Monday, June 29, 2015

Rangers Free Agents: Stay or Go?

Photo courtesy of NBC Sports
The NHL season is over, the draft has come and gone, which means it's time for them to start looking at free agency. There are a lot of possible moves that Glen Sather, or, possibly Jeff Gorton can make with this team over the summer. Before looking to the outside to see what players from other teams can contribute to the Rangers next season and beyond, management has to look at the players who are already in New York to see how they can help the team in the future.

The cap situation isn't great. In fact, it's rather terrible. The Rangers will have quite a few tough decisions to make this offseason in order to build on the success of the last few seasons. Based on the new salary cap set at $71.4 million, the Rangers will have about $12 million to work with. That looks okay, but not when looking at the amount of free agents the management has to figure out whether or not to re-sign.

The team wants to keep the core of the roster together for years to come, so where does that leave these Ranger free agents?

Emerson Etem, RFA
The newest Ranger happens to be a restricted free agent, just like the guy Sather traded for him. Obviously, given the circumstances under which he was acquired, the Rangers expect to retain him for years to come. He's a former first round pick who never seemed to develop properly in Anaheim, but is still a pretty solid player. He's a very good addition to the third line.
Verdict: Stay

Jesper Fast, RFA
At only 23 years old, Fast solidified a spot for himself on this team with a great showing in 2014-15, restoring some dignity back to Brad Richards's old number 19. Throughout his career in Sweden and the minor leagues, he was known for playing good defense and skating well. He's never going to score too many points, but he continues to show an improving offensive game. The injury to Mats Zuccarello at the end of the first round, as well as the ineffectiveness of Martin St. Louis throughout the postseason forced Fast into a higher profile role with Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan on the second line, where he excelled. His forechecking is great, his speed not only fits his name (which, in case you didn't know, had an "h" at the end before he dropped it) but also New York's style of play, and he's young. That's probably the most important factor, and what makes re-signing him a no-brainer.
Verdict: Stay

Matt Hunwick, UFA
Hunwick carved out a role for himself in New York as a depth defenseman, whether it be providing energy out of the third defensive pairing when John Moore's play began to dip early in the year, or filling in when multiple defenders missed extended time with injury. I suspect that a lot of other GMs took notice of his performance, and are ready to hand him an enticing offer to join their third defensive pairing. He was nice for a season as he outplayed the pennies he was earning, but in the process, he priced himself out of the Rangers' plans. Not unlike Benoit Pouliot after the 2013-14 season, the Rangers just have to accept that he earned himself a bigger role in a different city.
Verdict: Go

J.T. Miller, RFA
Much like Jesper Fast, this young gun had himself a breakout season. After a couple of lackluster stints with the Rangers over the two previous seasons, Miller began to show why the Rangers took him with their first round pick in 2011. Whether it's playing on the third line, the fourth line, or even one of the top two scoring lines when called upon, Miller played very well. He's a big body who's capable of playing the center or the wing, and he uses his exceptional speed to simply blow by opponents at times. He's not totally polished just yet, but the talent is there, and he needs to stick around.
Verdict: Stay

James Sheppard, UFA

Simply put, Sheppard is like Wayne Gretzky compared to Tanner Glass, but Glass still has a year left on his contract, so Sheppard has to be on his way out, opening the door for Oscar Lindberg to claim the fourth line center spot.
Verdict: Go

Derek Stepan, RFA
This one is a no-brainer. Just look at how lost this team was without Stepan when he was injured at the beginning of the season. Considering his age, and his production, it's impossible to envision the Rangers moving forward without this star forward (I crack myself up). Surely, this is the most important move of the offseason.
Verdict: Stay

