The ever entertaining rivalry between Knicks owner James Dolan and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Last Thursday (I’m delayed on these posts because I am on vacation) it was announced that James Dolan has joined the board of Live Nation. I have no idea why or how they would allow him on this board as he is a bumbling idiot but he is now on it. This is funny because, the New Jersey Nets are set to open up their new arena, the Barclays Center, in 2012. The owner of the Nets of course is Mikhail Prokorov. The same man who infuriated Dolan with the infamous Nets poster near Madison Square Garden and the competition for both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. It is speculated that Dolan will try to use his new board membership to attempt to limit the amount of Live Nation events occuring at the Barclays Center. Whether he succeeds or not is a different story but I think it is quite funny how Dolan and Prokhorov are taking their rivalry outside the NBA into the business world. I am eagerly awaiting news on how Prokohorov will retaliate to this. Whatever he decides to do, I promise you it will be entertaining.
According to Marc Stein to ESPN.com the Pistons have tabbed Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank to become their next head coach. This is detremental to the Knicks because Frank was Mike D’Antoni’s top choice to run the Knicks defense. He was rumored to be a strong candidtate in New York due to his time spent with the team before last season and the fact that his family remained in New Jersey while he coached with Boston this past season. Its unknown where the Knicks go from here. It is a mystery to me why the Knicks did not go hard after former Rockets assistant Elston Turner who now holds the defensive coordinator job with the Phoenix Suns. It will be interesting to see where the Knicks go from here as now Minnesota is the only open coaching vacancy with everybody else having a good part of their staffs in order. I was afraid this would happen and it has. It is not the end of the world but Frank would have been a fabulous fit with the Knicks.
[Image via Ultimate Sports Talk]
Thanks again Donnie Walsh. It was announced Saturday that the Knicks finished the season with a $67 million payroll, $3 million below the $70 million luxury-tax threshold. This was the first season since 1999 that the Knicks finished below the threshold having paid $20-30 million annually under jackasses Scott Layden and Isiah “Zeke” Thomas. Once again Donnie Walsh continues to make strides and this is a stride that cheap ass James Dolan ought to appreciate. Dolan, being the money hungry power monger that he is, should appreciate what Walsh has done for his organization. While his man lover Mr. Thomas was producing losers on the court while costing Dolan $30 million annually, Walsh has produced a winner and SAVED Dolan from paying money over the cap. In the end, this accomplishment is just one of many you can add to Donnie Walsh’s tenure with the Knicks and in the end it will not matter due to James Dolan’s moronic and egotistical ways of running his team.
[Image via Los Thats Sports Blog]
This afternoon the 2011-2012 Knicks schedule was released. Granted, this schedule will probably be changed due to the lockout but it is still nice to get excited for all the marquee games the Knicks will have. As Alan Hahn of Newsday points out, the Knicks are on ABC Sunday 4 times, TNT Thursday 8 times and ESPN 10 times. I am down to see all these games on national tv because we now are a national team with star power but we better not have LeBron syndrome and choke a lot of these games late. With all the national exposure will come a lot of criticism if we are not successful.
Here are some of the marquee games from the schedule:
Nov 2 vs. Miami
Nov 16 at Denver
Nov 17 at LA Lakers
Dec 7 vs. San Antonio
Dec 25 vs. Celtics
Jan 27 at Heat
Feb 2 vs. Chicago
Feb 10 vs. LA Lakers
Feb 19 vs. Dallas
Mar 4 at Boston
Mar 12 at Chicago
Apr 5 at Orlando
Apr 8 vs. Chicago
Apr 10 at Chicago
Apr 15 vs. Miami
Apr 17 vs. Boston
The Knicks full 2011-2012 schedule can be seen here.
Despite the fact that the 2011-2012 NBA season is likely to be missed the NBA will still release its schedule tomorrow at 2 pm eastern time. Howard Beck of the New York Times says that the Knicks will open versus Miami on Nov. 2 and will play Boston on Christmas Day.
“If the lockout is resolved in time, the 2011-12 season will open with the Chicago Bulls playing in Dallas, against the defending-champion Mavericks, according to ESPN.com.
The Knicks — who will be playing in a newly renovated Madison Square Garden — are scheduled to open play Nov. 2, against the Miami Heat, according to a person who has seen the schedule. The Knicks are also scheduled to play a marquee game on Christmas, against the Boston Celtics.”
Lets just hope there is a 2011-2012 season so we can actually see Amare, Melo and the gang play out a full NBA schedule. I would settle for like a 50 game schedule because at least we would have games but I am praying that we can get a full schedule in. I think the NBA has a lot of momentum right now. Last season was the best season I think the NBA has had in my lifetime, or since I have been watching the NBA closely (since about 2004). It would be sad to see the momentum to the league killed and again I am praying for a full season next year.
Earlier this year, the Knicks and east coast scouting director Rodney Heard were fined on behalf of a 2010 yahoo article uncovering years of illegal workouts performed by Heard. The Knicks were fined 200,000 and Heard 20,000. The yahoo sports article written by Adrian Wojnarowski can be found here. Heard is most famous for holding an illegal workout with Kansas forward Brandon Rush in an Atlanta gymnasium that resulted in a bad knee injury causing Rush to go back to Kansas for another season.
