The D.A.Y. of reflecting on the MSG brawlers

by December 18, 2006
2

By Sam Rubenstein

I’m really not that upset about the Giants game. I should be, seeing as how the run defense was pathetic and the red zone offense was horrifyingly bad. There were fumbles too, including one from Brandon Jacobs, my favorite athlete of the moment. I smelled that Eli back-breaking interception coming from 10 miles away. I know the man and I know how he operates. So predictable. In a day and age where people overreact to every little thing in sports, I would like to say the following: Eli Manning has wasted many hours of my life and I would like to sacrifice him to the Gods, Apocolypto style. Even though this game wasn’t all his fault, and the Eagles came to Giants stadium and played well. Jeff Garcia. That was yet another bad loss, though in today’s NFC the Giants still have a great shot at the wild card, and there is no great team in the conference, so winning on the road in the playoffs won’t be impossible. Let’s move on from this game. I have to deal with Khalid, not only at work, but at our office holiday party later on.

It’s hard to get past what happened at MSG on Saturday night. It’s such a strange situation because Isiah is talking about showing pride in front of their home fans and not allowing J.R. Smith to attempt another showtime dunk. Come on, the Knicks have no pride. The home fans are masochists. Sometimes mocking Isiah gets to be too much because everybody does it, but this brawl started out as his fault. George Karl wouldn’t have had to stoop so low as to leave his starters in if Isiah wasn’t so deserving of being shown up. How low is Isiah going to sink? It’s not even a trainwreck or car crash anymore. It’s like a space station fell out of orbit and landed on the White House. They even caught coach smiley face on tape blatantly warning Carmelo “Don’t go to the basket.” I hope Isiah gets suspended for this. Mardy Collins? Learned the goon squad playbook from John Chaney I suppose. Isiah has been about fighting and taking cheap shots going back to his playing days. So Mardy gets to cultivate a rep as a dirty player, J.R. Smith might have overreacted, though I don’t blame him, and Little Nate amped up the excitement factor as always.

Ah Nate… He’s completely crazy. The smallest guy on the floor, and unlike Earl Boykins or Mugsy, who earned their respect through their play as basketball players with a will to win, Nate is taking his respect through violence. There are a hundred big men in the NBA that can really hurt him if they want to. He spent last year with Larry Brown trying to squash his exuberance, and now he’s got Isiah the enabler who is encouraging him to be confrontational. There’s got to be a happy medium. I wonder how long Nate Robinson is going to be in the NBA.

Then there’s Carmelo. I’ve always been a huge Melo fan, but this really taints him in my eyes. Sure, it was one small isolated decision, and guys get fired up and fight from time to time. But you don’t punch someone in the ear and then run away, backpedaling as fast as you can. If he absolutely had to throw the punch – which he had to know was going to get him suspended and could cost his team enough games to affect their playoff standing – then he should have stayed around to deal with the repercussions of throwing that punch. Don’t hit a guy and then go running back to your bench. Don’t run away from Jared Jeffries and Nate Robinson. I like how Carmelo went to the “emotions got the best of me” excuse. What were his emotions when he was running from the scene of the crime? That was a sad display from a very likeable player.

The fight was definitely entertaining, and people that get all up in arms about the savage behavior of the players and the tragic state of the game and all of that need to relax. This happens in baseball and football and it’s just treated as boys will be boys. Fouling a guy when he’s about to go up for a layup or dunk is just like throwing a fastball at someone’s head or launching your body into an unprotected receiver going over the middle. It’s dangerous and the player that is victimized by the foul has every right to get angry and feel like fighting. It has nothing to do with the culture of a league or the violence of society. No fans were hurt, even though Nate and J.R. spilled into the first row.

Isiah has been asking for the Knicks to show some fight since the day he was hired as GM. I really hope this wasn’t what he’s been talking about. When the Pacers and Pistons had their fight, it was two defensive minded tough teams. The Knicks are not that type of team. They really need to save that fighting energy for playing defense. In case anyone cares about the basketball side of the Knicks, they have given up 60+ points in the first half of each of their last three games.

