Admittedly, I was a little distracted watching last night’s disappointing Knicks loss. Between ripping Comcast a new one and sweating out the Monday Night Football fantasy implications of Cam Newton versus Bryce Brown, I didn’t absorb and appreciation the broadcast as much I should have. It’s a bit inexcusable, considering my Knicks fandom is probably only topped by my Jay-Z fandom, or more accurately my belief that Jay-Z is the greatest rapper of all time. There are rappers whose music I’ve preferred over Hova’s in the past (fellow Brooklynite AZ comes to mind if we limit ourselves to rappers who spell their names with a “Z”) and rappers currently more involved in the game whose verses get my undivided attention more immediately (the always underrated Pusha T tops this list). But at the end of the day, no rapper has the combination of lyrical skills, flow, and longevity to equal Shawn Corey Carter at his craft. So I may have missed out on hearing Marv Albert and Steve Kerr talk about the Jigga man and his very small interest in Nets ownership, however that doesn’t stop me from including Jay-Z lyrics in one of our more macro recaps.
I’m about to hit these [cats] with some shit that will light ya’ll life up / If every [cat] in your clique is rich than your click is rugged / Nobody will fall cause everyone will be each other’s crutches – “Feeling It”
The story of the game is Carmelo Anthony. His hot shooting is breathtaking at times, but it is only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped and the forced isolations stunt the offense. In a gross oversimplification, the Knicks offense top rated offense (per Hollinger’s offensive efficiency ratings) works because they lead the league in fewest turnovers and take (as well as make) the most threes per game.
Last night, the Knicks only converted 6-21 of their threes and well of their season averages of 11.7 makes and 28.5 attempts. Yes, credit goes to the Nets for some pretty good defense, but more blame should go to the Knicks for failing to move the ball. It’s been years since Pat Riley called the three-point shot “Fools’ Gold”, and it’s no longer a common phrase with good reason. A team that takes a lot of threes is a team that plays together and moves the ball well. Over 80% of three-point baskets come on assists, while overall assisted percentage is around 56-58% (including three pointers). Bottom line, the Knicks play better when everybody is touching the ball on offense and they are taking open threes. When Melo gets doubled teamed it leaves a guy open, and if the shots are falling then Melo will see less double teams. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the Knicks’ superstar needs to realize it.
Can you really match a triple platinum artist buck for buck with only your single going gold? – “A Million and One”
This entire post is not about Carmelo, I swear, but this quote also pertains to him. When Jay-Z was recording his second album in 1997 he was on the first issue of XXL magazine with the headline “Best Rapper Alive.” The triple platinum artist is the Notorious B.I.G. who was widely considered the best rapper before being murdered on March 9th (he says in his best Canibus voice) of that year. The pressure was on, and many questioned whether Jigga was as good as his former friend. Similarly, the Knicks hot start has Melo being considered a MVP candidate and up there with the likes of LeBron and Kevin Durant. Unlike Jay-Z, however, I don’t think Melo is up for the task. For one, he lacks the athleticism to be on par with LBJ, KD, and earlier versions of Kobe and Wade (check out his shots blocked percentage compared to the others). More importantly he isn’t as willing a passer as the others, and his assist rate is well below is normal averages (perhaps the hockey assists make up for it, but it is drastically low).
I father, I Brooklyn Dodger them / I jack, I rob, I sin /Aww man, I’m Jackie Robinson / ‘Cept when I run base, I dodge the pen / Lucky me, luckily, they didn’t get me / Now when I bring the Nets, I’m the black Branch Rickey – “Brooklyn (Go Hard)”
Before the game, I wondered whether the Nets would have a home court when they play the Knicks. It sure seems like the people of Brooklyn are ready to adopt the Nets and root for their Borough’s team. Chants of “Brooooklyn” filled the arena, and gave Kenny Smith the opportunity to offer some AAU ball history. Jay-Z brings up the Nets and Brooklyn in several verses, but I think this is his best. The double entendres upon double entendres (double double entendres?) and a possible triple entendre make this one stand out. I don’t know, I’m a sucker for double entendres.
We don’t stop at the toll we got EZ passes – “Reservior Dogs”
Back in 1998 bragging about having an EZ pass made a little sense (stress on little). Back in 1998 having former college teammates, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse on your team, also made a little sense. Now it makes little sense given their respective ages…nevermind…Stackhouse scored 14 points and knocked down four treys last night. Rasheed shot a poor 2-11 from the field, but he has been the team’s best big off the bench all season. Still those guys are freaking old.
A wise man said don’t argue with fools because people from a distance can’t tell who is who – “Takeover”
More Sheed: Late in the game, you could hear Sheed screaming at the referees “Three Second! Three Seconds!” while on defense. It was probably a good 1 1/2 seconds, meaning the Nets player was in the paint for 4 1/2 seconds. None of the refs paid Rasheed any mind, and that irked me because Sheed is probably my favorite Knickerbocker, and in my eyes, greatly misunderstood. So out of respect I rewound the play and counted on my own. Damn you Rasheed. That wasn’t even close to a three-second violation. He fooled me, but the referees were wise enough to pay him no mind.