Celtics-Heat Talking Points

– Pierce, Allen, and Garnett are declining. I think Boston’s run is over. Miami/Chicago/New York will run the East for the next 5-10 years while the West will be wide open.  The Nets getting Howard would change everything, which I think they very might well do.

– Losing Perkins was huge.  It was a really dumb trade.

– Rondo is a great point guard, and the Celtics should still be good for a while. Just not title material.

– LOL at “Heat fans” in the arena who have probably never watched basketball before.

– LOL at Lebron crying after winning, as if he really accomplished something by winning a second round series. Didn’t these clowns crown themselves champions in July?

– Chicago will beat Miami. They are much better suited to play them.

Get your popcorn ready.


Knicks Final Season Grades

Amar’e Stoudemire: STAT has been the savior of this franchise and broke the ice for superstars wanting to come play in New York. He did look more dominant before the Melo’ trade; but his injury in Game 2 showed how much this team relied on him to produce on a consistent basis. Bottom line, before this season he issued the statement ” The Knicks are back” and he certainly made the right prediction giving New York a winning season. Grade: A

Carmelo Anthony: His acquisition cemented the elusive second superstar for the Knicks going forward. Down the stretch he became much more comfortable and was scoring and rebounding at a very high rate. He has shown that he can defend as well as anyone when he wants to , the problem, he doesn’t really want to that often. His Game 2 performance alone is a good enough reason for the Knicks fans to get excited about the future of the franchise. This was only a small sample of what he can do but he was a little inconsistent in the playoff series. Grade: A-

Landry Fields: I know what you are thinking. How on earth is his grade so high after that postseason performance or lack there of ? When thinking about Fields you must remember a couple of things: (1) HE WAS A ROOKIE, (2) He is a hardworking, smart, athletic kid who will only get better, and (3) He was a 2nd round pick, if anything you should wonder why Andy Rautins was wearing a suit all year.  Grade: B

Shawne Williams: The second biggest surprise for the Knicks this season besides Landry Fields was Williams. He brings a lot of intensity on both ends of the floor and is another feather in Donnie Walsh’s cap. He can guard 3 positions and shoot the 3 with great accuracy. He is limited offensively but he was as good as it gets from a training camp invite. Grade: B

Toney Douglas: The only thing consistent about Douglas this year was that he was inconsistent. He did reaffirm the fact that he is not a point guard, however few players bring the perpetual energy and effort that Douglas brings night after night at both ends of the floor. He is as streaky a shooter as it gets but was responsible for winning a couple of games this season when he was hot. He is also young and a solid combo guard off the bench despite not being the distributor. Grade: B-

Ronny Turiaf: When the sign and trade for David Lee was made most of the publicity was given to Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azibuike; however Turiaf was by far the best part of this deal, and I do believe he is an excellent big man off the bench because he brings defense and energy, two of the best qualities off the bench. The only thing holding Ronny from being graded higher is his fragility. He could not stay healthy for a majority of the season and caused the Knicks to play smaller than they would have liked. Grade: C+

Bill Walker: Another nice surprise this season, Walker had a few very solid games offensively and much like Shawne Williams shot the 3 well. Walker and Williams are very similar players and the thing that gives Walker the lower grade is his poor decision making  at certain times this season. He often forces the issue and gets called for silly offensive fouls. Walker has talent and could be a viable option off the bench for seasons to come. Grade: C+

Chauncey Billups: The aging point guard has shown little since coming to New York. He has been erratic and this is definitely a sign of his age. The decision on whether or not to pick up his option relies on two things (1) can he stay healthy and (2) are there any better options at point guard. The answer to these questions will be the reason Billups is back or not. Grade: C

Antony Carter/ Jared Jeffries: I decided to combine these to players because they bring almost the exact same strengths and weaknesses. Both players bring great defensive intensity and ability. Both players bring no offensive talent or ability. In D’antoni’s system you need defenders who can shoot, and both of these players cannot hit the broad side of a barn. You give up too much offensively when these players are on the floor. Grades: Carter/C  Jeffries/ C-