The people that should be most embarrased by the brawl are Knicks fans like myself. This is not a symptom of a reckless league or anything larger than one pathetic team and their ridiculous coach pretending like they have competitive integrity. I wonder what James Dolan is going to say when the NBA rules that Isiah was caught on camera mouthing “Don’t go to the basket right now” before the physicality began. He’ll probably double his salary. Somewhere on the Milwaukee’s Best yacht, Latrell Sprewell is laughing. Forget about Isiah the team destroying GM and overmatched coach for a second. He might be guilty of sexually harrassing a team administrator and conspiracy to create an NBA brawl, in the past 12 months or so. What more can he do? Really.

O.K. back to some normal NBA action.

WASHINGTON 147 LA LAKERS 141 OT
Well, I wouldn’t call this normal. Gilbert Arenas and Kobe had themselves a nice little shootout. Gil has been struggling on the road all year, but I guess being back in Cali, where he grew up worked out for him. 60 points, daaaaaaamn. 5 of 12 from three, 21 of 27 free throws. 8 rebounds and 8 assists to go along with that. Kobe had a lowly 45 hitting 7 of 11 threes, adding 10 assists and 8 boards. The Lakers were dead in the proverbial water at the end of regulation, but Kob picked up 3 the old fashioned way, Brian Cook hit a monster three, and Gilbert missed at the buzzer. Good thing he did, cause he had many more points to score. Can you say HIBACHI?!? Gilbert hit everything he threw up and Kobe wasn’t far behind. Gotta love those combined 288 points scores. Other big numbers in this game: Vlad Rad had 27 hitting 5 of 9 threes, Luke Walton went for 15, 11 assists and 8 boards, Caron Butler scored 27, and Antawn Jamison had the most overlooked 25 and 13 with 5 of 8 threes you’ve ever seen. The two teams combined to hit 31 of 66 threes. Sunday night Lakers games – that’s where the scoring is. I undestand that Gilbert had the finest game of his career, but please Wizards do not make that an excuse to wear those “special” uniforms any more. I swear they are a different color in photos than they are in TV. They are a prism that sucks in light and shines it back in your eyeball like your’e looking directly at the sun.

TORONTO 120 GOLDEN STATE 115
Oooooh… 120-115. High scoring. You guys picked the wrong day. We had someone at this game, possibly with a game report on the way. TJ Ford led the Raptors with 21 and 14 with only one turnover, and Monta Ellis scored 28 on 10 of 14 shooting (with 7 turnovers) for Golden State. Bargnani with 18 and 10. Jose Calderon had to be taken off the court on a stretcher after injuring his back. Very scary moment. Hang in there Jose! The Raptors won their third straight without Bosh.

HOUSTON 108 LA CLIPPERS 103
Yao Ming put up 32 and 10, numbers that he gets all the time these days. He made a shot late to hold of a Clipper run, blocked a Corey Maggette shot, and they had a Mac-free win. Rafer continued to step up in Tracy’s absence with 26 and 8. 21, 9 boards, and 6 assists for Shaun Livingston, and Kaman continued his healing process with 20 and 11. Tim Thomas left the game with an injury. Twice. Fugazi.

UTAH 104 INDIANA 94
The Jazz built up a 21 point lead, let the Pacers cut it down to 4, and then closed them out. Utah Jazz, cold blooded executioners, and they play defense too. Jermaine O’Neal had 31 and 9, and he came away impressed by the Jazz. “They really showed why they’re the best team in the NBA, because no matter what happens, they don’t show very many emotions. They just come out with their hard hat and just play basketball, no matter what.” Yup. 18 and 11 for Boozer, 6 blocks for Andrei, 17 and 7 for Memo. Balance.

DETROIT 97 SEATTLE 93

Rasheed missed the game with sore ankles, so Jason Maxiell stepped up with 17 and 12 off the bench. He even was given a chance to hit the winning shot, and promptly delivered. Clearly the Pistons were just toying with the Sonics, and if Jason missed that shot, they would have just won in OT. The mushy soft Sonics gave up 26 offensive boards to the Pistons, with Maxiell and DALE DAVIS grabbing 8 a piece. Rashard Lewis had 25 and 11 in the loss.