As part of the post-mortem for this streaky, unhinged, rollercoaster season, several outlets have ranked their favorite victories of the year (check out Seth’s at Posting and Toasting here, and Will Leitch’s at New York Magazine here). Anyone who has read this site regularly (all four of you…hi, Mom!) knows that I’m the resident pessimist. If someone wants to sign a player, I’m the guy who runs to Larry Coon’s site to tell you 12 reasons why that can’t happen. If someone goes wild on the trade machine (like Sean’s fantastic work here) I’m the one who acts as if he has any idea how GMs think (I don’t, for the record) and presents the case for why that deal can never happen. As you can imagine, it’s a blast to watch games with me (explains why I watch alone and blog, I suppose). With that in mind, I figured I’d take a page from the professionals’ book (Seth and Will), and recap the Knicks worst losses of the year. It’s a trip down memory lane, if that lane were infested by poisonous snakes and the memories are an endless loop of that Very Special Episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Will takes a bullet for Carlton (I’m aware that I’ve made two Fresh Prince references in as many days…that show was formative). Here we go….
3/11 vs. Philadelphia (106-94): A game against an Atlantic Division rival that the Knicks needed to win stop the post-Linsanity free fall. Notable for being the first time that staunch D’Antoni Defender AC started to doubt the coach’s efficacy. Although he would coach the team for one more game against the Bulls, this was the death knell. It was clear the team had quit on him.
2/17 vs. New Orleans (89-85): Having racked up seven straight wins during Linsanity, the Knicks needed to win this home game against the depleted roster of a depressing team to go over .500 for the first time in a month. Of course, they shat the bed and got torn up by Gustavo Ayon, Trevor Ariza and General Greivis. Good times.
3/4 @ Boston (115-111 – OT): The Knicks were fluttering post-Linsanity, alternating wins and losses, and still hadn’t see the good side of .500 since January. A win would have put the Knicks at 19-18 and pushed them ahead of the Celtics’ stupid assfaces in the standings. This loss was a swift kick in the nuts that was capped off by an off-balance three-pointer from turtle-look-alike and Knicks Killer Paul Pierce that sent the game to overtime. Needless to say, the Celtics would dominate overtime and this loss sent the ‘Bockers into a tailspin that wouldn’t end until they had lost five more games in a row and changed coaches.
1/20 vs. Milwaukee (100-86): Jeremy Lin was just a glint in our eye, dropping a triple double for the Erie Bayhawks that evening. Meanwhile, the Knicks dropped their fifth game in a row, as Brandon Jennings took extreme delight in torturing the Knicks for passing on him for Jordan Hill (note to Mr. Jennings: 9 other teams passed on you too, including the Raptors. Can you pick on them for a little while?). This led to a game recap that was mostly just me having an embolism.
4/3 @ Indiana (112-104): The day after his induction to the Hall of Fame, Reggie Miller’s specter loomed large. The Knicks led by 15 to start the 4th quarter and not-so-gradually loosened their grip on that lead. Apparently, nobody told them that Danny Granger is good at basketball and that Lou Amundson should be boxed out. In retrospect, this was an extra terrible loss because it eventually led to a first-round pairing with the Miami Heat, who are a match up nightmare for the Knicks. A win would have had them cruising into a playoff opponent they were confident they could beat (even if that looks less likely right now), as a win that night would have completed the season series sweep against our ancient Midwestern rivals.
1/4 vs. Charlotte (118-110): At the time, we knew this was a bad loss to a team the Knicks should have beaten at home. What we didn’t know was precisely how bad the loss was. The Bobcats were just casting off on the worst season in NBA history, and would win only 5 more times the rest of the season (only 2 more times on the road). A creepily prescient Bakeshow noted that “these are the games that make a difference in playoff seeding” in his “Re-Crap.” That’s true, but this was probably our first clue that the best the Knicks could hope for this season was to become first round fodder. Championship-caliber teams don’t lose at home to the Bobcats. This game was a downer.
BONUS – 4/26 @ Charlotte (104-84) – The Win that was a Loss. With the Sixers and Celtics 2-2 in their 2nd round series and the Knicks sitting home, it’s hard to argue that the Knicks shouldn’t have thrown this one to ensure a favorable match up with the Bulls (I know, I know. It’s unlikely Rose blows his ACL against the Knicks, just humor me, please? Thank you). However, this one might have been un-throwable. Even without Melo, Chandler, and Baron Davis, and with Jerome Jordan, Jorts, and Mike Bibby called into action, the Knicks still dominated. I’m pretty sure what Michael Jordan and the Bobcats’ front office has done to that roster qualifies as a war crime.
5/3 Game 3 vs. Miami (87-70): Although the Heat eased up and allowed the gentleman’s sweep, the season was over after this loss put the Knicks in an insurmountable 3-0 hole. Coming into the game, we could talk ourselves into the old wives’ tale that “the series doesn’t start until someone wins on the road.” Coming out of the game, it was abundantly clear that the Heat had too much for the Knicks and this team had a long way to go before it was ready to credibly compete for titles. I’m still carrying this loss around with me. It sent the Knicks into the postseason knowing they had more questions than answers on this squad.
Bonus points for Baron Davis’ grotesque knee injury.
That’s it. What do y’all think? Vote in the poll on the side.