I wonder if there’s a single New York Knicks fan left with hair on their head and a stomach in tact? This, initially promising, season has alternated so dramatically from week to week, that I would not be surprised if New York City, as a whole, had one collective and unified ulcer.
Ordinarily, a mid-season coaching change is the tell tale sign that all hope is lost. However, in the Knicks case this year, it was just another hurdle of adversity in which they leapt. Interim coach Woodson had the team finally gelling as a full unit, rather then simply the Melo show, followed by a bout of Linsanity and then a Chandler parade. They were operating for the first time as the Knicks, a team as successful as the preseason had promised. However, that triumphant union would only last a mere two weeks, before a brand new and likely insurmountable hurdle would rise before them.
The injury-bug has been lingering around Madison Square Garden, nipping at players heals and building strength as the season progressed. But now, as we enter the home stretch, he has grown huge and ravenous like that of a sandworm in Beetlejuice. In one week, the monster has claimed the season’s of two New York stars, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. These voids will be difficult to replace, to say the least.
Ironically, during their hot stretch, when everything was sunshine and slam dunks, the Knicks appeared to be one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Their bench unit was one that subbed in, five at a time, like that of a hockey line change, and the game never skipped a beat. Yet now, as they are ravaged by injuries and ineffectiveness, the pine reserves are looking a little bare. Baron Davis was supposed to be the starting point guard, until they discovered the Pride of Asia, who had New York so enamored with his play that Davis was relegated to a backup role for the first time in years. And of course, just as the rest of the Knicks season has gone, when they suddenly find themselves desperately in need of his services, he too has been bitten by the sandworm. With stiff back, a swollen knee and a pulled hamstring, it would appear Davis will be joining the rest of the lame squad spectators at the end of the bench. And so it’s back to the drawing board.
Given that it took a fully healthy Knicks squad just to claw their way into the 8th seed, it would seem likely that a makeshift roster of no-name backups and out of position starters will quickly plummet from the playoff picture. But, then again, the Knicks have been an impossible roller-coaster to predict. Every time I think they’re done, from out of nowhere the season takes a wild new turn. And then the higher they rise, the faster they fall from grace. They’ve been nothing short of entertaining, but something tells me that Knicks fans would trade in all the excitement for a boring old trophy, The San Antonio way.
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