Pablo Prignioni


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Last Thursday night in Miami the Knicks played a complete game from start to finish, without star and 27.5 PPG contributor Carmelo Anthony, and blew out defending Champion Miami Heat at United Airlines Arena 112-92, in what may have been their best regular season performance in the new millennium.  Since then, the Knickerbockers went toe to toe with the Bulls in Chicago and lost, and posted wins over Denver and NJ…um, “Brooklyn” that is, 2 games that have been labeled by some as a Carmelo revival tour of sorts.  Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey, as must a win as there can be in mid December, was made possible by Anthony’s 45 pts, and was delivered by a 3 pointer by new team leader Jason Kidd (shown above) in the final minute which was also the game’s final tally.

Prior to the South Beach business trip, the Knicks played a mostly lackluster game in Charlotte, looking ahead to the Heat, in all likelihood.  While Anthony put up 20 in the 1st half, he had zero field goals in the 2nd.  But his low output did not hinder his effort.  With only a few minutes to play, Anthony followed a loose ball into the Knicks’ bench, lacerating his finger, and causing him to miss the next two games.

Without Anthony on the floor for the final minutes in Charlotte, the Knicks capped the impressive comeback (8 down with 6 minutes to play) win with a 5 man unit consisting of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd.  Felton and Smith teamed for a huge steal in the final minute and swarming team D led to a 5 second violation for another key turnover, in part aided by a mental error by city product and NCAA champ Kemba Walker.  The pride of UConn failed to present himself on the inbounds pass, as he was the likely option on the throw in.  Felton scored with approximately a minute to go on a sweet drive, which gave the Knicks a 98-98 tie, and then JR Smith, after failing to go hard to the rim for a layup that would’ve won the ball game, instead called a TO and then promptly won it with a fall away from behind the elbow as time expired.

The Knicks performance last week, marked by strong defense and execution, have been hallmarks of the team this year–especially 2nd half defense–traits notably absent during Mike D’Antoni’s failed tenure, but traits once again associated with the Knicks under Mike Woodson, now 35-12 as HC of the NYK.  Another refreshing quality the Knicks now have in spades, which was noticeably absent during the D’Antoni era is effort, which, to a man, has improved under coach Woodson.

It couldn’t have hurt to have added so many serious veterans with winning predigees, like Rasheed Wallace and “rookie” Pablo Prigioni, who, in 13 minutes against the Heat, recorded 7 pts and 6 boards.  Prigioni has a serious nose for the ball via the steal and the long rebound, a perfect reserve on a club that shoots so many 3s (last night the Knicks made 14-28 3PFGAS).  Kidd has also shown a knack for loose balls and long rebounds, but to be honest, what hasn’t he shown a knack for since coming to NY’s real team?

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who truly puts the color in color commentary, recently discussed Kidd’s impact on the Knicks this year.  In doing so, Clyde recalled Kidd led NJ teams that went to the finals, along with players like Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, who ‘have been practically nothing without him.’  It’s easy to understand why Kidd’s departure so enraged Dallas owner Mark Cuban.  In fact, we were even apoplectic that Kidd was out for the 1st game the Knicks played against the Nets in Brooklyn.  Something tells us the Knicks finish that business off with Kidd on the floor to steady and martial the troops.  We’re pretty certain that Knicks point guard Ray Felton would be the first guy to cite Kidd’s impact, as Felton is enjoying a career season with Kidd as his 2.

In that game against Miami, Felton made 6 3s, led the team with 27 points, and turned it over only 3 times, and only once through 3 quarters.  Felton’s play against Miami prompted one local beat man (props to Steve Popper) to Tweet, “Feltonsanity.”  Too bad Jeremy Lin didn’t stick around, as he would have greatly benefitted from Kidd’s tutelage, as opposed to Houston, where he shares the ball handling duties with, wait for it…Toney Douglass.  Oh, the hand of fate!

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/jeremy-lin-duplicitous-twerp-scumbag-liar/

Even if Kidd is not showing up on the score sheet, his contributions are great. In Miami, Kidd was a staggering +31 in his minutes.  Kidd has taken charge of most huddles and is perfectly suited to, for what player on the Knicks or in the league anywhere, for that matter, would not defer to Kidd’s wisdom in a crunch situation?  When JR Smith failed to go in for that layup to beat the Bobcats, Kidd was visibly irate with Smith, but then appeared to instruct Smith to shake off the play.  So Smith went out and made the buzzer beater, all net, no rim, splash.

Having 2 point guards on the floor, one being Kidd, has manifested itself in another winning attribute: TO ratio.  This year the Knicks have a +5.5 TO margin, which, at the moment is not only tops in the league but is also on pace for an NBA team record.

