By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
A Giant Lesson??
NEW YORK — The New York Knickerbockers and Madison Square Garden have been parading the recent Super Bowl champion New York Giants around as if they were runway models in swim suits.
Who can blame them with the Giants pulling off one of the greatest ever Super Bowl upsets with a 17-14 win over the then 18-0 New England Patriots.
But what they’re bordering on is false shock treatment. Whenever a Giant or group of Giants such as R.W. McQuarters who has become a regular, even before the Super Bowl; Plaxico Burress and most recently the big bruiser Justin Tuck.
The Knicks would strategically introduce them to the crowd at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the Garden would erupt into bedlam. For all of three to five minutes, the crowd would give a standing ovation.
Sometimes the Giants would walk out to half court and take a bow or show off Playoff Championship jackets and or hats. The frenzy is nice if it had ever led to a Knicks win.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t; and that is the part that the Knicks need to learn from. The Giants won over their fans and the admiration of their opponents with hard fought defense.
The front four of the Giants (Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jay Alford) who delivered a punishing hit late in the game to Tom Brady, caused havoc to the bewildered offensive line of the Patriots.
Simply put, the Giants played hard nosed defense from the start of the game to the finish. And they played with smarts by following a well constructed game plan that they stuck with and not changed when things got rough.
Head coach and president Isiah Thomas needs to get away from his vision of having superior athletes on the floor. That philosophy isn’t working out one bit; especially if the athlete’s basketball IQ isn’t where it should be.
Those types of high energy and high jumping players are good for igniting sparks for the most part, but when it comes to the little subtleties of the game they’re no where to be found.
Or they are found to be in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things. Take the case of the last Knicks home loss to the San Antonio Spurs for instance.
The Knicks were up by three points with 8.5 seconds to play. Spur Manu Ginobili had the ball close to the three-point line then he broke and drove towards the basket.
The Knicks as a team could have conceivably either fouled him and allowed him to try to make two from the line or just simply opened the lane and allowed him to score and still be up by one.
Instead, Renaldo Balkman who was told to cover Spur Michael Finley who is a deadly three point shooter left him to collapse on Ginobili. When he did that, Tim Duncan who isn’t the greatest of athletes but is a fundamentally sound as you would find, noticed, he shielded Balkman (more like held him by the jersey) so that he couldn’t get back to cover Finley.
Ginobili noticed instantly and drove around Knicks Fred Jones and Zach Randolph and got Finley the ball with about 0.4 seconds remaining and like magic, he shoots a three and scores and sends the game into overtime to which the Knicks ended up losing 99-93.
That’s just one example how this team seems to melt down at the most critical of moments. Aside from all of the other nonsense that has surrounded this year’s version of a team, the Knicks are being hit with an injury bug.
Former All-Star and team captain Stephon Marbury is said to be out for the remainder of the season due to complicating ankle surgery to remove bone spurs. Funny how a bone spur takes out the Knicks captain and supposed best player while a San Antonio Spur takes out the entire team.
A team shakeup of epic proportion needs to be done but which players do you send and what do you want in return? For one thing Thomas, if he’s still around to collect on his 4-year guaranteed 24 million extension he signed just last year, will have to decide what type of team that he wants that makes sense.
And it should make sense not only to him but to the players on the team, the viewers and the paying fans that spend much money only to not get the value with what they spend.