I think it’s safe to say that when Jared Jeffries is your frontcourt savior, you have a serious problem. That’s akin to saying you really need a serious actor to fill out your new film and then recruiting Matt LeBlanc (sorry, Showtime).
In any case, if last night’s – as Charlie Sheen would put it – pukefest, didn’t expose our frontcourt weakness, I don’t know what will. Outrebounded by a solid twenty (and that’s with Amar’e getting double-digit boards) and dominated by an undersized, overachieving JJ Hickson, the Knicks were saddled with their second straight loss in Lebron-less Cleveland. Imagine if the immortal (immobile) Baron Davis had been in uniform (wait, what?)!
As per usual, the offense flowed just fine, Amar’e had a monster night, Melo’ dropped 27 with a paltry shooting percentage, Chauncey proved that he’s still the single-most savvy point guard in the NBA, drawing phantom fouls left and right and dropping 20 in the fourth alone, and yet we literally couldn’t have kept a highly-intoxicated Mini Me off the glass. To make matters worse, Melo’ tweaked what he called a “familiar” injury (uhm, nobody mentioned a bum elbow during the trade process), reinjuring his right elbow, and from that point on he was as cold Charlie Sheen’s career (Charlie Sheen getting serious burn right now by the way). Add to the fact that “Phoney Douglass” (he’s not a PG or a SG, so he’s “Phoney Douglass,” capiche?) gave us nothing last night, which is glaring weakness number two, the fact that we have no depth, and the result is the worst loss of the season.
With all that in mind, it definitely looked like the effort was there. I didn’t see anybody take plays off, but the rotations were a mess and when Amar’e’s at the 5 and Shawne Williams is at the 4, Anthony Mason-level effort still won’t do the trick. Not to alleviate the team from it’s responsibilities, but the fact of the matter is that, even at their maximum, we just can’t rebound with anybody right now (is it possible that D’Antoni is just so repulsed by Shelden Williams’ “face” that he can’t even look at him long enough to get him in the game?). Sick as this may be, we desperately need Earl Barron and Jared Jeffries.
Here’s a totally titillating tangent: I’m getting really tired of Ronny Turiaf, who was my favorite Knick until about six weeks ago. Every time the dude makes any level of physical contact with anyone or anything, including the ball, he reacts so dramatically you’d think he just found his girl in bed with Charlie Sheen, three hookers and seven eight balls (Charlie Sheen reference #3). STOP FLAILING WILDLY AND CRYING, RONNY!!!!!!!! This dude cannot stay healthy for more than a few days at a time, and yet he contorts his body so absurdly every time he has any emotion whatsoever that he actually gets hurt doing nothing even remotely related to basketball. I actually heard on the radio the other day that an average-sized man bumped into him before the Bucks game and he started screaming at the top of his lungs in agony. Love the guy, but this is getting dumb-tired.
At the end of the day, while this trade might make us better in the short term on paper, it’s all about the future. Amar’e described the team as being in “training camp mode” yesterday, so losses like this should be about as surprising as a Charlie Sheen rehab trip (aaaaaaand that would be reference #4). Nonetheless, Jabroni D’Antoni continues to show his serious shortcomings, allowing a productive defender in Corey Brewer to spend last night’s game in a suit. That said, there’s no point in reacting too strongly to anything that happens for the rest of this year because it’s not really relevant.
But still, CLEVELAND, REALLY?
-by Jamie Fedorko