I’m not watching basketball anymore. I’m watching performance art.
Last night’s trip to Charlotte saw the Knicks go down by 12 at the half, continue to get shellacked in the 3rd, and reach that cherished 20 point deficit. I wasn’t watching. I wasn’t putting myself through it. Undefeated Kentucky was playing undefeated Texas and I wanted to get a look at the college team that could supposedly run the 76ers out of their own building. (sneak preview: they couldn’t).
However, the fantasycast was open on my computer screen and I saw that “miracle of miracles” the Knicks were somehow down only 5 with about 2 minutes left. That made even more impressive by the fact that they’d entered the 4th quarter down 18 points (they went on to outscore Charlotte 33-18 in that final frame). Why the hell not? Who wants to miss the comeback of the season? A signature win on the road that could kickstart our guys into maybe scratching some .500 basketball?
The Knicks played like crazy down the stretch, including some killer defensive possessions: Pablo came up with a steal (of course), JR properly realized at one point that Walker had no intention of passing the ball and came to help Shump force up a missed shot, and the team putting Big Al into a long baseline 2 situation at the very end of the shotclock (he missed!) On the other side, Melo came up with some big buckets, including a three that actually put the Knicks ahead 102-101.
But then, of course, the Knicks squandered their final offensive possession, leaving Melo alone to put up a gross jumper in double coverage and the Hornets called time out with 4 seconds left. Just enough time for Kemba Walker to blow by Prigioni and throw in the game winning floater. Just enough time to break my heart once again.
This leaves the Knicks at 2-9 in games decided by 5 points or more. And then, if you expand the sample a little bit more to games decided by 7 points, 2-12.
Just awful. That means 2/3 of the Knicks’ games so far have come down to the last couple of minutes. That despite having terrible 2nd and 3rd quarters the Knicks have been able to rally down the stretch and put the game just within reach in 2/3 of their contests. And in almost every single one of those instances, they’ve lost.
What team does this? What team is so consistently feisty, yet so consistently terrible? What does this say about the mentality? That we have enough heart to get right back in it, but not enough to finish down the stretch?
I don’t know. But its gettin’ harder and harder to watch…