Martin St. Louis, UFA

After propelling the Rangers to competing for Lord Stanley's Cup in 2014, Martin St. Louis just finished up his final season in New York. He followed up his remarkable playoff run with an up and down season, and totally disappeared during the most recent postseason. He was ineffective throughout the playoffs, but his decline became more of an issue when the team lost Mats Zuccarello, forcing Alain Vigneault to trust some of the youngest players on the team in Kevin Hayes, Miller, and Fast, in much more important roles than originally anticipated. While those kids were all up to the task, a better performance out of Marty certainly would have helped, and maybe could have pushed the Rangers back into the Stanley Cup Finals. He aged very quickly, and while he's likely to keep playing and accept a smaller role than he's used to, there's no chance of that happening in New York. Farewell Marty, thanks for the memories. His '14 playoff performance will forever be etched in Rangers lore. Unfortunately for him, the same can be said about 2015, but for all the wrong reasons.
Verdict: Go

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chill.

Photo courtesy of ESPN
With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft...

*deep breath*

The New York Knicks select...

*deep breath*

Kristaps Porzingis.

*???*

Hmm. 

Here I am again, as the voice of reason after the Knicks selected an international prospect, and the fans booed him mercilessly. Three years ago, I was forced to defend Kostas Papanikolaou after the Knicks selected him in the second round, and guess what? I was right. It took him a couple of trades to find an NBA home, but Papanikolau landed in Houston, and was a legitimate contributor off the bench for the Rockets, which is great return for the 48th pick in the draft. 

This time, it's under a different regime, and it's a totally different situation. Porzingis isn't a late second round stash pick, he's a highly touted first rounder who's going to be expected to carry the franchise for years to come, well after Carmelo Anthony is gone. 

Porzingis is a massive talent, and I'm not just talking about his seven foot plus frame. No, he was not the safest pick on the board at number four. Justise Winslow, Stanley Johnson, and Willie Cauley-Stein just to name a few probably have a higher floor than Porzingis, but the sky is the limit for the Latvian. He can shoot, has great footwork on the perimeter, and can finish at the rim despite his excessively lanky frame. He was able to improve his post game last season, but it's nothing to write home about. He has tools that could make him a good defender, but his length alone will do for now. 

Clearly, he's a project. He needs to put on some weight to be able to handle the more physical style of play he'll encounter in the NBA, but overall he has a lot of skills and can be a force a few years down the road. 

So, why all the hate, the angry hot takes, the boos, the tears, and general hopelessness in response to this selection?

He's European.

Photo courtesy of NBA.com
So is the dude on the right, and I think he's okay. 

No, seriously, European big men are risks. Look at Andrea Bargnani, Jan Vesely, Nikoloz Tskitishviligiojgtiohyuihyuigtkosaskoprasopkakopogfnjtuioty (often shortened to Tskitishvili), and Darko Milicic.

Okay, I hear you, voice in my head. And I ask you, what is the connection between these players other than the simple fact that they were born in the same continent and that they're large? Oh, nothing? If "the Europeans" were all such busts, NBA teams would have stopped scouting players there a long time ago. Porzingis wouldn't have been considered a top tier talent in this draft for the past year if simply his country of origin were cause for major concern. Maybe talk to me about his build, or his questionable rebounding, and I'll listen. But throwing out where he was born is not a legitimate argument. The Gasol brothers, they're pretty damn good. That Dirk dude pictured above, he's not too shabby himself. Not a big man, but Tony Parker may have been the best point guard in the game at his peak. His European descent isn't an automatic black mark against him. It may raise some eyebrows, but his talent should put those concerns to rest.

Also, read this. Any questions?

He wasn't playing against good enough talent. Anyone can look good against the scrubs in Spain.

Or maybe he was playing in the second best professional league in the world, against guys much better than the majority of players in the NCAA. Put his Sevilla team up against Duke, and watch what happens. 

He won't be ready for a few years.

