Game Notes: Knicks v. Cavs

Forget quarter-by-quarter today. I hate to bore people, and it’s late as it is. So we’re gonna do this quick.

Wow, do the Cavs look awful. When their defense is malfunctioning—as it did last night, allowing the Knicks to shoot 56 percent from the floor—they bear no resemblance to the team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals last year. You’d think LeBron James was going to be available in the draft again (and while I’m sure the Cavs would love to get their hands on Derrick Rose or one of the other fabulous froshes, I’m equally sure they’d rather not miss the playoffs in order to be able to). In fact, with the exception of LeBron, the only thing fantastic about the Cavs was Drew Gooden’s beard.

Right before tip-off, Damon Jones stands in the paint in order to participate in a complicated dance/handshake ritual with each starter. HBO Real Sports should dedicate an entire segment to it.

You have NO IDEA how quick and strong LeBron James is unless you’ve seen him play in person. I mean, NO IDEA. All caps, bold, whatever. It’s hard to describe, because I’ve never seen anything quite like it. And it’s not like I don’t remember Magic and Michael. Kobe Bryant may be the closest to Michael anyone’s ever seen, but LeBron, when all is said and done, has a chance to be the best ever. He’s every bit that good.

It’s hard to take notes when two starters on the same team have the same initials (Drew Gooden and Daniel Gibson). Thank God for nicknames.

The Knicks are on fire from three early on, and Q does more of those headband bonks in the first quarter than he’s done all year. I love that he still won’t explain what it means.

Zach Randolph is falling in love with his long-range shot, and someone should probably put a stop to it. Not that he’s a bad three-point shooter, but if he misses, who’s going to rebound?

Anderson Varejao looks like he spent his entire holdout on a beach drinking Mai Tais. His hair is bleached blonde, he’s got a tan, and his physique is, like the Knicks rotation, undefined.

Hey Isiah, ESTABLISH A ROTATION. I still can’t believe that Nate Robinson didn’t play a single minute against the Pacers—that alone should have been reason for dismissal.

Larry Hughes has fallen off so hard his new nickname should be “Basejumper.” Or at least “Trip.”

David Lee should be getting a minimum of 30 minutes a night. Ideally he’d be starting next to Zach Randolph, but I guess Eddy Curry’s psyche (and Isiah’s pride) is too fragile for that. Which is a damn shame. Nate should be playing 25-30 minutes a night, too.

Stephon Marbury is in the building and active, but doesn’t play a single minute. Not to say that has anything to do with the result or anything.

The fact that this game didn’t sell out is pathetic.

Nate Robinson gets the play of the game nod with a two-handed dunk off a lazy Sasha Pavlovic backcourt pass back to the inbounder. The game should have just ended right there—instead it has to limp along for another 10 minutes. Nate follows that play up a few minutes later with a heads-up full-court sprint for a layup while the Cavs are still arguing the previous call. None of these guys have any heart, though.

Two things to consider: A FIRE ISIAH chant starts up with two minutes to go and the team up 18, and the team on the floor gets a standing ovation as the clock runs out. It’s not the team they have a problem with. Effort will always be appreciated at the Garden.

Final score, 108-90, Knicks.

Just as one blowout loss isn’t cause for firing, one blowout win isn’t cause for celebration. And despite the result, Isiah Thomas still needs to go—at least from the bench, if not entirely. The poison in the Garden air is still too thick, players roles still too undefined, loyalty still blinding Isiah’s eyes to who should be playing and who shouldn’t. His need to justify his moves as a GM are what’s killed him as a coach. In a sense, he’s getting exactly what he deserves.

As for the Cavs, I have no idea. Mike Brown is supposed to be such the defensive coach, yet his team gives up an easy 100 points to the Knicks (who laid off after scoring 63 points in the first half alone). Major changes will have to be made if they expect to even come close to duplicating the success of last season (as of right now, they’re on pace to win all of 35 games). Then again, they do have LeBron. So anything can happen.