Tuesday, March 20, 2007

3/20 - Back for the home stretch

Well I'm here. I was on Spring Break last week and I worked a lot, which caused me to be away from my apartment and computer. I apologize to those who have come to support the site, and now I'm back.

With that said, what's been going on with the Knicks?

This team has continued their up and down ways, losing to the Raptors and the Hornets (pathetic), only to come back and beat the Raptors by 20 on Sunday afternoon. Now the best team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks, come into the Garden looking to avenge their humiliating loss to the Knicks last season. New York has improved since then, but so have the Mavs. So let's look ahead to the game that could turn out to be a real smackdown, with hopes that the Knicks have another miracle in store.

No D-Lee and no Q-Rich still. Q's back problems have become a real pain in the rear for Knicks fans lately. Not only have other teams figured out he can no longer post up like he used to, but his own team isn't even sure when he'll be able to play. On another note, I am really starting to miss David Lee. If it wasn't for Stephon Marbury stepping it up and putting this team on his back, the Knicks would be dead in the water without Lee's energy.

Steve Francis was starting to grow on me a bit, but then I remembered how much I despise him. Despite contributing some nice assists, Francis still makes decisions with the ball that make Jamal Crawford look like Steve Nash. Passing into traffic, jacking up bad jumpers, and whining on the court are just a few of the things I will not miss from Stevie after he is bought out in the offseason. Here's to hoping he can continue to at least do minimal things to help this team down the stretch.

My main man Balkman is coming off a sick 15 and 12 against Toronto, and his confidence continues to rise. I still remember draft day when every analyst called Isiah an idiot for drafting him. I bet every GM out there wishes they would have gave him a look. Balkman will be key tonight on the defensive end, hopefully shutting Josh Howard down. Big task for the rookie...

Speaking of defense, Jared Jeffries needs to have the game of his life tonight, most likely guarding Dirk Nowitzki. Jeffries has shown some nice snapshots of play on the defensive end, but he'll need to dig as deep as he can to at least hold Dirk under 20.

I'm not stressed out about tonight's game. I have forced myself to look at it like a loss, that way a win would be the most exciting thing ever, if that makes any sense. With that in mind, this is one game where I really miss Jamal Crawford. It's the type of showdown where you expect him to take bad shots, maybe go 6-18 from the field, only to hit the game winning jumper as the 4th quarter expires. Maybe Marbury can have this superstar type of game tonight.

The Knicks are only a half game out of the 8 spot, with positions 7-10 currently all separated by a half game or less. The upcoming six games are ugly:

Tonight vs. Dallas
Thursday vs. Portland
Friday @ Cleveland
Monday 26th vs. Orlando
Wednesday 28th vs. Cleveland
Friday 30th @ Dallas

With the exception of Portland, those are all quality teams. The Knicks are going to need to prove their talent in this stretch, or else they could easily go 1-5 in the next six. You have to figure they need to go .500 for the rest of the season to at least have a shot, so this could be the beginning of the end for this team. I sure hope not.

Have fun watching tonight, and I'll leave you with this unselfish quote from Renaldo Balkman, courtesy ESPN.com,

"I get the guys going and that's what I want to do," Balkman said. "I might go out there and get one rebound or I might not even score a basket."

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