If anymore proof was needed, it was given last night by the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. Not just because the Knicks lost in Game 5 of their playoff series to the Celtics, but because of their attitude prior, during and after the game.
The Knicks started by embarrassing themselves by entering Madison Square Garden prior to the game last night dressed in all black, signifying they were attending a funeral. It was supposedly started by former Denver Nugget Kelvin Martin. Martin, in typical fashion, refused to discuss the topic.
The often injured forward, who is lucky to be in the NBA anyway, has a reputation for pulling these stunts. Because of this behavior, and his legs not standing up to the grind of a full season, nobody was knocking at his door earlier this season. That is until the Knicks lost Amare Stoudemire at the beginning of the year.
J. R. Smith of the Knicks, who was returning to the court after a one game suspension, had no problems after talking about the suit controversy. At least he stood up and took his lumps.
“We was going to a funeral, but it looks like we got buried.”
Then came the league’s leading scorer Carmelo Anthony. Throughout this season Anthony has tried to prove he is in the status with LeBron and Kobe. Yet the New York forward, who has never won a playoff series, is proving he shouldn’t be mentioned with any of the mediocre players in Knick franchise history.
Anthony has a “shoot first, pass second” attitude. When the game is on the line and the stars are needed, Anthony isn’t there. The aforementioned Smith led the Knicks this year in game winning shots, not Anthony. In a game the Knicks could have and should have won on their home floor, in front of a raucous New York crowd, Anthony was just 8 of 24 from the field.
Meanwhile the Celtics, with only their nostalgic legacy and history, have suddenly made this a series. Yet they are not blameless. The teams exchanged words after the game because of comments allegedly coming from the Celtics bench about the Knick players wives. This just proves the lack of class in this league and the extent today’s players will go.
For those who hate the Celtics, it has to be accepted they can play with their backs to the wall. Paul Pierce scored 16 points but hit several important shots in the second half. Kevin Garnett had 16 points, 18 rebounds and 5 assists in a throwback performance. Knick fans must be amazed that Tyson Chandler can’t handle the 37 year old Garnett.
But the league’s problems don’t just stop with the Knicks and their “thuggish” attitude. It travels across the country to the Lakers and Dwight Howard. Howard, the self proclaimed “Superman” of the NBA, has been less than stellar. Can the Lakers pin hopes for the future in a 27 year old prima donna that doesn’t smile, can’t handle any coach’s handling and only wants paid?
Any owner that gives Howard a maximum contract will be taking on a headache. Any coach unlucky enough to gain Howard will soon be looking for another job.
Howard is not the only one with that goal in mind. Unfortunately that is the prevailing attitude. Charles Barkley stated, and it is widely believed, Atlanta’s Josh Smith is thinking about his contract next year and not the playoff series with Indiana. Then there is Derrick Rose.
Rose has been out all year with an ACL injury. It was reported on March 9 that Rose had been medically cleared to play. Yet he lingers on the bench while Bulls center Joakim Noah is playing 36 minutes a game with plantar fasciitis. Kirk Hinrich is struggling through a bruised calf and can barely walk. Yet Rose won’t come back until he can dunk.
Golden State coach Mark Jackson, at one time one of the cheap shot hombres in the NBA, complained to the media about the fouls being committed on his star Steph Curry.
“The screen on Curry by the foul line is a shot at his ankle, clearly,” he said. “That can’t be debated. I’ve got inside information that some people don’t like that brand of basketball and they clearly didn’t co-sign it, so they wanted to let me know they had no parts in what was taking place.”
Anyone who saw the fouls know they were minor violations. Worse have occurred on drives to the basket. For Jackson to complain about these is just a ploy to get the officials in the next game to call more fouls.
Yet the league office isn’t exempt. David Stern is one of the biggest hypocrites the NBA has. To fine the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 in November for not playing Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli against the Miami Heat on the final game of 4 in 5 nights might have been understood. Yet when Miami sat James and Wade in the return matchup in Texas, Stern did nothing.
The NBA is a joke and has a problem. A problem that stems from the top, to the bottom. Teams are hemorrhaging money and bankruptcies will be coming within 5 years. Is that what it will take for the league to make improvements?
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. It airs at 9pm every Monday night. He also hosts the BBA Baseball Talk show every Thursday night at 9pm. If you have a comment on this or anything else,email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @ohbbcohost or @ultsportstalk.