The New York Knicks obituary was being written throughout Thursday, on various sports entertainment mediums, in expectation of another embarrassing playoff exit later that evening.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith delivered the soliloquy, even suggesting on his afternoon radio show that the Knicks should consider “trading Carmelo” in the offseason for “financial reasons.”
His premise was that the mega-contracts of Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and 'Melo have handcuffed the Knicks to the point where improving the team with any significant free agent acquisitions is impossible. Chandler and Amare are breaking down like cars without gas when Sandy hit. Therefore, Smith explained, 'Melo would be the only viable trade bait for the Knicks.
The Knicks must have been listening, because what a difference a couple of hours make. Before the game Chandler defiantly told reporters, “We are not going out like this.”
His truth has become Indiana’s terror.
The Knicks have returned from the brink of irreversible shame, by forcing a Game 6 back in Hoosiertown. All of a sudden things aren’t as morbid as everybody proclaimed. The Orange and Blue Bandits have removed a boulder of pressure the size of the Garden from their shoulders and transferred it firmly onto the back of the Pacers, who now have to win on Saturday to avoid retuning to the MSG for a Game 7 death-match.
Trust: Fred Vogel and his boys want none of that.
To allow the Knicks the luxury of ending a series at home, in front of what is sure to be a celebrity-ridden, boisterous and bravado-filled Rotten Apple atmosphere – after everything the Knicks have endured in this series – could only be some type of sick twisted fate.
It was "man down" all over New York City. The Barbershops were buzzing about J.R. Smith’s lack of commitment to basketball, choosing to run the streets with Rihanna, leading to untimely failed health and an extended loss of his jumper. Certain analysts were making a living off desecrating 'Melo’s name just like they did LeBron before he shut the haters up. Some cats were even putting Mike Woodson on the clock.
The situation almost hit rock bottom for the Knicks. The DJ was playing that fateful song, again. New York fans don’t really get down with half-hearted attempts at greatness, so, understandably, one-by-one, the city was turning on this Knicks organization and everyone associated with it.
Since Knicks fans are so good at calling their team bums when they ass-out, the classy thing to do would be to acknowledge their resilience, grit and ability to stop a gaping wound from getting infected. How ironic that the Knicks find themselves in a position of strength. Momentum is a mother and the Knicks are breast-feeding heavy right now.
The Pacers played tighter than the E train in rush hour and it will only get worse if the Knicks can push this series to Game 7 at the res’.