No Chips Off The Block in New York

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: March 26, 2009

NEW YORK — Willis Reed was there, Patrick Ewing was there, Walt “Clyde” Frazier was there and so was the awesome and hopefully soon to be elected to the Hall of Fame, Bernard King was there.

But, it didn’t matter too much as the Knicks continued their shaky ways en route to another fourth quarter collapse in losing to the Orlando Magic 106-102.

The crowd was all abuzz especially after halftime when commemorative rings were given out. One would’ve thought the Knicks would suck one up and win one for the older gippers.

Larry Johnson and John Starks were also there to support Ewing. There seems to be a haze over the Knicks when it comes to defense that not even the glorified magic of Knick Past could be poof out.

They also tend to rely on the 3-ball an awful lot. The 3-ball is pretty when the ball goes in but backside ugly when they don’t which also tends to lead to long jump shots going the other way.

This squad would make a nun cuss in two languages.

One thing is for certain no matter how nice the Legends spoke fondly of the current regimen, there’s no way they would’ve played the game like this.

The Knicks could be up on opponents by 15 to 20 points in one quarter only to be in a nail biter the next — and this is against bad teams ala the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves just to name a few.

Playing against contending teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, you almost get the sense that the home town crowd is in attendance just to see the opposing team’s stars and to root the Knicks on if they showed heart.

The style that Coach Mike D’Antoni wants to force feed isn’t indicative to his personnel. But, not just the personnel of the players on the floor but, the entire city; run and stun isn’t what New York is all about.

Try to imagine Frazier or Willis playing in this system. Try to imagine Ewing clogging up the middle or Bernard trying to post his automatic 15-footer on the low blocks then having to try and sprint the entire game the way D’Antoni wants his bigs to do. It wouldn’t work. The New York fan relishes chants of “de-fense”, “de-fense” not “offense”.

The way the Knicks prided themselves on the defensive end back in the day was a sight to behold. The fourth quarters were lockdown time not fall apart time.

When the defensive chant is sung it’s a faint chant as opposed to the reverberating chorus that would result in a turnover or blocked shot back in the day. But, that’s when the Garden rocked for real.

Right now, they’re a long ways away.

GAME NOTES: Speaking of the Clippers, they were in town recently along with a few former Knicks, Fred Jones, Mardy Collins and of course Zach Randolph who torched his former team for 33 points as en route to a 140-135 overtime win…….Knicks forward Al Harrington was again whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim after dunk. Both transgressions happened in the fourth quarter at critical parts of the game to which the Knicks ended up losing….The Garden of Eden continues to bring forth abundant opponent fruit. NBA D-League draftee rookie Mike Taylor erupted for a career high 35 points. His previous career high was 13 points. Only in the Garden of Eden in New York!