Shelden Williams: Played well in stretches but also played awful in stretches and could not play well enough to stay in Mike D’antoni’s vacillating rotation. Grade: C-

Derrick Brown: I  personally would have liked to have seen more of Brown down the stretch because he does have some potential as a rebounder and defender. Mike D’antoni was not impressed with Brown enough to give him time so his grade must suffer. Grade: D

Renaldo Balkman: Balkman played in 3 games with the Knicks and the only thing keeping his grade from an F is his wonderful use of the bench towel. Grade: D-

Roger Mason: He was brought in to bring good 3 point shooting and he did not shoot the 3 well at all. If hes not shooting the ball well from deep hes not doing anything of value to help your team. Grade D-

Andy Rautins: You know its a poor season when you are seen night after night sitting in the second row. Grade: F

Donnie Walsh Returning?

The Knicks are considering a two-year extension for team president Donnie Walsh, with the matter expected to be resolved in the next two weeks, a person familiar with the organization’s thinking told CBSSports.com Sunday night.

Walsh, 69, has an option for the 2011-12 season to be exercised by April 30, but the more likely scenario is a two-year extension that would keep the architect of the Knicks’ revival at the helm through the critical next phase of the rebuilding plan. If the option is not picked up, Walsh’s contract expires June 30.

“It’s basically going to be Donnie’s call whether he wants to come back,” said the person with knowledge of the organization’s intentions.

No final decisions have been made on Walsh or coach Mike D’Antoni in the wake of a 4-0 first-round sweep completed Sunday with a 101-89 loss to the Celtics, and sources cautioned that several issues could complicate both situations. For one, neither Walsh nor D’Antoni has been given a clear indication as to their respective statuses, which explains why D’Antoni took some off-guard with his postgame comment Sunday, “I don’t know what the future holds.”

I think this is the right move, but eventually Allan Houston will be the next General Manager of the Knicks.  Hopefully Donnie can land Marc Gasol this offseason and Chris Paul next season or next offseason.  Since Donnie is aging, a two-year deal seems perfect.

Celtics Sweep Knicks

It’s over.  The Knicks have been swept by the Celtics.  This is obviously an embarrassing loss, but it should be a fun offseason ahead.  D’Antoni has to go, but we all know Dolan doesn’t have the guts to fire him.  Hopefully the Knicks can land Marc Gasol or convince the Hornets to trade Chris Paul, although the latter is a bit improbable.  I would like to say I’m sure it will all work out for the better, but honestly I don’t trust this franchise to do the right thing anymore.

For more on the Knicks and their future, see my rant this week on them.

The official New York Sports Today "Marc Gasol to the Knicks" campaign starts now.

The New York Knicks: A Tragedy Story

Where should I start?  It’s not that the Knick just dropped two heart breakers to the Celtics in the playoffs.  It’s not that Mike D’Antoni is still the head coach of this team.  (Well, actually I’ll get to that later.)  It’s not even that this team didn’t get Lebron and have tanked two years for a first round exit.

It’s none of those things.  Let’s take it back about a decade ago when Jim Dolan took over two of the most beloved franchises in sports, the Knicks and the Rangers.  I really can’t complain about the Rangers right now, but let us focus on those Knickerbockers.

In a matter of a few years, MSG turned into the Madison Square Gulag.  Marv Albert was fired because of his unbiased commentary, Patrick Ewing was traded and later became a coach with the Magic, and fan favorites like Latrell Sprewell were dealt because they didn’t fit Dolan’s agenda.  Ticket prices went up as the team’s quality went down.  Harper, Starks, Oakley, and Mason were replaced by studs Marcus Camby, Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, and Chris Duhon.

Then Dolan’s friend Isiah Thomas took over, and you know how the rest of the story goes.  Donnie Walsh came in two years ago and promised to turn things around.  The Knicks demolished a playoff caliber team for Lebron James.  No, they didn’t tank to get more “cap flexibility.”  They didn’t tank to ensure anything but getting Lebron.  All looked like it was going to work out, but then Lebron said no.

