Believe it or not, this picture was taken a couple of years ago, not during a Knicks practice prior to Mike D'Antoni's departure. Jeremy Lin will bring his mismatched collection of stars/superstars/fading stars and bit players to the WFC tonight to take on the Sixers in an Atlantic Division showdown.
I hate the Knicks. You hate the Knicks. We really don't need to dig too deeply for motivation in this game, and I'm hoping the same goes for the guys on the floor. Try to lure Melo into playing iso ball. Stay between Tyson Chandler and the hoop. Pressure the hell out of Jeremy Lin. The formula hasn't changed from last Sunday just because they have a new coach. If you want a goal, here it is. A big game from both Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, just so I can stop reading about how they don't work together.
That's pretty much all I've got on the particulars of this game, so let's spend a second talking about the Knicks. If you've been in a cave since the lockout, this is their season in a nutshell: They stunk up the league, Mike D'Antoni's job was on the line, luck put Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on the shelf at the same time Jeremy Lin was forced into the starting lineup. They won six games in a row, all of a sudden, they were title contenders and Lin was the MVP. Anthony and Stoudemire came back. The Knicks stopped defending. Mike D'Antoni got the ax. Mike Woodson took over, Melo and Stoudemire started actually trying (not because they care about winning, but because they care about how they look, and by playing good now, they can show everyone they weren't the problem, D'Antoni was, when clearly everyone was and still is the problem).
So now Mike Woodson has taken over and the meme out to the media is that Woodson is finally letting the Knicks' "superstars" be superstars. In the blink of an eye, the talking heads around the league have gone from praising Jeremy Lin as the savior to the comfortable perch of there are only a few legit superstars, and we'll tell you exactly who they are. They've gone so far as to say the Knicks probably won't even re-sign Lin at the end of the season.
Philadelphia can be a hard place to play, but it's really nothing compared to New York. In Philly, basically everyone hates you unless you prove you're the absolute best and/or you achieve some success by working harder than everyone else, and by working harder, I mean hustling when you're on the floor. In New York, the pain doesn't come from being hated by everyone, it comes from having the brightest spotlight in the world shining on you - even if you haven't really completely earned it - and then in the blink of an eye, it's gone. Vanished. You're a king one day, irrelevant the next. The storylines the writers create dominate everything. Anyway, long story short, Jeremy Lin has picked his game up a little bit recently and the Knicks defense has been much better in this four-game winning streak. Melo is still Melo, Amare is still Amare and the Knicks are still what they always were, a sub-.500 team with 500 reporters following them around desperately trying to put a crown on the next guy.
Just go out there and destroy them on national TV tonight, huh?
Tip is at 7pm, on ESPN. Game thread will land around 5.