicks offence? Chaos. In fact I would suggest there is more organization at any pick-up run in the GTA. Even the casual player knows that you exploit miss-matches and share the ball. How come guys making a combined total of over $100M with a Hall of Fame coach don't get it? This kind of play is unbearable to watch at times. In fact unbearable is the only term I can think of to describe the second quarter.
The second quarter of this game might have been the worst 12 minutes of basketball I have seen all year. So many fouls, so many terrible passes (maybe Coach Brown should start with teaching these guys how to correctly perform a chest pass), and unfortunately this was the case for both teams. The Raptors actually began playing down to the Knicks level of play. Well everyone that is except the best guard on the court tonight, Mike James.
With all the turmoil in NY, the part that has interested me the most is the Brown and Marbury feud. Stephon Marbury, for the record, is the ultimate loser. In fact just sporting that sad excuse for a moustache almost makes him the ultimate loser by default. This guy has no idea. He is the girl that thinks she is WAY hotter than she is, and no matter how many time she gets turned down by a guy, she still thinks she is all that. This is Marbury, or as he likes to call himself, "Starbury." This guy is far from a star, although I would argue there is about the same about of space in his head as there is between me and the nearest star.
Tonight Mike James had the task of playing against Marbury. It's guys like Marbury that James loves to play. Guys that talk trash, guys that get in your grill. Mike loves mano-a-mano competition. What was the result?
Pure domination ala the "Amityville Scorer."
Mike James owned Marbury like Cadbury owns cream-eggs. I will NEVER forget the cross-over James had on Stephon tonight. I actually think Marbury has sent his shorts into the tailors to have the crotch sewn back in he fell so bad for that fake. That was Mike James at his best and in fact this might have even been James' best game all year. His shots were well chosen and he did everything it took to win, even getting down and dirty with the NY bigs to grab some offensive boards. James was a surgeon tonight shooting over 50% from the floor, amassing 37 points and making Marbury his patient. Tonight James tossed the Space Mountain mantra aside, grabbed the scalpel and did some FINE work.
Luckily for James and us Raps fans he wasn't the only one. While James played the role of surgeon one player was teaching the Knicks a simple math equation:
Chris Bosh = Basketball IQ.
Starting in the second half Bosh made it clear that he was the smartest player on the court. He knew when to pass (although I believe Coach Brown is still waiting for the double team to arrive), he knew when to shoot and he knew when to drive. He saw the player defending him, sized him up and virtually every time made the right play. His blow-by dunk on Curry was a prime example of that. His willingness to continue to go to the hoop in the fourth is another. His missed three? Well he can't be perfect. Find me three guys on the Knicks roster who have a combined total basketball IQ of CB4. I can't. Although I do know you would have to start with David Lee.
If it were not for Bosh tonight I highly doubt we would have won tonight's game. Actually check that. If it were not for Bosh's basketball IQ I highly doubt we would have won tonight's game. Perhaps not surprising is the fact that it was during Bosh's lesson to the NY Knicks that those same Knicks just IMPLODED. If possible, from a Knicks perspective, the third quarter was actually worse than the second. The ill-advised shots taken make my memories of Lamond Murray fond ones. The lack of passing made my memories of Rafer Alston fond ones. The lack of heart and desire to win and involve one's team-mates made my memories of VC fond ones. Larry Brown's lack of control made my memories of Lenny Wilkins fond ones.
I knew there was a reason I liked watching the Knicks.
- Note to the camera guys and replay guys on the SCORE. I do not need to see Frye's knee bend like that more than once.
- Leo was HARSH on the Knicks tonight. Loved it.
- Barrett needs to pass a little more and shoot a little less.
- Why is Jalen only getting 17 minutes? Why is everyone on that team playing? Larry is there a method to the madness?
- Joey G in limited minutes did some nice things again.
- Raps on a bit of a roll now. A beatable Celtics team next with a banged up Paul Pierce.
- Charlie! Get our email?