Maybe all the cold weather in New York this year has made the Knicks think it’s still Christmas, ‘cuz they’ve been non-stop giving out the gift of victories to any team that comes near them. The New Jersey Nets, who had won only 6 our of 61 games, were on a path to be the team with the worst record in NBA history. The previous record low is only 9 games (out of an 82 game season) held by Washington in like 1982 or something (their leading scorer was Fred Carter). If the Nets kept at that 6 of 61 pace, they not only would’ve been unable to win more than those 9 games, they wouldn’t have even won 9. Now though at 7 of 62 after we let them whup us on Saturday, suddenly they’re on pace to out-do those 9 games. Not a bad gift from their cross-river rivals? This is one mark in the record book for which ya don’t wanna become famous.
Oh, and speaking of bad historical marks, in that game against the Nets we went 0-for-18 from three-point land, the most futile deep shooting ever in the NBA. Something tells me that when Al Harrington’s an old man he ain’t gonna be bouncing his little grandson on his knee telling him about the time he went 0-fer-5 to help make history. But let’s move on to the game Friday against the Raptors…
Toronto’s star player, Chris Bosh, had missed the last six games due to injury. His team had plummeted during that time period, going I think 2-4. They had hoped to maybe even challenge for the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference, but their swoon, combined with the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent winning binge, has hung a gray pallor over the team. Okay, with Canada winning the gold at the Olympics the fans probably didn’t notice and certainly didn’t care that much, but the Raptors’ players have been losing some confidence. They were excited ‘cuz Bosh was scheduled to return at last for the Knicks’ game. That excitement was squashed when Bosh suddenly had some sort of stomach virus and went pukingly to the hospital (the spell checker doesn’t believe that “pukingly” is a real word, but clearly the spell checker hasn’t spent a night doing shots of Ralphs’ supermarket generic “Prestige” Vodka and then scrambling to find a bathroom. I mean how else are you scrambling, but pukingly? Sure, you could say desperately, but that don’t really capture the full picture, does it?). Anyway, the point is that the Raptors were a bit down on themselves, so we went in their and gave ‘em a victory to try to cheer them up, get ‘em going again. And what’d the Raps do? The very next game when Bosh finally returns they lose to Philadelphia, a team nearly as sucky as us! It kinda makes our loss feel pointless.
That’s the question though: were our loses pointless? Let’s look at it from a larger perspective:
1. The more we lose, the better our draft pick will be. Oh yeah, but Isiah “I Am Poison” Thomas traded that pick away. Well, at least since the Utah Jazz will get it, we’ll be making Mormons everywhere happy.
2. If the Nets DO attain (or tie) the worst record in history, it will make their team even more unappealing to potential free agents. Yeah, on one hand, there ain’t much difference between a team that won 8 or 10 games, they both suck donkey dung. On the other hand, would you really want to join the WORST TEAM EVER? Yeah, LeBron ain’t going there, but maybe a Rudy Gay gets offered $11 million/year by the Nets versus $8 mill from us. It’s hard to give up $3 mill, and you could rationalize, “Well yeah, they only won 10 games, but they had several games they were in until the end so they could’ve ended up winning nearly 17 games, plus their top guys are all young and will only get better, so how big a difference is it?” Maybe it won’t be a factor, but it ain’t good to give one of our few competitors in free agency any help.
3. If the Raptors finish the season with a whimper, Chris Bosh will be much, much, much, much, much, much more likely to leave Toronto. And as we’ve discussed, he wants to be the centerpiece, meaning NYC could be near the top of his list. You might think that one game doesn’t matter that much, but right now there are five teams competing for the bottom four spots in the East, and they’re all within two and a half games of each other. That one extra loss from us would’ve put them in a tie for 7th place, only half a game ahead of the 8th place team and just one game ahead of the 9th. Psychologically there’s a huge difference to go from being the best of the bottom (& potentially having a shot at a top 4 spot) to struggling to make sure you even make the playoffs. In the first scenario you can allow yourself to believe that if the team improves a bit you could be right up there with the big boys. In the second scenario you’re thinking even if we do improve we’ll still just be a lower tier team at best.
Yeah, things ain’t lookin’ great here in Knicksville. Plus, if we’re gonna lose, I’d really love us to focus specifically on running the offense through Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari more. It’s much more beneficial to showcase that these guys have serious potential than it is to further establish that David Lee’s great (on offense) and that TMac still has something left. Particularly since there’s no guarantee that either of those last two will even be on the team next year.
Oh, on a fun little side note about the Toronto Raptors game: it featured two match-ups between fellow foreigners. From Italy we had Danilo up against Andrea Bargnani, and then in a match-up of Spanish point guards coming in off the bench we had our own Spanish Chocolate, aka Sergio Rodriguez, go up against former Raptor starter Jose Calderon. Chances are each pair went out to dinner together afterward. At least our players got some decent grub from that awful night.
Topics: Al Harrington, Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Fred Carter, Isiah Thomas, Jonathan Bender, Jose Calderon, LeBron James, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Olympics, Philadelphia Sixers, Rudy Gay, Sergio Rodriguez, Spanish Chocolate, Toronto Raptors, Tracy McGrady, Utah Jazz, Washington Bullets, Washington Wizards, Wilson Chandler