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The Last Natrix

It has officially happened. The Natrix has been taken from us, traded to the Celtics (pending league approval) for Eddie House, Bill Walker, and J.R. Giddens. His departure seems especially cruel in light of the fact that we had begun to neglect him, to take his mind-bending leaps and mind-numbing blunders for granted.

On January 31, he took the Knicks right out of a winnable game against the Timberwolves by shooting one for ten from the field and finishing with a stunningly bad plus-minus of -33. And we wrote nothing. On February 5, he won the starting-point-guard job, or, should we say, Chris Duhon lost it. And we wrote nothing. Over All-Star weekend, he successfully defended his slam-dunk title. And we dozed through it. And now he is gone.

Nate’s tenure with the Knicks had the ending of good short story: both unexpected and predictable. While everyone was watching for the Knicks to make their move for Tracy McGrady, they dealt Nate for an even more shot-happy guard. But we knew this day would come eventually. Mike D’Antoni never really cottoned to Nate. He ended Nate’s fourteen-game stay on the bench (and eventually inserted him in the starting lineup) only reluctantly, because he was at a loss for what else to do with his team. He never trusted Nate to stay in control. He grimaced at Nate’s grandest successes because he knew it only served as license for the next excess. D’Antoni’s problems, at least one pesky little one, are solved. But ours are only beginning. Do we follow Nate to Boston? Or should we start the House-o-Meter to keep track of those possessions when Eddie House touches the ball and doesn’t shoot?

The final tallies:
January. 31 vs. Minnesota
Spectacularity 7 out of 10
Nate the Greatness 0 out of 10

February 5 vs. Milwaukee
Spectacularity 6 out of 10
Nate the Greatness 6 out of 10

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The Last Natrix