Last night, the final home game of the season, the Knicks gave the crowd something to cheer for on Fan Appreciation Night. Losing wouldn’t help our lottery chances, winning wouldn’t help our playoff chances. We were going up against an equally sucky team in the Washington Wizards, a team without even an exciting superstar. And yet if you listened to the amazing crowd at Madison Square Garden last night, you’d've thought it was Game 7 of the Finals.
The Knicks entered the fourth quarter down by 8 points, yet that didn’t stop a rag-tag group of players staging a remarkable comeback to try and force a fairy-tale end to this nightmare season. Out of the group of five players on the court during this run, only one of them (Danilo Gallinari) was getting regular NBA minutes earlier in the season. He was joined by a rookie (Toney Douglas) who initially in the year couldn’t get off the bench even though he was behind a mediocre, underperforming point guard (Chris Duhon). A guy (Bill Walker) buried on a top playoff team (the Celtics). A point guard (Sergio Rodriguez) who was third-string and barely saw any minutes on a far-from-playoff-caliber team (the Sacramento Kings). And of course our end of the season find, D-League call up Earl Barron. While the Washington Wizards ain’t exactly the Lakers, it was still impressive to see this bunch of castoffs bring home the bacon.
Coach Mike D’Antoni, realizing he had a good thing going with this gang, even kept David Lee on the bench the rest of the way (despite the fact that Lee, as always, had been one of the few bright spots throughout the game). The fans, showing their class and awareness of the impending free agency’s problems, chanted, “Re-sign David!”
It was the Italian and the Spaniard who lead the fourth quarter run. Gallo had two three-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play where he drove and was fouled. Sergio, Spanish Chocolate himself, had a three pointer after driving to the basket twice in a row and hitting funky wrong-footed layups that caught the Wiz’s shot-blockers off-guard.
However, the unreported story of the night might very well be that Knicks’ announcer Walt “Clyde” Frazier took his game to another level. The lovable Clyde always injects random “r”s into words, plus you can always count on him using a couple of big words that don’t quite sound right. I firmly believe he may’ve been a bit drunk or high last night, ‘cuz he went far even for him. At the beginning he so mangled the name of Washington’s Blatche, that co-announcer Mike Breen had to ask him if he said “Bosh.” At the end of the first quarter, Washington’s Al Thornton hit a forty-footer as the buzzer went off. Later on in the game, Clyde saw Thronton re-enter the game and did a Chris-Farley by turning to Breen and saying “Remember when Thornton hit that forty-footer?” That was it, no follow up. Breen said yes, he did remember it.
When the Knicks took a twenty-second timeout near the end of the first-half, Clyde pointed out that it was fine because those types of timeouts aren’t “accumulative,” which sorta works, but really it should be “cumulative.” Later, when Gallo hit a shot with Mike Miller all over him, Clyde said that Gallo was “tantalizing” the Washington player. Probably Miller didn’t find it too tantalizing, but Danilo might’ve been “taunting” or “teasing” him. The Garden fans however found it to be rather tantalizing. Lastly, at another point Breen was talking about how the Knicks’ next (& last) game would be up in Toronto and that the game could have playoff implications. He mentioned how Chicago currently held the eight seed, but if the Knicks lost Wednesday, the spot could go to Toronto. Clyde giggled as he simply said, “Another country.” What can I say, the man rocks.
All in all, a good happy ending point at home for what’s been a long, sad season.
Topics: Andray Blatche, Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Chris Duhon, Chris Farley, Clyde Frazier, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Earl Barron, Mike Breen, Mike D'Antoni, Mike Miller, Sacramento Kings, Sergio Rodriguez, Toney Douglas, Toronto Raptors, Walt Frazier, Washington Wizards