Back to the +/- stat for a moment, a stat which is also distinguishing the Knicks as an elite regular season team.  The Knicks 5 man unit of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd is the top +/- group in the NBA. The 4 man unit of Chandler, Felton, Novak, Kidd is the top foursome in the league, and the 3 man unit of Novak, Felton, and Kidd is the top 3 man unit, at a staggering +19 avg.

Novak has been worth every penny of his 20+M/4 yr deal so far.  Even last night, when he recorded zero points, he was a +12 in his minutes, which indicates that he plays sound ball regardless of his stroke and scoring numbers.

As presently constituted, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic at 16-5.  They should be wired on Thursday when they play the Lakers, a struggling team, now coached by Knicks’ castoff Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire, especially considering that Phil Jackson was set to return to LA when D’Antoni agreed to take his woe is me act to SoCal.  Only time will tell as to D’Antoni’s success in LA, though not only aren’t we counting on it, but we’re actively rooting against it.  The Knicks would be wise to jump all over LA at MSG, where Kobe usually puts up immense numbers.

The Knicks should be further buoyed by the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire, who looks to be in great shape right now, and who is expected back around Christmas.  And when Iman Shumpert returns, hopefully in January, the Knicks will have the defensive presence to throw at quick guards like Rondo and Deron Williams, which should further boost the play of Raymond Felton, an absolute bargain at 3M per, and taken with Kidd’s approximate 3M salary, the winning pair come in at the same approximate salary as former Knicks’ savior Jeremy Lin.

KNICKERBOCKERS!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Douchebag at ESPY’s (above).

With a flood of Lin stuff coming to the fore today in the wake of the New York Knicks decision not to match the Houston offer sheet to Jeremy Lin, we felt it wise to reserve our print judgment on the kid for a bit.  But we knew what that judgment was going to be, more or less, since hearing that Lin had went back to Houston, after being informed the Knicks would match on the initial offer, and contorted the offer into one of less years and more guaranteed money.  That second offer contained the dreaded poison pill, a 3rd year salary of some $15M, which would have put the Knicks in cap hell in 2014, and would have seen the Knicks responsible for nearly $58M between Lin’s salary and the luxury tax # that the salary and the 7 other Knicks under contract in 2014 would have triggered.

We loved Tommy Dee’s take on the situation on http://www.theknicksblog.com and must credit him, as has Evan Roberts of WFAN, for being on top of all NBA trade and free agent matters this offseason, beating most of the Knicks beat to Knicks related stories, and also, the Nets beat on matters relating to the um, “Brooklyn” Nets.  And we understand Dee’s vitriol toward Jim Dolan, who he feels made a petty decision, another petty decision, in deciding not to match on Jeremy Lin.

As a long tenured Knicks fan, we appreciate his passion, knowledge, and the depth of his analysis.  But we woke up one morning about 27-28 years ago to discover that the Knicks had similarly passed on an opportunity to retain Bernard King, one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game, and the greatest scorer to ever don a Knicks jersey.  As much as we love Bernard King, we root for the team, not the player.  Strictly front of the jersey, is how that works.  If Dolan and the Knicks brass perceived that Lin had been disloyal, and, that signing Lin was cost prohibitive to running their team, then they were well within their rights to let him go.  Even if doing so constituted losing an asset that they had acquired for nothing.

Were we stunned to hear that the Knicks had acquired Raymond Felton?  Indeed.  And we’d also have to credit a guy that we have discredited often who we feel is slow to news in covering the Knicks, Frank Isola of the NY Daily News, who had the Felton story down cold by not too late in the evening on Saturday.  We feel that Felton is an upgrade over Lin, we know that Felton wished to be here, and that he waited out the Lin situation on the off chance that the Knicks would turn to him.  We loved Felton’s work here last year, in averaging 17 PPG and 9 APG in his Knick career, leading to his trade to Denver for Carmelo.  An out of shape Felton, who came with a bad attitude more often than not to the arena last year for the Trailblazers still averaged close to 11 PPG and 7 APG, numbers that few Knicks guards have put up in the last 20 years.  A motivated Felton, back with Stoudemire, who had his greatest success as a Knick on the receiving end of Felton’s largesse, is going to be a boon to the team and to both Stoudemire and Felton.  Getting Stoudemire back to where he was in 2010 will be essential to getting the Knicks over the next hump, which is to win a round in the playoffs, hopefully more.

