I’ll admit it: I stopped watching the game at halftime. Well, I fast-forwarded through the first few minutes of the second-half to see if the Knicks were gonna show up, but nope, they never made it to the game. Now I haven’t always been a big fan of some of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s substitution choices, the way he communicates with players, or his lack of an emphasis on defense, but it comes down to this: the players still gotta go out there and play. They still gotta have some pride. The coach can only do so much, ‘cuz he ain’t the one shooting the ball or (not) defending his hoop.
And y’know, forget the pride claim, how about the It’s-Your-Job claim? I feel for how emotionally draining and devastating it can be to endure such losing. I realize it makes it that much harder to come out and play with passion. As hard as it is for us fans to see our better players get traded away these last couple of years, it’s gotta be worse for say a David Lee to lose skilled teammates like Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, and Zach Randolph and then have to play with relatively unskilled newbies in Toney Douglas, Sergio Rodriguez, and Bill Walker. It’s like he was going into a gun fight then had all his bullets taken away except for one, and now he sees his enemies coming in with machine guns. So even though I’ve been a Knick fan longer that the players, and I may bleed orange and blue more deeply than they ever will, I can get that they may be much more emotionally beaten down than me. And it takes a lot, A LOT, of effort to force yourself to then keep coming out playing as if every possession is life and death. But again, they’re getting paid to do it. Handsomely.
It’d be like going to your office job and deciding to only do tasks if someone specifically asks you to do them. Only answering co-workers’ phone calls but never dialing them up yourself. Leaving precisely at 5pm, even if there’s still work to be done. I know when things are yucky we can’t wait to get away to happy hour as soon as possible, but c’mon guys, quitting time ain’t until the last game of the season, April 14th, versus Toronto. Until then, let’s keep putting on our suits and ties instead of acting like every day is Casual Friday and the Hamptons are beckoning.