Monday, April 23, 2012

Ron Rons' Back

"It's not a basketball play man". Understatement? Yes and considering it was coming from one of James Harden's teammates, even more so. We all saw it, we all know what happened. Ron Artest, not Metta World Peace, gave the soon to be NBA 6th man of the year a shot to the face he won't soon forget. In return, David Stern is going to give Mr. Peace a suspension he and the Lakers won't soon forget. Let's hold up and back track here for a second. We all remember how Mr. Artest earned his reputation for one of the baddest men in the league. Malice in the Palace. It all started with a foul on Ben Wallace, a push back, a thrown cup and the rest is history. But, we are encouraged to forget that. That was Ron Artest. This is Metta World Peace we are dealing with. He is a changed man; poised to help squeeze whatever is left out of the dynasty the aging Lakers have built. The shutdown artist and three point specialist has just thrown himself, his team and his city under the bus. And wouldn't we all like to know how and why? But, why would we ask that? We all know the answer, but we do not want to face the reality. Metta World Peace, the man who turned it all around and won a championship, who gave the ring away and now craves what he used to have. Who is determined to do whatever it takes. That same man let Ron Artest take over for 5 seconds and now will cost his team dearly. Two years ago this team could have done without him and they did so yesterday. But, with the playoffs now just two games away, an intricate piece to the Lakers fabric will and should miss at least 7 to 10 games. Let me say this. I have a special place in my heart for athletes who get second chances. I want to see them succeed, but something like this I cannot bear to watch. He has taken the sport I love is has disgraced it on every level. Being emotional is a key part of the game, but wearing your emotions on your sleeve( or in his case his elbow) will not get you too far with your team, fans and Mr. Stern. I hope his suspension is long and deals a huge blow to Lakers playoff hopes. Yeah, I hate the Lakers and I always will, but this is about more then the team. I want Mr. Peace to know what happens when you make a terrible decision like that. David Stern is going to have to play the roll of father to one of his many children that are NBA players. He will have to make an example of Peace for two reasons. Firstly, so he can learn his lesson. Secondly, to send a message to the rest of the players. This is basketball, not UFC.-Josh Neighbors

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In the Knick of Time

On March 12, the New York Knicks suffered a 5-point loss at the hands of the East leading Chicago Bulls. Two teams heading in seemingly separate directions.The Bulls (35-9) pursuing a #1 overall seed in the playoffs and the Knicks (18-24) fading fast, losers of 6 straight games. Linsanity had come and gone. Mike D’Antoni was gone two days later and left Mike Woodsen with the framework of a much desired revival that never seemed to get off the ground. Questions swirling, is Carmelo as good as we think he is? Is Amare still a dominant inside threat? Are these additional parts overrated (JR Smith, Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler) worth the price? And the biggest one of all, can this team defend? All the sudden, the 8 seed in the East and an early round exit would seem to suffice for the Knicks. But something changed, and the Knicks won 5 games in a row. In only one of those games, New York allowed more than 100 points. It was 9 days later that interim head coach Mike Woodsen would get his first taste of losing as an NBA coach. And following that loss, the Knicks ripped off 3 more wins. Two of them minus Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. How were they doing it without two of their “Big Three”? Is it possible? Did Mike Woodsen tell his team they can stop other teams from scoring? That is one theory, or you have the other one, Carmelo Anthony is taking advantage of his counterparts absences and re-asserting himself as a dominant force. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. It appeared to be the case today in New York.
The Knicks (28-27) have been tearing it up as of late, but need that signature win. Chicago rolls in on Sunday for a nationally televised game. At (43-14), the Bulls are in terrific position. Derrick Rose coming back for the game in New York is another extra boost. The Bulls did not show up ready to play, and the Knicks took advantage. At one point, they held a 21 point advantage on Chicago. But the pesky Bulls bared down, and began to grind it out. They dug into the Knicks lead and by the fourth quarter possessed a lead of their own. Derrick Rose was taking control. But in the closing seconds, they could not make their free throws and left the Knicks with a three point deficit. Carmelo got the ball and hit a deep three to tie the game up and sent it into overtime. MSG had not been so alive since Linsanity. But during overtime, Derrick Rose began hitting big shot after big shot. The Knicks were down two and after many hectic shots and tip backs they had the ball with about 15 seconds left. Carmelo took the ball up top and went to work on Luol Deng. With 8 seconds left, he rose up and nailed a three over top of Deng to give himself 43 points on the day and his team a 1 point advantage, which they held onto with terrific defense in containing Derick Rose, forcing a fall away runner as time expired. The New York Knicks had won an absolute dogfight against the best team in the conference. The days hero was no doubt Carmelo. He simply willed his team to victory and has set a tone for the rest of the season. This Knicks team is highly motivated and is lead by the hottest player in the NBA right now. New York will be facing either Chicago or Miami in their potential first round playoff matchup, however if you expect this Knicks team to roll over, you will receive a surprise from Carmelo Anthony and HIS Knicks team.-Josh Neighbors