No, he won't be. News flash: neither will the Knicks. No matter who they happen to sign in free agency this year, whether it's the absolute dream scenario of LaMarcus Aldridge and Goran Dragic (which leaves the Knicks with no money to fill out the rest of the roster, by the way), or a more realistic combination of Greg Monroe, David West, and Patrick Beverley (or players of a similar caliber), the Knicks were in no way going to win the title this season. It's hard to hear this, I know, but they weren't going to win a title next year either. In fact, they're probably never going to win another championship, but let's not go down that rabbit hole. Yes, Carmelo Anthony is getting older and about to exit his prime, if he hasn't already. Yes, the Knicks have a chance to make the postseason depending on how free agency goes, and had the potential to augment their chances in the present day by grabbing a guy like Winslow. But, when afforded the opportunity to pick fourth in the draft, why not go for the home run? If handled correctly, Porzingis can be the franchise cornerstone this team needs to carry the torch in the post-Anthony era. 

He's a seven footer who can shoot. While that may remind you of Andrea Bargnani, there's a chance Porzingis is actually good at shooting the basketball. In the "pace and space" generation that the NBA is trending towards, having a stretch four as the team's best player doesn't sound too terrible. If he turns out to be a bust, it happens. It's part of the trials and tribulations of drafting players. And when it's clear that he's a bust, you're allowed to look back at the moment that Adam Silver read his name, and cry, and boo, and hiss. Then you're allowed to yell "Why Phil, why?" You're allowed to throw things and question why God hates the Knicks and their fans. You're allowed to travel back in time and hand your 2015 self a lot of hard liquor, with the warning, "you're going to need this in a few years, thanks to that seven foot brick machine." Then and only then are you allowed to write off Porzingis. That time has yet to come, so let's not end this guy's career before it even begins. Give it time. 

Woj.

Has.

Spoken.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Rise and Fall of Scott Darling

Photo courtesy of Inside Hockey
The date is Wednesday April 15.

It's game one of the playoffs.

The Chicago Blackhawks are in Nashville for what many expect to be a very closely contested series.

One period in, the score is 3-0 Nashville. Hawks goalie Corey Crawford was very shaky in the first, allowing 3 goals on 12 shots. The game is slipping away.

At some point during the intermission, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenenville looks at backup goalie Scott Darling and says, "you're in." I was surprised by the short leash, but clearly

I'm not sure whether to call him a star, a cult hero, or an internet darling (I swear, no pun intended), but this goalie from Lemont, IL became more than just a backup. He stopped all 42 shots he faced, and the Blackhawks came back to win the game in double overtime.

This wasn't your average 42 save playoff performance over 3+ periods, Darling made some absolutely spectacular saves, with this one probably being the best:


Great game from Darling, but it just made sense for the Blackhawks to return to Corey Crawford in Game 2. Darling's career was only 13 starts deep, and despite playing well in those starts, the sample size wasn't large enough to justify pulling the starting goalie after one bad period. 

Quenneville did just that, and the Preds proceeded to put up a 6 spot on Crawford in Game 2. Now the decision was easy. Crawford wasn't up for it, it was Darling's time. 

Boy, did he answer. 

In his first start, he stopped 35 of 37 shots, as the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead in the series. Two nights later, Darling reached his zenith. He made 50 saves on 52 shots in a triple overtime thriller in Chicago, as his team moved one win away from advancing to the next round. 

These numbers aren't really doing him justice. Saving 85 of 89 shots over 8+ periods of hockey in two nights is outstanding enough, but the way he reached those numbers was even better. A lot of the saves he was making would have been impressive even for the Prices, Lundqvists, and Rinnes of the world. He had people questioning if he was even of this species. In fact, Darling was even outplaying the opposing goalie, the aforementioned Pekka Rinne, during his time in Games 1, 3, and 4, which all ended in wins for his team. 

The good play continued for the first two periods of Game 5, a only Filip Forsberg was able to get past Darling with about five minutes left to go in the first. The score was 1-1 after two periods. Three minutes and fourteen seconds into the final period, the Preds were leading 4-1 after scoring twice in the last twelve seconds. 

Now, the goalie position was in question once again. The alien that possessed the body of Scott Darling had disappeared at the end of Game 5, and it wasn't clear whether or not it would ever return. 