Now back to Lin and Dolan.  Say whatever you want about Dolan, and we’ve said much, but at the end of the day, we like him, because his check book makes it all happen.  That’s in two sports.  The New York Rangers, our dearly beloved, is now a model NHL franchise, the apple of thirty or so city’s eyes, and it is Dolan who footed that bill.  It is Dolan who ultimately gives Glen Sather the opportunity to cut Brad Richards a $65M contract, and who gives Sather the freedom to run the organization as he wishes, creating the phenomenal situation the Rangers are in, from coaching staff, to roster, to the draft room and farm system, which is unmatched throughout the sport right now.  And if Zach Parise wasn’t such a dick then Dolan would’ve signed off an a monumental deal for him as well, and Parise could’ve played out his career in the mecca, as opposed to Minnesota, a place where big time athletes do not want to go.

Houston happens to be another place like that.  And when Jeremy Lin had that assurance from Dolan that the Knicks were going to match his 28M offer, he went back to Houston for better terms, terms Lin knew would hamper the Knicks ability to retain him.  Is Lin disloyal?  Absolutely.  Should he have pursued the best offer at all costs, as he did?  No.  If you want to be a Knick and the Knicks tell you they are keeping you, then you let it end right there, with a fat AAS of $7M per.  JR Smith could’ve pretended he was a good, loyal Knick and then went out and taken a big offer.  He didn’t.  Why?  Because he wanted to be here.  Because he isn’t that guy.  For all the things he is, for any dumb shit he’s done, he’s not a dishonest, money hungry amateurish NBA Chinese American Harvard hayseed.  Steve Novak also showed he wanted to be here when he could’ve pushed the envelope for a fatter payday.

What do we mean by that string of Lin insults?  Well, let’s be honest.  Jeremy Lin handled this situation terribly, right down to his crocodile tears today about wanting to be here, and his stupid fucking Twitter thank you to New York.  Jeremy Lin thought the Knicks had no option but him at point guard, and therefore, he thought, let’s try to extort NY.  Jim Dolan has every right to be upset and hurt by that.  Jeremy Lin, his team, his agent, whomever, underestimated the Knicks ability to find another guard within 72 hours.  Today, he said as much.  He had no idea that they had Felton on the back burner, and he says, had he known that, he wouldn’t have pressed for the poison pill contract with Houston.

Lin also said a lot of other things that expose him for the amateurish backstabber he is.  Like how he wanted to play in game 5 against Miami but that Knicks players in the league “5 years or more” talked him out of it, causing him to change his tune from “85% healthy” to “15% from the minimum threshold” of NBA game readiness.  We also have to hand it to Isola for pointing out these ridiculous statements in slapping Lin around all day.

Does Lin have some kind of special computer that only he owns that measures minimum threshold for NBA game readiness?  If so, was it engineered at Harvard?  Or by the Chinese?  If so, were they the same friends of Yao Ming who apparently orchestrated this whole Houston nonsense as a favor to Yao?  Because these Chinese roll so thick and all?  And what about the Knick vets with 5 years or more?

Did actuarial science really rob the Knicks of an 85% healthy but really 15% of minimum NBA readiness game 5 Jeremy Lin?  Did Lin really feel it was necessary to leak through his team that he was going to play, only to rescind, through his team, that he would, when playing or not playing against the Miami Heat was academic to the eventual result anyway?  And why was his team to be believed then, but last week, was not to be believed when Lin made his famous proclamation that ‘if it isn’t a direct quote’ from him then don’t believe it?  These are not the actions of a forthright, trustworthy individual.

Did the Knicks fuck Lin over initially by openly coveting Steve Nash?  No.  Does Lin suggest that the pursuit of Nash inclined Lin to backstab the NYK?

He does, but he is a dumb dick.  Coveting the best player at a given position is something that every team in the league should do.  If he thinks Houston didn’t covet Nash, then he’s a fool.  Only thing is, Nash isn’t stupid enough to do business with the Rockets or go live in that God awful place.

This is how great the Knicks were to Lin, in fact:  After giving him his big break, they were not even convinced of his ability to be a starter in the league considering that he only played a handful of games, and yet they were still willing to pay him 7M per, as a fucking backup.

Because the Knicks want to win, and so, they were willing to pay out over 20M to that one position, point guard, between Nash (10-12 M), Lin (7M AAS), Prignioni ($900,000), and Kidd (3M).  That’s what is so great about being a Knick fan, despite any folly perpetrated by their owners and management.  They’ll pay anything.

But they won’t be extorted.  Not even by some Asian Johnny Come Lately, not even when it devalues the company stock or when the guy they are letting go sells the most jerseys in the world.  So bravo to Dolan, Grunwald, Woodson, the Knickerbockers, the Rangers and the Garden.  And fuck you to Jeremy Lin.  Have fun in Houston, kid.  If you do, you’ll be the first.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)