In addition to being a Knicks fan, one of the other ways I misuse my time is watching professional wrestling. As a kid I was attracted to the lights and entrance music and the overall spectacle, and today…well, pretty much the same thing. Without going into the whole defense of wrestling that no one wants to read, I’ll just say it’s no less intelligent TV than any reality show, and it’s less fake than 24 or Grey’s Anatomy or any other popular show that, when you admit to liking it, doesn’t compel people to conduct an impromptu psychological evaluation. I just don’t mind watching scripted sports, I guess. I even sometimes get this weird hang-up where after I flip over from wrestling to real sports, and I’m still in “scripted” mode, I’ll find myself wondering how this game ends before I snap out of it and realize I’m not watching actors on a stage anymore.
Which is usually well and good, except that right now, after two games between the Knicks and Celtics, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m still watching wrestling. Game one was obvious: only about ten thousand people joked that Vince McMahon hired the referees. But game two was even more WWE than game one. In wrestling as in any other form of storytelling, the good guys chase and chase and chase the villains, perpetually unable to catch them in a fair fight. In game one, the Celtics bent the refs; in game two, the villains took out one of the good guys’ best players. Wrestling would term this a handicap match, and last night certainly looked like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena against Carmelo Anthony and…well, no one else.
But as we know, in wrestling and in game two, the story doesn’t end there. Carmelo, the Achilles of this rag-tag army, submitted a valiant effort that, with a victory, would’ve gone down with the all-time great playoff performances. One of the nobodies on Melo’s team, Jared Jeffries, inexplicably stepped up his game before the villains finally swatted him down in the final moments. And still the series goes on without the good guys’ having their fair fight.
Lucky for us, wrestling has a rule: unless someone gets injured (and a whole team isn’t getting injured, much as it seems that way to us), or the feud isn’t making the promotion any money (this series has money written all over it, obviously), then the feud continues until the good guys get their fair fight. And we will get that fight. As in the first two games, we never know what the villains will have up their sleeves – perhaps a little Celtic green mist as Carmelo takes the game-winning shot? – but we know we’re due a fair fight, that these things don’t end until hero and villain stand toe to toe, with no steel chairs or injuries or crooked referees to throw a wrench into things. No good story ends until that fight, and when it does finally happen, well…I don’t have to tell you who wins. Haven’t you ever heard a story of good and evil before?
- So Toney Douglas’ defensive strategy after his first foul was to let Rondo score four straight times with nary a hand in the face, and then take one of the dumbest, most unnecessary fouls of the year 28 feet from the hoop. Unreal.
- Bill Walker: 0-11 FG with a technical foul. Roger Mason: 1-4 FG and – we keep saying this with him – was a shooter who was unwilling to shoot when left wide open. I know Landry Fields just needs a hug in the worst way, but I refuse to believe he couldn’t have done a better job defensively and crashing the offensive boards.
- Jared Jeffries was 5-7 FG after having made no more than three FG’s in a game this season. The last time Jared had five buckets was February 21, 2010, against New Orleans, and the last time he had that many field goals while shooting over 70% in a game was April 12, 2009, in a Knicks loss to Miami in which Dwyane Wade scored 55 points.
- Defending Rajon Rondo is about dictating the point of attack and having length at that point. This is why I feel Jeffries is the best option to guard Rondo at all times: when Rondo gets to the point where the defense absolutely must contest, Jeffries has the length to bother a layup and the versatility to switch onto a big man if the defense must switch. Toney Douglas is an excellent defender, but no point guard can contain Rondo head-up at the basket, and when a big man has to step out on Rondo, suddenly you’re asking Toney to protect the defensive glass. He’s much better-suited to chasing Allen off screens. Given this, why not start Jeffries over Fields in game three?