Let’s be honest, the Miami Heat would not have to worry about chasing down first place in the Eastern Conference if they had handled business early instead of dropping nine of their 14 losses to below .500 franchises like tonight’s opponent, the New York Knicks.
James Dolan‘s team has gradually become one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the league, and I’m not even talking about the multiple years of nonsensical moves. I’ll just focused on this season’s blunders.
We’ve seen the suspension of one player for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, followed by in-house punishment for pretending to untie opponents’ shoes. Then,there was this week’s arrest of another player and the continued melodrama around Carmelo Anthony, who recently said that “a lot of things are going to be thought about” when free agency comes.
Combine that with Dolan being more absorbed with bringing a D–League team to White Plains than improving his squad’s defense. Instead, he chose to by dole out 10-day contracts to shoot first guys like Shannon Brown and Earl Clark. But the Knicks’ woes will do nothing to stop the rivalry. And according to the Palm Beach Post, not even friendship could stifle the hatred:
“I don’t worry about that franchise,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “I worry about Carmelo Anthony. I always want him to win and want him to succeed… but I don’t really care about the franchise.”
And that’s the way things should be. Players on both sides should care about beating each other just as much as the fans in Miami and the Big Apple do, because no one is trying to see the love-fest that was their Jan. 9 game.
We want to see the elbows, scowls and hard fouls that come with the bitterness of 90’s betrayal, regardless of how good or bad either team is. It’s the spirit of Pat Riley, and it runs through both teams’ veins.