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“Carmelo Anthony and the ‘Inferiors’…Limp away from the Playoffs”

584-celtics-knicks Throughout the season the New York Knicks were able to overcome their shortcomings, especially on defense, hence making the playoffs, the team’s first appearance since 2004. But that changed dramatically during the final acts of Boston vs. New York. Though much has been made of their lack of defense, and how offensive it has become under Head Coach “No ‘D’ Antoni”, the take home from yesterday’s curtain closing of a season is that the Knicks couldn’t make up for the loss of two of their big three to combat the big four of Boston.  

In the past 72 hours the Knicks resembled a four man “Rucker Park” pick up team—led by a lone NBA superstar, much like “Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass”, or  “The Commodores and Lionel Richie.”  Seriously…what became of the “Commodores” when Lionel Richie left? In the end the Knicks injuries diminished them to “Carmelo Anthony and the Inferiors”, a great lead supported by marginal NBA talent, which was not enough to defeat the "Beast of the East".

The Celtics boast arguably the best starting unit of any team in the playoffs. With the re-awakening of Ragon Rondo on offense, Boston turns back into a logistical nightmare for any coach plotting defensive strategy. And while the entire NBA is mindful of this fact, the Knicks Head Coach “Mike no ‘D’ Antoni” continues to reference defensive tactics found at, as opposed to spending any time in practice perfecting a 1-2-2 zone. Let’s be clear, the Knicks didn’t lose the final two games solely on the defensive side of the ledger, it was the offensive side that let them down.

While the Celtics did step up their defensive intensity the final two games, the Knicks outside of Carmelo offered nothing---not a damn thing offensively to legitimately compete. Perhaps you can point to injuries--Amare was never himself, we know about Billups and his wheels (buyer beware on that 14M option) yet, the biggest disappearing act was Landry Fields. Our neophyte played with no confidence. He was indecisive throughout the series, often deferring open shots to teammates, thus rendering the Knicks to playing 4 on 5 against a good defensive team. Not a good series for Fields--not a great final two months for the promising rookie.

Besides the “Mamby Pamby Land” ineptness of Fields, Billy Walker didn’t do much to distinguish himself.  If he makes any type of contribution in game two, the Knicks will be preparing for Tuesday night.  Turiaf, Jefferies, Anthony Carter (who tried to put the team on his back last night) are what we call NBA “Bottom Feeders”, and if you get anything collectively from this offensively challenged lot, such as a free throw…. a trey...or even a flop…it’s like gravy on top of rice. Yet on the flip side, if entering a game relying on points from these role players, your offense will struggle….exponentially---no matter how great the front man.

I never expected the Knicks to beat this great quartet of the Celtics…just that they had a puncher’s chance. Unfortunately, they were unable to follow up on their knock downs in Boston. Thus intensifying the burden for the lead singer--Melo.  All good champions like the Celtics know how to close out a fights with “forget me not’s” to the body. Conversely, when the Knicks had the Celtics staggering they followed up with “love taps" to the head.  It’s not enough…it’s never enough to defeat a champion.

The Knicks now limp away into next season, with some decisions to make. I'm certain that Chauncy Billups and Coach "No 'D' Antoni" will be at the top of the list. I only hope the excecutive Brain-Trust evaluate this season from the perspective that they finished only a few games above .500---meaning that the team is still miles away from competing for a title.  "Fools Gold" will do that to you.




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