GROVE CITY, Pa., April 17, 2012 — So, I acknowledge that this is not an original idea, nor even a trendy one. But I don’t own any Nike Pro Combat gear and I drive a mini-van.
A live diary is just my style.
For the sake of transparency, I admit that I’m a well-established New York Knick fan. My twitter feed features a hearty dose of Knicks commentary (read: whinging). The Celtics, naturally, are not on the list of a few of my favorite things (those including green olives and Crocs footwear). Some snarky comments depicting my disdain for Kevin Garnett’s existence may indeed occur. Hey, at least I warned you.
7:30 — My Kitchen Table
No Ray Allen tonight, which is kind of surprising. As Alan Hahn tweeted earlier, nobody misses games at MSG! Well, expect Amare Stoudemire. No rush, STAT. Anyway, this is obviously good news for the Knicks, who are all too happy to let three-point shooters prosper (see: Mike Freakin’ Dunleavy).
Wait, let’s get back to Amare for a quick second. In keeping with getting back into game-shape, STAT tweeted a picture of his stylin’ new braids (which can be viewed on Seth Rosenthal’s postingandtoasting.com). So, uh, I guess this is a good thing. We want you to feel confident out there, STAT.
I’ve already cleared a space in my apartment for me to curl into the fetal position after Paul Pierce hits his trademark improbable three with five seconds left in the game. Pierce is to Knicks fans as spaghetti sauce is to pristine white t-shirts.
Anybody want to see “Battleship” with me? The climax of the movie must surely feature Liam Neeson screaming “YOU’VE SUNK MY BATTLESHIP!”
Right. To the game.
8:00 —TNT’s Pre-Game Coverage
Charles Barkley proclaims the Knicks haven’t won anything since 1972. Chuck, of course, has many rings to speak of, and therefore is a respected voice on championship teams.
I respect Rajon Rondo’s game a whole lot. He’s a ridiculously smart point guard and operates with icy precision. If I hear another Celtics fan clamor to get him traded, I just may tweet something disrespectful. I MAY DO IT.
Shaq offers as much pre-game analysis as my mom, who’s usually asleep by the second quarter.
The size of Carmelo Anthony’s headband grows each game. I’m fairly certain I could wear it as a belt.
I swear, the game will start soon.
1Q 10:07— 8-2, Boston
Huzzah! We’re off.
Pierce and Carmelo trade jumpers to start the game, followed by a Rondo three (?!?!?!?!). That’s a rare sight and a dreadful sign for the Knicks if he’s hitting jumpers.
Baron Davis’s trademark unspeakably bad turnover not even two minutes into the game leads to an Avery Bradley three-pointer. Sometimes I think he lives on a diet of Milk-Duds.
1Q 4:14 — 20-17, Boston
Carmelo’s a monster thus far, gobbling up his own missed lay-up, punching Pierce in the nads and putting it back in. He might have to drop a solid ninety-three to keep the Knicks in this game. He’s also bodying a bigger Brandon Bass (whoa, alliteration) well down on the blocks.
Tyson Chandler takes a nice pass from Fields and dunks powerfully over Bass and Garnett. So, his knee is feeling OK, I think.
Avery Bradley hits another corner three. If he can drain those consistently, combined with his elite perimeter defense, he’ll have a career for the next twelve years. He can sure jump high, too.
No one should eat food before watching Landry Fields shoot jump-shots. Unbelievable how much his form has regressed since last year. I’m a Landry defender, but his value takes a huge hit if he literally is incapable of hitting an open jumper.
Melo’s had some nice dishes thus far, to a cutting Chandler and a nice kick-out to an open J.R. Smith. When he’s hitting his sweet midrange jumper and creating for teammates like this, I kind of want to name my dog after him.
1Q 1:51 — 26-24, Boston
Knicks taking an inordinate amount of threes, as usual. Difference is, they’re making them, with back-to-back threes hit by Smith and Shumpert. As pointed out by Kevin Harlan, Knicks are second in the league in threes attempted, yet 26th in threes made. That’s un-great.
Boston has put Pierce, Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic on Carmelo in the first quarter alone, but none have been able to slow him down. He has 12 points on 5-7 shooting, plus four dimes. He started at this blustering pace against the Heat, too, but wore down over the course of the game. He’s gonna need help in this one.
2 Q12:00 — 32-26, New York
Hello, Marquis Daniels!! It’s been a while. I thought he might have unwittingly committed treason and was forced to disappear. Just seems like something he might do.
Mike Bibby grabs a rebound, which is adorable.
Zounds! J.R. Smith is everywhere, hitting consecutive threes and threading a beautiful pass to Jared Jeffries for an open lay-up. He’s got the Garden on its feet! I’m also standing! I can jump guilt-free because I live on the ground floor!
The Knicks need a second scorer besides Carmelo to win games against good teams. While Melo rests on the bench, Smith has aided directly in eight straight points. For now, he’s that guy.
Q2 9:07 — 40-26, New York
I SWEAR I SAW TYRON LUE IN A SUIT.
Smith hits Novak for another open three. I have butterflies when he rises to shoot, as does all of MSG. The lead’s up to fifteen with Melo on the bench.
Bench points: Knicks, 17, Celtics, 0. Maybe Daniels is in Peru, mentally.
All right. Carmelo checks in an immediately drills a three, followed by a mid-range jumper. I’m tearing up, you guys.
MIKE BIBBY FOR THREE. HE LIVES! And then he draws an offensive foul on Pierce! When Mike Bibby contributes in positive ways, the Knicks are 245-0. NYK up by 19 with five minutes left in the half.