All eyes were on the backup goaltender to begin Game 6, and 11:16 and 3 Predator goals in, Quenneville (presumably) sighed and called on Corey Crawford again. Crawford shut out Nashville for the rest of the game and the Blackhawks went on the win and advance. 

What happened to Darling was simple: regression. He's a backup who got hot, and he the hot streak ended. 

But now what does Quenneville do for the rest of the playoffs? Does he just have a short leash on Crawford and be ready to stick Darling back into the fray and hope he succeeds again, or trust that his sometimes inconsistent starting goalie will be able to turn it around himself when things go badly. Personally, I'd stick with Crawford, but it's a very tough call. Darling was incredible for a while, and earned three of the four wins so far this postseason. At the same time, he's a rookie backup. But, he's also the same man who caused my friend (who's a Predators fan because when choosing a team to root for he asked himself why anyone would put a team in Nashville, and decided to go with them) to make this proclamation:

We may see Darling again between now and June, or we may not. Either way, it was a damn good run while it lasted.

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 MLB Preview

Photo courtesy of Fox Houston
If you're reading this, it's too late.

(Is that a copyright infringement? Probably. What are they going to take from me? I'm still a minor.)

You're about to dive into a long preview of the entire baseball season that will be way too interesting to quit reading. If you've been on an island all winter and aren't prepared for this baseball season, I've got you covered. If you want to read this just so you can laugh at me when I make a bad call about Tanner Scheppers being good in his move to the rotation, only for him to give up 20 earned runs in 18.1 innings to start the year, and go on the DL for basically the rest of the season, come at me. (In my defense, Scheppers was pitching with an elbow problem, so his four terrible starts wasn't indicative of him being a bad pitcher. Plus, he's redeemed himself in my eyes with a killer videobomb.)

Let's get on with the division by division previews. As always, when I give best and worst case scenarios, I'm assuming the general health of their roster, because I'm not a psychic. If I were, I would have objected to becoming a Mets fan ten years ago, but I'm a mere mortal.

We begin with the AL East.


Photo courtesy of Fox Sports
1. Baltimore Orioles
Opening Day Lineup:
C Joseph
1B Davis
2B Schoop
3B Machado
SS Flaherty
LF De Aza
CF Jones
RF Snider
DH Pearce
P Tillman, Chen, Gonzalez, Norris, Jimenez

Team Outlook: Last year's division winners are in a good position to repeat as AL East champs as they pretty much stood pat this offseason. They're even adding talent, in the form of Matt Wieters about a month into the year to replace the offensively bad (in that they were so bad at offense that I was offended) combination of Caleb Joseph, Steve Clevenger, and Nick Hundley. Manny Machado will be back to start the year after missing the final month and a half with a knee injury. Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop were so bad for large chunks of the year that there should be natural upgrades at first and second base as well. There are concerns that their pitching staff will take a step back. Even so, their roster is still above average as a whole. This is a really good team who decided to run it back in 2015, and they should be successful. 

Worst Case Scenario: 84 wins. This is contingent on not only the Os regressing themselves, but the BoSox and Blue Jays taking steps forward, making this division tough to navigate. 

Best Case Scenario: 100 wins. After 96 wins last season, Wieters is a massive upgrade behind the plate, Chris Davis is at least consistently average, and the rest of the team repeats their performance from last year. 

Player to Watch: Kevin Gausman. Gausman was one of the top prospects in baseball prior to last season, and after pitching well to start the year in AAA, he was called up and provided good #2 starter production when he wasn't constantly bouncing between Norfolk and Baltimore. He's a flamethrower, averaging 94.8 MPH on his fastball, on which he is heavily dependent. As he starts to work in his off-speed stuff a bit more, he should be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won't start the year in the rotation, but it won't be long before he gets the nod. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dee Milliner Is Not a Bust

Photo courtesy of ESPN
In 2014, the Jets had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. In fact, it was one of the worst in recent memory. They ended the year with four cornerbacks, two of whom I had never heard of prior to them appearing in their Jets uniforms for the first time in Phillip Adams and Marcus Williams. Another one of those four corners was Kyle Wilson, who has been bad his entire career since the Jets spent a first round pick on him in 2010. 

