Took in the Knicks/Celtics at the Garden today. It was a 1 p.m. start, which means it's a bacon game—as in the media dining is breakfast. Mostly fatal products, including undercooked, greasy bacon, sausage links, scrambled eggs, pancakes and donuts. No wonder so many sportswriters are fat.
Sat next to New York 1's Tom McDonald in the Gate 64 pressbox, and at the end of the game (a three-point Knicks loss, dropping them to 5-11 overall), he brought up a good point. If the Knicks head coach were someone other than Larry Brown, wouldn't the media be screaming for his head? One could also question the moves of GM Isiah Thomas, but for now let's stick with Brown.
He hasn't exactly looked like a genius. In fact, one could certainly assume that Herb Williams would have the Knicks at 5-11 or better right now. Don Chaney, too. Meanwhile, Brown uses substitution patterns that make no sense (including today's benching of November Rookie of the Month Channing Frye after he'd been introduced as a starter), using 10 different players in the first quarter alone. Malik Rose, stuck to the bench for the entire game, came in for the first time with 10 minutes to go in the fourth. And Maurice Taylor didn't get off the bench at all. Stranger still was the notice in the press room that Matt Barnes had been released. Barnes, you'll remember, made the team as a training camp invitee, and was the STARTING SMALL FORWARD on opening night. Figure that one out.
Brown's teams have historically had slow starts, and this Knicks squad is a particularly young group. Which is another issue—why Brown even took the job in the first place. This is a very un-LB team. Lots of rookies, score-first guards, no blue-collar defense-first guys. Their best rebounder is shooting guard Quentin Richardson. While the Knicks may have been Brown's dream job, this roster was probably his nightmare. It's like when Jason Newsted joined Metallica then discovered that they weren't all that interested in playing heavy metal anymore.
But Brown did take the job, and the expectations that came with it. He's got a good crop of rookies—Isiah can draft real well, it's just too bad he builds the rest of the roster like a kid with dad's AmEx Titanium card—and centers who are roughly center-shaped, but not much else. The playoffs are a possibility, but one that's shrinking with every passing loss. Maybe LB should have simply kept dreaming.
Random thought while discussing Kobe with ESPN mag writer Chris Broussard—is it just me, or is he trying to live Michael Jordan's career backwards? First he got the rings in the triangle while still getting his numbers, and now he's shooting 40 times a game on a bad team. Maybe Phil Jackson needs to give him a copy of The Last Season.