When A House Is Not a Home

By Jerald L. Hoover
Updated: March 23, 2009

New York Knicks NEW YORK – Just when you thought the Knicks reached a new low especially when a couple of months ago they permitted the mundane Minnesota Timberwolves to redeem themselves and find prosperity by snapping a 13-game losing streak they find a way to do it again.

They unleashed the serpent and allowed un-royal Sacramento Kings (the dreads of the Western Conference) to bite them. The Kings slithered into the Garden sporting a rotten to the core 0-28 record on the road against Eastern Conference teams and beat the Knicks soundly 121-94.

The opponent healing has gone this way for quite awhile now for the Knicks. It’s getting to become for them a Dis-enchanted Garden of sorts. Long gone are the days of Pat Riley and Patrick and Oak and Mace and the gang when in the fourth quarter you had to go thru hell and hot water to get anywhere near the basket.

These Knicks guard the paint as is the offensive player was carrying a hand grenade. How this team could tolerate the Kings to score 121 on their home floor is baffling at best. Sure they were without two of their rotation players in Al Harrington and Danillo Galinari who returned to his native Italy to get a second opinion on his ailing back, but they weren’t the most defensive minded players in the bunch either.

Coach Mike D’Antoni’s job isn’t in trouble by a long shot but one has to almost wonder if a guy like Mark Jackson if given the proper equipment and input wouldn’t have done a better job, especially on the defensive end.

One this is for certain he would’ve brought back a lot of the older guys that prided themselves in defense and rebounding and being in proper shape and having mental toughness to endure prosperous times as well as challenging times. This way the Garden wouldn’t have been a place where losing and slumping teams could come and find themselves.

One couldn’t say that Kobe or LeBron wouldn’t have come to the Garden and done their thing, but 61 and 52 points respectively and in back to back games? In the Pat and Pat days that wouldn’t have happened without someone being laid out first.

If those points were scored it would’ve been done in two or three overtimes at best. And they wouldn’t have come so easily. The Knicks were playing defense as if they were allergic to it.

Sure Michael Jordan in his heyday visited the Garden and planted his own flowers but, he didn’t do it without getting good and dirty. His forays to the basket were met with bumps and checks so that he felt it in the fourth quarter.

Other than Reggie Miller who was a supreme shooter and Shaq who’d been a load to guard in any era, not a lot of superstars were having career days in the Garden. Especially big men who had to deal with Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason because by the time the fourth quarter rolled around they were so beat up, bruised and fatigued those shots weren’t going in with the same consistency as in the prior three quarters.

It was a science that Oak and Mace used to perfection. And had it not been for Jordan and the same can be said for a few times in that era, the Knicks and Ewing would’ve won a Championship or two.

One thing that these Knicks need to be weary of is that with all of the money they’re trying to save under the cap for 2010 that they don’t deplete their talent pool so much that a free agent wouldn’t be attracted to them.

Money is money in the NBA but, the real superstars hate losing. The Knicks need now to adopt that same of mentality or it will turn into chants of “Fi-yah Don-nie” and or “Fire Mi-key!”