The reason why the Jets were so thin and so bad at corner was partially due to John Idzik failing to upgrade the position too much during the offseason, but also due to other circumstances. The Jets cut Antonio Cromartie last year because he was terrible in 2013. It's now clear that his abysmal performance was because he was playing hobbled all year, and after a short stint in Arizona is now back with the Jets. Many cornerbacks were on the market in the spring of 2014, but most notably Aqib Talib and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the cousin of the then-former, now current Jet Antonio. Idzik stayed away from those guys, and, for a team that needed multiple corners, only signed Dimitri Patterson from the Dolphins. I wasn't in love with the acquisition, but I was fine with it because Patterson is a decent enough player. In the third round of the draft, Idzik took Dex McDougle out of Maryland. This meant that the Jets were set to pin the starting #1 corner job on the second year player out of Alabama, Dee Milliner.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brandon Marshall Trade Reaction

Photo courtesy of ESPN
On Friday morning, news broke that the Jets traded a 5th round pick to the Chicago Bears in exchange for Brandon Marshall and a 7th round pick. Just look at that sentence again. Fifth round pick, for Brandon Marshall.

It always amazes me how people can be so negative about moves that make all the sense in the world, especially when that move involves the Jets. Without delving too far into the territory of an ridiculously sensitive fan who can't take it when their team is criticized, it's unfair how the Jets are treated as a joke no matter what they do. 

This is the case with Percy Harvin right now as well, because their midseason trade for him has been widely maligned, when he was actually pretty good as a Jet, considering that he was thrown into a bad offensive system midway through the year. 

Excuse that angry rant directed at no one in particular, but it's been on my mind.

As for how this affects the on field product in New York, Marshall greatly improves a Jets team who were greatly in need of another receiver. I think Eric Decker is a number one receiver, and people who still vehemently refute that statement clearly did not watch enough of the Jets this past season. Even so, behind him are Jeremy Kerley, who is now able to settle into a more comfortable role as a third receiving option, Chris Owusu, and T.J. Graham. I really like Jace Amaro, but the Jets were in need of better players on the outside. And, look who's here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Remembering Sexy Rexy

Photo courtesy of NY Daily News
Both Rex Ryan and the Jets have moved on from one another in the past month. After the fourth straight season missing the playoffs, Gang Green fired the coach and have started a new era under another first time head coach, and star defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles. Ryan has chosen to stay within the division, and the state by going to the Bills. The dust has settled, so it's an appropriate time to take a look back at Ryan's run.

He came in as the neophyte coach who had made a name for himself by being the son of Buddy Ryan, and lived up to his father's legacy through 10 years in Baltimore. He began as the Defensive Line Coach, and eventually became the Defensive Coordinator, of the feared 2000s Ravens defense which was never ranked lower than 6th in the league while he was around. 

After failing to land a coaching job prior to the 2008 season, Ryan signed on with the Jets almost immediately after the Ravens were eliminated from the playoffs following 2008. Soon, he came on and took the media by storm. He was brash, sarcastic, and an overall quote machine.He started making guarantees from the first moment that he stepped into his officer. And for the first little while, it looked like he was going to deliver soon.

By now, we know that Mark Sanchez is a dud. He was a top five pick who is unable to carry a team, and will vacillate between mediocre and straight up bad. But in 2009, he was drafted to be the savior of the Jets, and Rex's boy for years to come.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

NFL Picks: Super Bowl

Photo courtesy of TIME
It's that time again. One of the best days in the year has arrived, dominated by pizza, beer, football, and explaining football to your cousin again. In New York., there's a distinct possibility that I will have a snow day this Monday, giving us all over here our rightful post-Super Bowl day off. Maybe this is the first step to making it an officially recognized national holiday!

