Friday, December 17, 2010

We're Back! The New York Knicks are Making Noise

Last night the big apple hosted high-energy, percussive symphony coupled with dance, and played entirely on unconventional instruments. I am not talking about the show Stomp which played last night in New York city, but the Boston Celtics came to town to play the sizzling Knicks, winners of eight in a row at Madison Square Garden. December basketball is usually monotonous and somewhat mundane, but from tip-off to Paul's piercing jumper that gave the Celtics a thrilling 118-116 victory, the arena was electric. For a rarity this decade, the most famous basketball arena in the world had a game that lived up to it.

Even though the Knicks eventually lost the battle, they might have won the war, the war of landing superstar Carmelo Anthony to their island. Anthony has been quoted as saying he will sign a three year extension that the Denver Nuggets have on the table if he's traded to the Knicks, or possibly the New Jersey Nets. If Carmelo had been wavering between going to the Nets or the Knicks, his questions should have been put to rest last night. The Nets might have a billionaire owner, but that doesn't make up for passionate fans, celebrities in the seats, and the world's most popular hardwood that MSG has to offer.

"Today America is the Roman
empire. New York is Rome itself."- John Lennon

As great as the Yankees have been over the past decade, if the Knicks are winning then New York is a basketball town. The fans inside the arena last night were a microcosm of the city itself, lively, energetic, bustling, accelerated, and active.

Last night, the Knicks triumphantly shouted to the basketball world that they are relevant again. The last meaningful season the Knicks had was in 2000 (Justin Bieber was six) when they beat the Miami Heat in seven games, but eventually lost in six to Reggie Miller's Indiana Pacers. The Knicks stars then consisted of Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, and Latrell Sprewell, all of whom have since retired.

Like a Pfizer salesman pitching Zoloft, the Knicks pitched their team on the floor last night for 48 straight minutes. They proved to their perspective client Carmelo Anthony that they can play with the beasts of the eastern conference. Their new core of stars, Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler have propelled the Knicks to a 16-10 record, sitting fifth in the east. The fact that they lost the way the did, battling until the final horn, almost makes them more attractive as they went toe-to-toe with the defending eastern conference champions to the end. They played until the final whistle and went the distance like Rocky Balboa did against Apollo Creed. This was a heavy-weight fight, when a year ago the Knicks could not even compete in the feather-weight division.  

Act 1- Enter Stage Right

The three main characters for the Celtics, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett each scored at least 20 points, while the teams director Rajon Rondo had 14 assists. The heavy lifting off the bench was orchestrated by Glen "big baby" Davis. Similar to a stage crew, his play is sometimes behind the scenes and under appreciated, but is essential for the performance to go off without a hitch. The hometown heroes played by the Knicks had three stars of their own shine bright, but none brighter than first-year New- Yorker Amare Stoudemire scoring 39 points and snagging 10 rebounds. He now has nine consecutive games scoring at least 30 points and shooting 50 percent from the field, just two shy of Shaquille O'Neal's eleven. The Knicks led 58-51 at half and by seven at the end of three quarters. The protagonist Knicks looked like they had the win, but the antagonist Celtics battled back and Pierce won the game with an icy-cold jumper with .4 seconds remaining. Fittingly after nailing the game winner, he turned to the crowd and took a bow. You have to love the drama and theatre that is New York.

Tonight, King James returns to the garden for the first time since "The Decision". There's always room for a second act.

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