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Knicks Brace For Stretch Run
Knicks Brace for Stretch Run
By Jerald L. Hoover
Team needs to play with more consistency to be taken serious
NEW YORK – The nitty-gritty of the NBA season is now upon us; with teams starting to jockey for Playoff seeding and positioning. Some teams however are fighting for their Playoff lives. One team in particular is the Los Angeles Lakers, led by of course Kobe Bryant, but coached by former Knicks head man, Mike D’Antoni. At present they are 2 games behind the 8th seeded Utah Jazz. That’s not like the Lakers but this could be the dawning of a new NBA.
The New York Knicks however do have a new team of sorts. But, it is also a new team with a few or several old players that are assembled. For head coach Mike Woodson’s thinking and taste, he feels that young teams don’t win championships in the NBA. Well Bill Walton’s 1977 Portland Trailblazers team wasn’t what you would call ancient in terms of age and NBA tenure, however, that was almost 40 years ago (36 to be exact) since a younger team has won an NBA Championship.
Older teams seem to bring a bit more sizzle to the proceedings. Sure the young and high flyers can get the Sports Center dunks and oooh’s and awww’s, but it’s the bread and butter and deep and methodical thinking teams that seem to be able to win and win on a high level. Take a good look at the most boring team in the NBA these days; the San Antonio Spurs. They’re a smart team that just wins and wins and wins. Sure, Greg Popovich and his front office crew bring in young legs for certain positions but it’s the grey-beards that are leading them. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson are a few that are well into their 30’s.
It’s funny how life is: in the NBA 35 could be considered old, but that is the minimum age for someone to run for President of the United States. John F. Kennedy was 43 when he was inaugurated in 1961. And that would be considered rather on the young side. The oldest president at the end of his term in 1988 was Ronald Reagan and he was nearly 77 years old. Which brings us to the Knicks; they are the oldest team in the League.
The Knicks on their 15 man roster have 7 players over 30 and 6 of them are 35 and over. Yes, those 6 can run for president of the United States. But, seemingly that no one would take any of them serious at this point in time; basketball is best what they should stick with.
The Knicks have to play with more passion and purpose. Against the better teams, they’ve been known to be fired up and ready to play. Against some of the poorer teams record-wise a la the Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers or Cleveland Cavaliers they’ve been known to either struggle with the game or lose it outright. Championship teams don’t do that. Sure each and every one of the 30 teams in the NBA is laden with pro players that get paid lots of money because they do what they do better than mere mortals. But, as teams, some teams are just better equipped than others.
Basically in the end, if the Knicks are going to go far this season as Coach Woodson and all-star Carmelo Anthony believes, the time is now to buckle down and beat the teams you’re supposed to beat. And that applies whether they’re playing at home or on the road.
Jerald L. Hoover