I'm happy that it's actually game day, so we can finally end all the talk of deflated balls, fire alarms, and not speaking to the media, and actually focus on what's happening on the field, which is probably the most intriguing matchup of the 2014 season.

Here are the possible outcomes:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Live from New York, It's Saturday Afternoon Death


As I mentioned in my most famous column in July, I had never been to a Knicks game. I've lived in New York City for all of my 17 years and I had yet to go to one. Recently I've had multiple friends invite me, but due to various circumstances I've been unable to join them. And the tickets are so comically expensive for good seats that simply getting up to go to see the Knicks on a whim isn't something I've been able to do.

That all changed last Saturday, and I wish it hadn't.

In September, a friend, colleague, and minor internet celebrity offered me the chance to see a game on January 10 against the Hornets from a suite, with warmup passes for the pre-game, for a little over a hundred bucks. That's a great price for that type of experience, so I pounced. Even better, I fell in love with the Hornets during the offseason, and it looked like they were primed for a great season. At the very least, they'd be one of the most fun teams in the NBA. I adopted them as my second favorite team in the league. Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, whatever P.J. Hairston is, and the potential of Noah Vonleh looked like a team that could restart the Hornets Era in Charlotte with a bang. Even better, there's a chance that I go to college on the outskirts of Charlotte, and I was so ready to spend four years heading over to the arena to catch a true contender.

Well, that didn't happen. Stephenson simply isn't working out so far, and missed the game I was at. Jefferson did as well. This wasn't the Hornets team that I signed up for.

As for the home team, that certainly wasn't the team that I expected. I bought the tickets expecting to see Carmelo Anthony leading the team in scoring, followed by J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire, pesky perimeter defense from Iman Shumpert, and lackluster interior defense from Samuel Dalembert. And the Knicks expected that as well, I mean, look at the back of the head that was featured on this ticket! A man who currently plays in Cleveland.


Instead, as I got to our spot behind the benches for warmups, I was greeted by the sight of Lou Amundson on the floor. The man who was re-signed that morning after being waived immediately following his acquisition from the Cavaliers.

This was not a nice feeling. Amundson is one of the most non-descript, space-eating, big men in the league. He doesn't do anything. He's just there. He just there with great hair. Guys like him, Tyler Hansbrough, and new teammate Cole Aldrich are basically useless guys who simply exist. There's nothing to them. Amongst fans, the feeling is different of course, because Hansbrough has earned his reputation as Psycho T, Amundson has his beautiful hair to keep him from anonymity. Aldrich has nothing, but we'll get to him later.

After a rather un-exciting 20 or so minutes at floor level, including a lot of watching Quincy Acy jack up jump shots that he shouldn't be encouraged to take, it was time to head up to our seats. The view was pretty good, there was an abundance of food and drink waiting for us in the lounge, and we each got a Knicks drawstring bag with a T-shirt and cap inside.

The first order of business was to bow down to the New York Rangers' 2013-14 Eastern Conference Champions banner hanging across from me.

Soon, we got to the second best part of the entire game:



After this woman fidgeted, looked around, checked her phone, attended to a crumb that she thought she noticed on her shirt for over a minute, she finally looked up and noticed that the entire stadium had been staring at her. She was immediately followed by a couple that took a minute and fifty-four seconds to realize the big screen. This was incredibly fun. It was really messed up if you were one of the people featured on the Oblivious Cam, but fun for everyone else.

Then the game started, and the fun ended abruptly.

The Knicks sent out a starting lineup of Jose Calderon, Cleanthony Early, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Jason Smith, and Cole Aldrich.

That being our first team is not what I expected back in October.

It was during the first quarter that I made a pretty important observation about the Knicks and their roster. Cole Aldrich is not good at basketball. He's not one of those players like Tristan Thompson who has a redeeming quality in that he can crash the offensive boards with the best of them, I'm saying that Cole Aldrich has no legitimate NBA skill.

I'm saying this because he has hands of stone on the offensive side of the ball. But that's not why he's here I guess. He's here to be a big body and take up some space in the middle of the lane on defense to deter all attackers.

