Throughout time, championship teams have been assembled with not just great talent, but great leadership as well.
It takes a certain balance on a roster of talent, leadership and quality role players all playing as one.
Certainly great ones lead and others follow, but one thing great teams don’t have is rampant immaturity.
That’s what the New York Knicks have at the moment.
It’s very hard, if not impossible to win a championship that way.
Instead of showing a sense of urgency to take care of business the past two games, the Knicks have been consumed with other aspects surrounding themselves.
All season there has been the constant whining and complaining about officiating.
But everything seemed good for three games until the immaturity of this team took over.
It all started with J.R. Smith’s selfish elbow in Game 3 that earned him a one-game suspension.
Smart team basketball says you don’t do that when you are up 18 points with seven minutes left in a playoff game.
Then there were Smith’s comments.
The Sixth Man of the Year showed little remorse for letting his team down and when asked about Jason Terry’s Game 4 performance, responded with:
“Who?” Smith said. “I don’t even know who that is.”
But Smith kept up the childish act when asked another question by responding: “Who?” he said again. “Who is that?”
The immaturity didn’t stop there though.
Prior to Game 5, Kenyon Martin went around telling all of his teammates to wear black in preparation for Boston’s “funeral.” Martin told Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News his plans.
“We’re ending it Wednesday,” Martin said. “Wear black,” he said. “Funeral colors.’”
Naturally Smith and some other Knicks did exactly that.
However after losing Game 5, Martin didn’t even have the maturity to address his funeral plans.
Championship teams don’t act like this.
You would think that when you bring in all of the veterans that the Knicks did during the offseason that maturity wouldn’t be a problem, but it is a big one with this team.
Championship teams let their play do their talking for them.
That’s something LeBron James and the Miami Heat learned last season.
Smith didn’t let his play do the talking for him in Game 5, as he played as if he were attending his own funeral. He completely got away from everything that was working for him and turned back into the “old J.R.” who starting jacking up contested shots at will.
When you are up 3-0 in a playoff series, it makes little sense to trash talk and taunt the opposing team as it just gives them more incentive to play harder.
Sometimes when you get a group of players that have been labeled selfish in the past, it’s tough to get them to act as one.
That’s the case here.
The actions of Smith and Martin the past three games have been nothing short of embarrassing to not only themselves but the organization.
The good news is that there is still time to win a game and move onto the second round where they hopefully will clean up their act and start acting like a championship team.
One thing is clear and that’s championship teams don’t act the way these Knicks act.
Mike Woodson, Jason Kidd and the rest of the Knicks veterans need to put a stop to this before the series and their season gets away from them.
Starting with Game 6 Friday night in Boston, it’s time for the Knicks to stop talking the talk and time for them to start walking the walk.
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