Q2 4:50 — 54-35, New York
To take advantage of New York’s small line-up, Boston’s getting the ball to Garnett, who’s being guarded by Carmelo. KG scores on a lay-up, and gets fouled, and hits a jumper on consecutive possessions.
Novak hits a three and gets fouled. There are small riots breaking out in the MSG crowd. Mark Sanchez is envious of Steve Novak. Hell, Frank Sinatra’s ghost is jealous of Steve Novak right now.
Now Smith hits a three, followed by Novak hitting a three, followed by Smith launching and hitting a three from forty feet, followed by Novak hitting a wide-open corner three. That’s how the half ends. I swear I’m not making this up, y’all. NYK score 72 and are up nineteen.
So! Not much to say, really. Nobody can miss for the Knicks, as they’ve hit 14 threes. That being said, they’re getting really decent looks from the perimeter and pushing the pace too fast for the older Celtics to keep up. Carmelo played an incredibly efficient half, swishin’ and dishin’ for 17 points and six assists. J.R. and Novak traded threes like they’re holographic Charzards. Sometimes that will happen. They’ll cool down a little for the second half, but if New York keeps pushing the ball like this, Boston might throw in the towel by the fourth quarter.
Q3 12:00 — 72-53, New York
Apparently some poor dude proposed on the Jumbotron at halftime and got denied. That might subdue MSG a little.
By the way, I should mention that Boston’s bench has nary a point. J.R. has 21. I’m just speechless.
Carmelo attacking to start the second half for two straight drives, followed by two straight dunks by Chandler off beautiful feeds from Fields and Davis. This is so wonderful.
Harlan just said “a whole nother” in reference to the defensive intensity Chandler brings. Well, his heart was in the right place.
Rondo thumps the floor with his back. Sounded really painful; hopefully the microphones around the rim just made it seem that way. He stays down for a Knicks possession and Boston calls a timeout.
Q3 7:38 — 81-64, New York
Apparently Rondo’s aiiiiiiiiight. That’s good. It’d be really silly for such a great player to get injured in an unsalvageable game like this.
That being said, Brandon Bass hits a free throw to bring the game to within 15. The Knicks are uproariously bad in the third quarter, usually. Don’t relax yet, sports fans…
Baron Davis just had a particularly stinky thirty seconds, missing a wide open three and then fouling Pierce on a three-point attempt. Maybe his brain is a Milk-Dud. Pierce hits all three free throws and chips the lead to ten. OH COME ON.
Piece, by the way, has been gimping around all game. Not that I wish ill-will on anybody, but…I get a twinkle in my eye watching that.
Carmelo’s a steak-eating man. He takes contact on a drive by Pierce then absorbs Greg Stiemsma’s body and lays it in. He rips down another offensive rebound in traffic and gets fouled on the next possession.
Budding rivalry: Carmelo versus Stiemsma. Who knew?
3Q 2:00 — 92-77, New York
So, maybe Rondo’s not OK. He’s in obvious pain lying down on the Celtics sideline.
Meanwhile, Bass’s immaculate 10-foot jumper chisels the lead down to twelve to end the third quarter. Knicks only hit one three, but Carmelo was relentless in his attack and everyone collaborated to get Tyson some nice-lookin’ dunks. Gimpy Pierce is still managing to get to the rim easily, however, and Chandler can’t guard Bass’s jumper. This looks to be a turbulent fourth quarter.
4Q 12:00 — 96-84, New York
Novak starts the fourth with a three, answered by Pierce at the other end. Novak’s still getting open looks, which is befuddling, since he doesn’t do much curling off the ball. We share that in common.
Pavlovic is a physical defender, but Carmelo’s just too quick for him, especially for his size. You can criticize him, but Melo’s a rare player.
Well, now Piece can’t miss, hitting another three for his 37th point. This isn’t the best news for Knicks fans, considering his Knick-killing history. Knicks up by eleven.
Garnett’s now guarding Novak. This game is just weird.
4Q 7:33 — 103-92, New York
Dubious call of a ball that clearly went off Pierce’s foot (which was right in front of the ref) goes to Boston. Oh, the officiating in the second half.
Carmelo and Pierce trade jumpers. These last seven minutes will be a duel between these two, I think. Knicks up twelve.
Carmelo gets tagged with his fifth foul and is forced to sit. Uh-oh. Now someone needs to create offense in his absence. Will J.R. step up again? Please, J.R., step up again.
Chandler rips down an absolute man’s rebound in traffic and kicks it out to Novak who drills the three. He has my heart. And my hairline.
“It’s like a torture chamber inside that lane!!” – Harlan, on the Knicks post defense. He gets really excited sometimes.
4Q 3:33 — 112-104, New York
Pierce’s lumpy body is too strong for Shumpert, who just mauls everyone en route to the rim, where he draws a foul. Freakin’ Pierce, man. Knicks’ lead down to six.
“KA-BOOM!!” Two huge threes by Novak to put the Knicks back up by ten with two minutes left. He’s a mensch, I tell you!
Carmelo calms Novak down after the second three like a wise sage.
Fittingly, Bibby grabs the Celtics’ last meaningless fling at the rim. I mean, I guess that’s fitting. That was an absurd, wonderful game. Just when you thought the Knicks were going cold at Boston might creep back in, Novak/Smith/Carmelo splashed huge jumpers to keep the distance comfortable. Melo gets his first triple-double as a Knick, putting up 35-12-10. Smith and Novak combine for 15 threes on 20 attempts. I don’t have a superlative for that. Make one up. I have to clean my kitchen.
Read more of Sam Bovard’s work at Balls Without Discretion in the Communities at The Washington Times.
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