One issue: he's not good at that either.

The amount of times I saw this man over-commit on the pick and roll, leave the paint too early and get embarrassed as a quicker guard blew right by him as he slowly began to set himself into a defensive position was sickening. He's supposed to be a help defender. But when a help defender is not standing between the offensive player and the rim, that's a major problem.

The crowd was very into Langston Galloway when he entered the game. At that point it was only his second game in the NBA, and we were all pretty pumped about him after his great showing against the Rockets. And he was okay. He was pretty aggressive on offense and was not at all afraid of taking too many shots.

In fact, I think that the Garden was well aware that he was the only player who had yet to piss off the fans to that point, as they used him on the giant video board in the pregame.

Second game of his career, and he's by default a fan favorite.

The score was 21-18 Hornets at the end of the first, and that was just about the last time I paid attention to the action on the floor.

The second quarter was when I started to play a lot of Trivia Crack, and it remained that way for the rest of the game. It was during this time that former Knick John Wallace came by our suite to say hi, which wasn't too exciting for me because he was a Knick for a year, and that year was before I was born. But at least he signed this for me, so he's cool:


Every time I looked down at the court, someone on the Hornets, usually Kemba Walker, was scoring.

At least the cookies in the suite were really, really good.

Towards the end of the second, the PA announcer mentioned that the halftime entertainment would be a Kidz Bop Talent Show, to which I immediately yelled "that's disgusting."


Outside of the Oblivious Cam, it was the best hting to happen all day until the fourth quarter. That's a really low bar, but the three kids that performed weren't totally devoid of talent, unlike the Knicks.

During the beginning of the third quarter, I was more interested in sharing my NFL Picks that I had posted six hours earlier prior to leaving the house than in watching the game that was right in front of me. Why? Because the Knicks were down 62-31 at halftime and things were about to get worse.

The quarter ended with the Knicks down 89 to 44. That wasn't a typo. I watched the Knicks get more than doubled up through three quarters by a team that was ten games under .500 at the time.


Okafor chants filled the stands as we couldn't stand to watch this team anymore. Obviously the chants were in reference to Jahlil, but I think at this point I'd rather watch Emeka than anyone cuirrently on the roster.

After watching Jason Maxiell put up 7 points and keep gettin' dem checks (seriously, how is he still in the NBA?), we found salvation.

Now that's not saying much of anything, because the Knicks are so bad. But when you hit three treys in a row when your team scored only 44 points through three quarters, you're going to become a fan favorite quickly.

Don't be fooled though, I still hate Quincy Acy. I don't think he's much of anything. He should stop shooting so much. A man that attempted only 17 three pointers in 92 games prior to this season has already taken 18 this year. He's been good at it, but clearly he's not someone who has ever trusted his shot. Maybe he's added that to his game for the long term, but I doubt it.

As for the game in general, the fourth quarter was better, but the fans were apathetic. Just because they scored 38 in the fourth doesn't mean we suddenly cared again. Scoring only 18, 13, and 13 in the first three quarters is what lost us. That 28 point loss felt like a 78 point loss.

Immediately following the game, I bolted to the train to go to Hunter College to see the second half of my high school's homecoming game. They were down by 1 when I walked in, and lost to their bitter rivals (and a school that stole our team nickname) by 10 points. And that was the best basketball I saw all day.

I'm not going to let that experience deter me from ever going to another Knicks game at the Garden, but damn that was a huge slap in the face. I waited ten years just to see that.

NFL Picks: Championship Round

Photo courtesy of AOL
Last week I took four underdogs, and against the spread I went 3-1, with my only loss coming at the hands of a rather unnecessary Kam Chancellor pick six. Straight up, I whiffed on both Sunday games, picking the Cowboys and the Broncos.

Yes, that was a catch.

And of course Peyton Manning is hurt, it's felt that way for about a month and now we have confirmation. Hopefully this isn't the end for him.

While I went with all dogs last week, expect a slightly different strategy this time around.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.