I have very few rules in life, but here’s one of them: Anytime a Knicks-Celtics grudge match causes Carmelo Anthony to hire a bodyguard, Boston fans to wave Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, the NBA to assign Dick Bavetta AND Joey Crawford, and my dad to say the words, “I feel like the entire season is on the line tonight,” I have to create a totally new gimmick for a column. Introducing the Retro-Photo Diary! Let’s get it on.
If you missed what happened last time these two teams played, here’s a quick recap …
“Did you just tell me that my wife tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios?”
“THAT MAKES ME VERY ANGRY! I’M VERY ANGRY RIGHT NOW!”
“I don’t care.”
“I WILL SEE YOU AFTER THE GAME, MISTER! AND WE WON’T BE EXCHANGING CHRISTMAS GIFTS, I CAN TELL YOU THAT MUCH!”
“Fine with me.”
“BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!!!”
Right when KG and Carmelo approached each other last night for their inevitably awkward fist-bump, TNT’s director inexplicably switched to a close-up of KG and blew the fist-bump. (You can only see Carmelo’s hand right there.) I can’t wait to see where this ranks in Bleacher Report’s “The 25 Biggest Blown Fist-Pump Shots” feature this weekend.
As the numbers show, the Knicks need Raymond Felton more than you’d think. For whatever reason, he showed up for tonight’s game dressed like an usher at Magic Johnson Theaters.
You know within about five minutes which Rajon Rondo showed up: Either it’s Local Cable Rondo (the guy who settles for jump shots, refuses to drive to the basket and only cares about padding his assist count), or National TV Rondo (the guy who attacks the basket, plays aggressively, flirts with a triple-double and generally makes you feel like he gives a shit). Last night’s game was on TNT, so … I mean …
Iman Shumpert and Norris Cole are embroiled in a fierce battle to bring back the early ’90s. There’s only one way it can be settled: We need to find out who’s more down with OPP.
I get more e-mails about the DirecTV Genie girl than anyone basically ever. My readers are super-horny. And yes, I know she has a history with Derek Jeter. You don’t have to keep telling me.
TNT responds to intense Twitter pressure and retroactively shows the fist-bump, but only after digitally adding the ghostly visage of Joey Crawford in the background.
It’s one of my favorite winter traditions, right up there with Christmas and the NFL playoffs … that’s right, it’s Danny Ainge’s annual “I swear, we’re not trying to blow this team up!” denial. It always seems to come right as he’s juggling about 244 possible deals with 17 different teams. Playing for the Celtics in January and February is like being on The Bachelor — it’s just a good idea to pack your suitcase before every Rose Ceremony no matter how safe you’re feeling.
The Knicks threw out a zone defense in the second quarter. You do these things when Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni and Amar’e Stoudemire are coming off your bench. (PS: It actually kinda sorta worked!) It’s hard to overstate Amar’e's X-factor potential as a bench scorer (assuming he buys in for the rest of the year), if only because he’s so overqualified for that role. He’d finish this Celtics game with 15 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes. Those are “Bob McAdoo in 1982″ numbers.
“I should have retired. I could be living on the beach in Malibu right now. It was probably like 80 degrees there today … “
Spike Lee needs to make a movie about two die-hard Knicks fans who get so tired of Spike Lee that they kidnap him during the 2013 playoffs. That would be the best Spike Lee Joint since Inside Man.
“This sucks. I hate the way this game is going. And by the way … my wife does NOT taste like Honey Nut Cheerios. OK?”
Wait, is Bullet to the Head Sly Stallone’s new movie or the upcoming 30 for 30 about the 2012-13 Lakers? I can’t remember.
“Coach, I know Bernie Mac isn’t with us anymore, but do you still keep in touch with Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley?”
Get that shit out of my Cheerios bowl! Serious question: Why didn’t Honey Nut Cheerios offer $3 million apiece to KG and Melo to film a surprise commercial that could have debuted during this game? How great would that have been? There’s still time, Honey Nut Cheerios! Do it for All-Star Weekend! As Rasheed Wallace would say, CUT THE CHECK! CTC! CTC!
Check out Dick Bavetta making a traveling call in front of a totally horrified Doc Rivers. For the record, Dick Bavetta is three years older than David Stern, five years younger than Bud Selig and 101 years younger than John Wilkes Booth.
Hold on, I’m not done wiping the tears of joy from my eyes.
