Monday, 4 April 2011
EAST COAST ROAD TRIPPIN': PART 1
This week, BASKETBALL 24/48/82 is in the U.S. Travelling from New York to Miami, checking out some perennial teams in some prime match-ups.
DAY 1: Live From New York City
NEW YORK KNICKS 123-107 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
You know when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' 'Empire State Of Mind' epically plays to thousands of happy MSG customers as two of the leagues best players take the floor your in for a treat and things are only getting better in a city that's waited a long time for it's basketball to get on the same page as everything else in New York. If you've been a regular at Madison Square Garden you know what to expect; good food, bad prices, timeless venue, dated facilities and either floor seats where you could trip out over seeing Spike Lee, or more seats up where you can expect the third escalator to really be an expensive set of stairs. It's all however, just part of the class, character, beauty and pageantry of a Knick game.
One thing now that you thankfully don't have to expect is losses. Still the Knicks almost blew three potential whiteouts before finally blowing the Cleveland Cavaliers candles out like Gerald Green dunking in February. You see the Knicks may match up to the Heat, Bulls, Magic and even the reigning East kings North in Boston, but they have had great difficulty in beating smaller teams. Still New York got the better of Cleveland like they had signed LeBron this season, spotting them and clinching a playoff seed in the process. N.Y.'s big three of Anthony, Billups and Stoudemire's stats where all in the 20 point range as 'Melo's automatic jumpers and Mr. Billups big shots gave the Knicks the Nuggets they needed to strike gold against the Cavaliers. Sure rising rookie Landry couldn't field a dunk but Bill Walker ran down, stuffing the Cavs and that embarrassment.
Cleveland may be a bad team but they still had a good fight in them. J.J. Hickson was dunking and exploiting the Knicks bad D so much, his similar, sensational put-downs looked like a video game. Baron Davis also showed he was still number one with 11 points in around 15 seconds, you could even hear the Knicks play-by-play guy sigh before he drolly announced Davis name once again. The way B-Diddy was playing in that catalyst of a mini-Cavalier comeback he could have made his jersey number in points if his hot-streak wasn't cooled off by halftime. New York's play may have been a bit sloppy at times but hey that's Knick basketball and like a die-hard told his friend post-game "Hey they won! What more do you want?" N.Y.'s performance was good enough for the best crowd in the association, featuring hardcore, hard-to-please MSG fans and celebs like Whoopi, 50, Mayweather and that dude they lost in the first 'Hangover' movie. Even Knick, alumni legend Larry Johnson was on hand to a standing 'L'. In the end though the Knicks got the W and a wide berth on Cleveland...a playoff berth. TIM DAVID HARVEY.