The New York Knicks are in the rare position of both being at the bottom of the standings and not being hurt in any way by winning basketball games. Utah owns their first-round pick this summer, so winning and losing is really meaningless to the Knicks at this point. It must be liberating. Preview and game thread after the jump.
Honestly, this must be a liberating season for D'Antoni. There's zero pressure on him to win games. He doesn't really have to worry about player development either. Sick of a player's act? Bench him for a month or so, like he did with Nate Robinson, and more recently with Chris Duhon. He's only got three players who figure to see any minutes next season: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas. Everyone else on that roster is basically a dead man walking, and D'Antoni can treat them as such. The Knicks are putrid, yet still second in the league in attendance and they've seen a huge uptick in season ticket sales. When they lose, no one cares. When they win, everyone is shocked and amazed by D'Antoni's genius. Seriously, coaching the Knicks in 2009-2010 is probably the best coaching job in all of sports.
As for their play, well, they have the exact same record as the Sixers, who most definitely have something to lose by winning, gain by losing. The Knicks, who have done everything in their power to get rid of contracts (and talent) in an effort to position themselves as free agent players this summer, have the same record as the Sixers. The same Philadelphia 76ers who have, until very recently, actually been trying to win games. It sickens me.
Anyway, reasons to watch (beyond the critical lottery standings):
- Jodie, Jodie, Jodie. Meeks saw first quarter minutes last night. I'm thinking we may see even more of him tonight. Maybe he'll actually do something when he's on the floor.
- Kapono? 25 minutes last night, led the team in scoring, contributed pretty much nothing but scoring. More of the same?
- Three-point defense? The Knicks will shoot enough threes to make you cry. If they're hitting, we're in trouble.
- No defense needed. This game will probably not be for the faint of heart, but I am expecting some monstrous dunks. The Knicks don't blow assignments so much as completely ignore them. Run a little bit of offense, you can get to the rim.
This is your game thread. I don't need to impress upon you any further how useful a win would be for the Sixers. Join me if you can stomach it.
UPDATE: Lou Williams is out with a back strain. Starting lineup is Jrue, Iguodala, Thad, Brand, Sam. So add this lineup to your reasons to watch. Our odds of losing just decreased, I believe.