Maybe it wasn’t a travesty along the lines of Art Carney winning the 1974 Best Actor Oscar over Pacino in The Godfather: Part II and Nicholson in Chinatown, but Chris Bosh making the All-Star team over Brook Lopez was pretty reprehensible. The Nets are 24-11 when Lopez plays. He’s their go-to guy down the stretch. He gets routinely double-teamed. He’s turned himself into this generation’s Rik Smits. Meanwhile, Chris Bosh made the New Year’s resolution, “I’m gonna stop rebounding in 2013 and see what happens.” Ridiculous. And yes, Pierce should have made it over Garnett. In case you were wondering.
Relevant first-half info: Carmelo missed nine of 13 shots; Amar’e looked good off the bench; J.R. Smith couldn’t hit the side of a barn; Pierce scored 19 and kept his Knick-Killer reputation going; National TV Rondo showed up; and Boston’s crowd was surprisingly cordial to Carmelo. I thought they’d be chanting “Honey Nut” and prancing around dressed in giant Cheerios boxes. Nope. It’s hard to overstate how bummed out everyone is about last Sunday’s Ravens game, as well as the real possibility that Bernard Karmell Pollard is the Boston Sports Antichrist.
Check it out — if Carmelo goes two for his next eight, he’s going to win tonight’s MVP award.
(Shameless promo alert!!!)
How often do you think Jason Kidd high-fives himself for fleeing Dallas at the absolute perfect time? Once a day? Five times a day? Once an hour? I’m beginning to think he can keep going until he’s 50. Jason Kidd has reinvented himself as The Old Guy In The Pickup Hoops Game Who Might Be Washed-up But It Doesn’t Totally Matter Because He Still Knows What He’s Doing. Doesn’t everyone love playing with that guy?
Did Rondo stupidly pass the ball here over just taking the easy layup and/or getting fouled and going to the line? Of course he did. Did it lead to a turnover and a basket on the other end? Of course it did. There’s like a 21 percent chance he’s trying to murder Tommy Heinsohn every time he does this.
Just a classic Jeff Green sequence here. First, he gets abused off the dribble by Carmelo for an easy bucket …
Then, he immediately throws the inbounds pass to Jason Kidd for a Knicks layup. You spend a lot of time yelling “NO!!!!!!” or “WAKE UP!!!” when Jeff Green is on your team. Classy guy, good teammate, survived a life-threatening surgery, occasionally looks like a poor man’s James Worthy … and yet, he’s badly overpaid (four years, $36 million), he’s untradable, he’s one of the most frustrating Celtics ever, and he’s a big reason why the Celtics have been underachieving this season.
(Hold this thought.)
Did Jeff Green nail this wide-open 3 and get the crowd fired up? You betcha! You really run the gamut of emotions from game to game with Jeff Green. His nickname should be “The Gamut.”
It’s probably a bad sign when The Gamut and Jared Sullinger are botching their defense of the Carmelo/Chandler high screens so egregiously that Doc Rivers has to run a mini-coaching clinic for them during a timeout. (By the way, I love Sullinger. Wish he played more.)
“Hey, Jason — I totally forgot this game was on TNT tonight. Why didn’t you tell me? I would have worn a suit instead of this jacket from my uncle’s store. You don’t think they’re showing me on the bench, do you?”
Uh-oh … Melo is heating up. Just made four of his last six. There are seven “Uh-oh, he’s heating up” scorers in the NBA right now: Durant, LeBron, Kobe, Melo, Harden, Kyrie Irving and Jamal Crawford. This is why some people (stupidly) believed that Jamal should have made the All-Star team — that list speaks for itself.
If you look closely, you can see the salad fork sticking out of Jason Terry’s back. He finished 1-for-6 in this game. His January numbers: 22.0 MPG, 5.9 PPG, 39% FG, 28% 3FG, 57 derisive comments from my dad along the lines of, “It’s just too bad Jason Terry isn’t still alive.” Meanwhile, here are Courtney Lee’s December-January numbers: 48% FG, 39.6% 3FG. Oh, and he’s an above-average defensive player … and Jason Terry’s defense is so atrocious, it’s hard to believe the Lakers haven’t traded for him yet. How is Terry still getting more minutes than Lee? Unless the answer is, “Shut up, dummy, we’re trying to make the lottery.” Fine, I’ll shut up.
(Cut to the Knicks fans screaming, “TRADE HIM! TRADE HIM FOR GASOL RIGHT NOW! TELL OUR BUMBLING LEGACY-KID OWNER TO CALL THEIR BUMBLING LEGACY-KID OWNER AND GET THIS DONE!”)