Rodney Heard had an expiring contract this offseason and the Knicks have decided to part ways with him. Heard came to the Knicks as a close friend of Isiah Thomas so it should be no surprise that he caused the Knicks tons of PR trouble and money with his illegal workouts. I was happy to hear that Heard and the organization were going separate ways. We do not need anymore Isiah Thomas shit going on in the organization.
The 6th best game of last season was the Knicks 110-108 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. This game is important because not only was it an entertaining game but Carmelo Anthony showed his value as he hit the game winning shot with .5 seconds left in the game. It was a game the Knicks dominated for 3 quarters but, as most NBA games go, the Grizzlies stormed back in the 4th quarter and almost took the game. To me, it was a great team victory as Fields, Douglas and Roger Mason Jr all pitched in with significant contributions with Billups injured.
The Knicks got off to a good start with Stoudemire hitting 3 of the Knicks first 4 baskets. Melo hit his first 2 shots, both 3 pointers, and had 12 in the first quarter. Knicks led 30-27 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter got off to a good start as Mason and Fields pushed the lead to 35-27. STAT and Melo contributed with 18 second quarter points and the Knicks led 61-53 at halftime. The third quarter was a scoring bonanza for the blue and orange as they scored 35 points. Melo had 5 and Amare had 6 but this quarter was about the team. The scoring was spread out between Mason, Douglas and Fields. Hell Jeffries even hit a jump shot! Jeffries!!! That should have been a sign that the team was going to win the game. The Knicks led 96-82 after the third quarter and it looked like they would cruise to a victory in Memphis. The 4th quarter was a completely different story than the third quarter was. The Knicks did not score a point until a Shawne Williams jumper at the 7:24 mark put the Knicks up 98-90. They completely went cold and let Memphis back into the game. Darrell Arthur had the first 8 points of the quarter for Memphis as they had all the momentum going forward. The Knicks then found their rhythm as they started to hit some shots. A second made free throw by Carmelo Anthony put the Knicks up 108-98 with 3:36 to go. Jeffries then had 2 turnovers and the momentum began to sway towards the Memphis bench. A Darrell Arthur poster dunk over Jeffries made it a 108-104 game as the Knicks went cold the rest of the quarter. Then Carmelo committed a terrible foul with the Knicks up 3 on a Zach Randolph 5 footer right in front of the rim and gave him a 3 point play. Randolph’s free throw tied up the game at 108 with 14 seconds to go. The Knicks went right down the floor and gave it to Melo isolated on Tony Allen. Game Over. Melo drained the shot with .5 seconds to go and the Knicks went on to win the game 110-108.
This was one of the best games all year because of its excitement but also how every player chipped in. It was a total team win over a very very good Memphis team. Melo and Amare again played well together scoring 31 and 26 points respectively but they were not the sole scorers in this game. Fields had 16, Douglas had 18 and Mason had 10. I have always said going forward that if the Knicks can find consistent scoring from somebody like Douglas off the bench, or at least 10 a game from Fields, that they will be in great shape. With Amare and Melo getting theirs and Billups doing his thing, the Knicks do not need a ton of bench scoring but basketball is not played with 3 guys. The Knicks need a consistent bench and supporting cast and this game really was the epitome of what I am talking about. That is why I chose it as the 6th best Knick game of last season.
I know this is a Knicks blog but being a total heat/LeBron hater I had to post this. I know it is a popular video but if you have not seen DJ Steve Porter’s LeBron James Mashup then you have to see it. It is absolutely hilarious. Enjoy.
I chose 2 games for the 7th best game of the 2010 season. I chose two blowouts that the post Melo trade era teams. The scores of the two games were Knicks 131 Raptors 118 and Knicks 131 Jazz 109. In my opinion these games, while they look like old fashion NBA blowouts, have a little bit more meaning than people believe. These were games in which Amare and Carmelo meshed together and both had great games. These games to me, showed the potential that this team has on the offensive side of the basketball.
In the Toronto game, the Knicks were flawless on offense. Amare and Carmelo both had 23 points, Douglas had 28 points. Billups only took 8 shots and had 9 assists, a style that I think benefits the team more than having him take 20 shots and having 5 assists. Billups ended up with 13, Fields had 10 and Derrick Brown got some playing time and had a monster dunk. It was a great game where the whole team meshed on offense. It was a great blueprint of what the team should be next year, Amare and Melo touch the ball, Billups is a distributor, other guys score then Melo and STAT get to rest for the 4th quarter.
In the Jazz game, the Knicks came out of the gate firing. They scored 40 points in the first quarter. Once again, Melo and Amare played well together and couldn’t be stopped. Carmelo had 34 and Amare had 31 to lead the Knicks. Jeffries was the only player not to score in the game. The Knicks shot 56% and 50% from 3. The game was a flawless offensive one for the Knicks.
These 2 games show the potential that the Knicks have. If they can learn to play together, this team will score with ease and will be damn near un-guardable. These games were flashes of how this team can play. That is why I chose these 2 games as a combo for the 7th best game of last season.
There have been a ton of reports lately on whether Amare is staying in the states or if he is going to go to Israel or Europe. Amare provided an update via twitter a couple days ago:
“Europe teams are calling, I think I’m going 2 stay here in the states. My loyalty is with the State of New York an the NYK’s. Who’s with me?”
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love Amare but if there is anyone who should benefit from the lockout, its Amare. He will have extended time to rest his knees and his back and recharge for next season or whenever the next season is. I know nothing is final but it does sound more and more like he is going to remain in the states.
[Image via The High Top Fade Away]