Two days after Thanksgiving, the Knicks scored 138 points. It had been two years since our Knickerbockers had scored that many points, and then they required three overtimes. This one, a win over the visiting Warriors, was accomplished in regulation time. It also only required seven players.
Amid the ridiculousness of the Stephon Marbury situation and the franchise’s decision to more or less give up on two seasons to have a chance at wooing LeBron James in 2010, a strange thing has transpired—this Knicks team has turned into the Harlem Globetrotters, playing for the sake of pure sensation. Did you hate the dirge of the Pat Riley–directed, run–out–the–shot–clock–then–get–Patrick Ewing–fouled teams? Do you miss when the NBA was freewheeling, ludicrous, and unpredictable? Is your favorite game to watch every year the defenseless All-Star Game? These Knicks are your team. For this, of course, we must thank new coach Mike D’Antoni, whose nickname at his last job in Phoenix (Coach Pornstache) has sadly not followed him to what is probably the worst team he’s ever coached. He knows this and, oddly, doesn’t seem to mind. Like Jimmy Stewart’s Scottie Ferguson in Vertigo, he has lent these retreads the style of his old team, hoping to recapture some of the old magic. And it’s kind of working! If you squint, Chris Duhon looks a little like Steve Nash, Wilson Chandler kinda resembles Shawn Marion, and David Lee … well, David Lee doesn’t look like Amar’e Stoudemire at all. But D’Antoni is throwing them all out there anyway, mixing and matching, a hyperactive boy having so much fun that he doesn’t seem to mind that all his toys are broken. The Knicks will keep losing, but it will never, ever, be boring. Stephon Marbury? Eddy Curry? Jerome James? Bor-ing! It doesn’t matter which players you give D’Antoni, or even how many. He’ll create something worth watching. Even if the Knicks never land LeBron, D’Antoni’s already worth it.
To be clear: D’Antoni only came here for the money. He could have had a better team in Chicago. But hey: Isn’t that why we have the money? The Dolan family has been spending recklessly for a decade now, with no tangible results, save a lawsuit and a half-empty Garden. Finally, they’re throwing their cash in the right direction.
The Knicks will have a losing record this season and probably will again next season. Winning right now isn’t the goal. And that’s fine. Winning can wait. There’s too much silly joy going around the Garden right now to worry one’s self with that dirty business. Finally: a Knicks team you don’t feel bad cheering for. All it took was Coach Pornstache. (Come on, people: Let’s make the name stick.)
And look: A whole item about the Knicks, and we didn’t even mention Isiah Thomas. God, doesn’t it feel good?