Ama’re came to New York, while Carmelo followed a few months later after the Knicks gutted their roster for him.  Where are the Knicks?  A playoff team with no shot to do anything in the playoffs.  Hey, that’s exactly where they were two years ago!

Knick fans need to stop buying the organization’s garbage.  Here’s the cold hard facts.  The Knicks have accomplished nothing.  You don’t get a trophy for signing two “max free agents.”  It also doesn’t help that the Knicks have one of the worst coaches in all of the NBA.  The “seven second or less” offense is more like the “how many different ways can I turn the ball over early in the shot clock” offense.  Not only does Mike D’Antoni have to be fired, the Knicks need to bring in someone who knows how to play defensive basketball.  Defense wins championships, not scoring as many points as you can while falling asleep while the other team has the ball.

Here’s five head coaches I would want:

1) John Callipari
2) Phil Jackson
3) Doc Rivers
4) Patrick Ewing
5) Mike Krzyzewski

That’s in no particular order, but that’s my top five.

Are the Knicks really better off than they were two years ago?  No, but things will get better in two years when we sign Chris Paul!  Hey, wait… that’s the same thing they told us two years ago with Lebron.  But we didn’t get Lebron, did we?  Well, Chris Paul definitiely is dying to come to New York, he’ll be a Knick in 2012.  Hey, that’s the same thing the Knicks said with Lebron.

Are Knick fans really that dumb?  Is this fanbase really going to continue to fall for MSG’s same tricks?  Are we really celebrating getting to the playoffs?  This is New York, not Memphis.  Winning is embedded into our DNA.  Making the playoffs once in the past seven years isn’t an accomplishment, sorry to break it to you.  Win a playoff series, even a game first, and then start saying “The Knicks Are Back!”

The truth is that the Knicks aren’t back.  We’ve fallen for the hype over the past six months.  Nothing has changed.  The faces are different, but the problems remain the same.  Here in 2011, we are in the same position we were in 2009.  We were promised a better team, but how much better are we than we were two years ago?  I understand in a year or two we can add pieces to make us a true contender, but that’s what they said back when Walsh took over.

When will it end?

Crawford and Randolph were one of many combos that were said to be the ones to take the Knicks to the promised land. Marbury/Curry and Robinson/Lee didnt quite work out either.

Referees Ruin the NBA

We already know that the NBA is the worst professional sports league in America, but tonight was truly amazing.  With the Knicks up late, the refs single handedly gave the game to Boston.  Let us review.

1) Carmelo gets called for an offensive foul while not making contact with anyone.

2) Paul Pierce gets away with an obvious trip on Toney Douglas leading to a wide open three for Ray Allen.

3) On the last play of the game, Paul Pierce grabbed the rim.  Should have been basket interference and a win for the Knicks.

Thank you NBA referees for once again making the playoffs unwatchable.

Are we really going to pretend that referees aren't ruining professional sports?

Bold Prediction: Rangers in 6, Knicks in 7

Ready for a shocking prediction?  I believe the Rangers will knock off the Capitals in 6 games, while the Knicks take care of Boston in 7.

The Rangers have a great shot at beating Washington.  With a suspect defense, the Caps could very well play like they did three out of the four games they played the Rangers this season.  If the Blueshirts can dominate like they did throughout most of the season series, I could see them stealing not one, not two, not three, but four games.  If Lundqvist gets hot, this team can and will make noise.  Sometimes all you need is a hot goaltender.

As for the Knicks, they can beat the Celtics, but it will be tough.  If they want any chance, they have to play defense and pick-and-roll their way through Shaq and the Celtics’ defense.  If Perkins was still with Boston, I’d say the Knicks had no chance to win this series.  But with Stat and Melo potentially putting up an easy combined 70 points a game, don’t count the Knicks out just yet.

Win or loss, it should be a fun few weeks at MSG.  Hopefully things work out for both the Knicks and Rangers, but neither team should really be disappointed if they get eliminated after putting up a good fight.

Ready for the playoffs?