Garden Starting To See The Roses Bloom

By Jerald L. Hoover
Updated: December 26, 2006

NEW YORK — In the days after the Melee in Midtown, the notorious brawl between the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets which has seen both teams being fined a half million dollars a piece (the assigned charities will be happy about the monies being doled out to them) and seven players being suspended for various amounts of games the Knicks seemed to have achieved a new life.

The Knicks who have a better road record have seen their home, the beloved World’s Most Famous Arena become the Garden of Eden for visitors.

The Garden has seen teams with losing streaks (such as the Chicago Bulls for one who was riding an eight game losing streak) come there and get well quickly with a win.

The Knicks didn’t play with any “wit nor grit” as legendary Knicks guard, Walt “Clyde” Frazier would say and former All-star Stephon Marbury was playing as if he’s Scar-bury and not Star-bury. T

he towel draped over his head in the closing seconds of games while he sat the bench usually told the story loud and clear.

But, it’s amazing to see the result of what a few punches thrown and landed and a few technical fouls called and a few ejections (coaches try this ploy on occasion to fire their sluggish teams up) would do to change the complexion of a team.

Denver coach George Karl can talk and squawk all he wants about why it was a good idea for him to leave his starters in a game that has long since being decided (up 20 with about one minute remaining), especially when you take into affect that his center Marcus Camby is as tough in keeping from injury as tissue is to holding itself together after water has been poured on it.

And not to mention the fact that his star player Carmelo “Cassius Clay” Anthony could’ve risked a freak injury that could’ve been season ending if not career ending.

But since the fracas, the Knicks pulled themselves together like a band of thieves. Starting guard (in place of the injured Quentin Richardson) Jamal Crawford said, “You hate that something like this (the fight) happened, but it did bring us all together as a team”.

“We know that we’re short handed for a while so we have to be there for each other.”

The Knicks this week with dramatic buzzer beating wins over the formidable Utah Jazz and the Charlotte Bobcats (who always play the Knicks tough) have turned the Garden crowds jeers into heartfelt cheers.

The Knicks have shown toughness when down and in the win over their nemesis the Chicago Bulls they flat out outplayed the Bulls in the second half by expanding and maintaining their lead.

One thing is for certain head coach Isiah Thomas has this Knicks team playing hard for him. They believe in him and in his philosophy and it shows as everyone at least on the surface has brought into their roles.

And if starting center Eddy Curry stays healthy and if the Knicks can continue to when a few games there’s no reason why he cannot be an All-Star this season.