Saturday, March 25, 2006

In case you haven’t noticed, the Knicks hit rock bottom a while ago…

Filed under: — Larry @ 4:36 am

The word rock bottom has dual meanings. When used as a noun, it means the lowest possible level or absolute bottom. When used as an adjective, it means well below normal. So which of those definitions describes this season with the Knicks? Both do in some respects.

The Knicks hit the lowest possible level weeks ago and with the exceptions of a few wins here and there, they’ve stayed the course. But at the same time the second definition of being well below normal fits also because being 30 games under .500 is well below normal that had modest goals of being .500 heading into the season.

So why bring up this discussion of rockbottom? The only reason is because it was defined by the boss following another double-digit loss, 91-75 to Memphis. That debacle featured 20 turnovers leading to 31 points and was the 27th by double-digits this season.

“I don’t know any other way to look at it. We’ve been at rock-bottom for a long time. The reality of it is that if you don’t cause turnovers, get loose balls and don’t take things away from people, you’re going to get beat.” - Larry Brown (Newsday, NY Times)

The Knicks lead the league with 16.5 turnovers per game and a lot of those come in the form of bad passes or offensive fouls, which means they aren’t even getting a chance to score and the other team gets a shot at the dreaded transition basket, the one that coaches can’t stand.

In those 27 double-digit losses, the Knicks have committed 20 turnovers or more 14 times. In those games, they have committed 504 turnovers and that averages 18.8. And we’re sure Brown has some awareness of this based on this:

At halftime I think out of 47 points, 27 of them came out of either turnovers or second shots,” Knicks coach Larry Brown said. “And then in the third quarter, I think we were down 24, I looked they had 28 points off turnovers and we had two. And I think that’s been the case all year.” (AP).

That’s 504 wasted possessions because of carelessness with the ball or mental blocks or just plain old execution. Maurice Taylor, whose named had been thrown around in Friday’s POST in one of those package deals on draft day, was the leader in the clubhouse with one every six minutes (five in 30 minutes).

That’s not to say turnovers can’t be overcome. In each of the last three seasons, the most-turnover prone team has made the playoffs but that appears to be an exception because in the 16 of the previous 18 seasons, the most careless team in the league has been among the worst with the exception of the 1996-97 Knicks and 1997-98 Cavaliers.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Check out this mock conversation between Marbury and Francis

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Marbury and Brown - Serenity Now…

Filed under: — Larry @ 3:21 am

Have you had enough of this nonsense that’s generated by two key protagonists - Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury. It seems that this pairing is truly the one that isn’t going to work like many correctly predicted. Two New York guys, one a winner and the other that has yet to win anything in the NBA. One has a team approach and one comes off as an indivdualistic and that clash has become the 18-45 disaster that occupies the worst record in the NBA.


You get the feeling that Brown going to the media to respond to Marbury’s comments is kind of like that Seinfeld episode when Frank Costanza uses a relaxation tape and yells “Serenity Now” to combat his anger.

And while Brown is doing this, Marbury must be doing the same thing George Costanza said about Lloyd Braun, “That’s all I ever heard growing up is, “Why can’t you be more like Lloyd Braun”. Marbury must be thinking Brown has been saying, “Why can’t you be more like Eric Snow”.

Well it’s probably a stretch to say either side is doing that, but you get the idea. Brown has wanted to make Marbury more of a team player, something Marbury was more than willing to do when they won six in a row two months ago. But now that they’re losing in epic numbers, Marbury wants to go back to being this “Dude Named Starbury”. We’ve detailed the first wave, which occured after Saturday’s loss in Charlotte and here’s the latest:

This is from Brown as published in the TIMES and other places:

“Look, I’ve been coaching how many years? I never left a team in worse shape than I got it. Not one. Now think about that. Think about me and think about the guy who’s talking,” he said, referring to Marbury. “I never left a team in worse shape. Never asked anything of my players any different than I’m doing right now. Think about that. Think about that.

“So the bottom line is, I want us to rebound, defend, share the ball, play hard. That’s all. If you can’t do that, if that’s not important enough to you, it’s not on me. It’s not on me. And you owe it to your teammates to do that every single night if you care about the right things. We’re 17-45, all right? So we’ve got to figure out a way to get better.”

On Wednesday, the both sides were further locked in offering these statements that appeared on ESPN Insider and were posted earlier on Henry Abbott’s cool site

Marbury:
“I think it’s personal now. I don’t think it’s about basketball anymore. Now it’s to the point where he’s putting his 30-year career against my 10-year career. You know, coach is a great coach is what everyone says. We’re supposed to be better than what we are. Did it happen now? No.

Brown:
“So, you’re the best guard in the league and the team is 17-45, yeah, it’s the coach’s fault.

Marbury:

“If coach is comparing his career to my career, he’s got like a 20-year edge on me. To me that sounds like a lot of insecurity is going on. … He’s speaking on things he’s done, and I think people in New York want to know what he’s going to do, you know, as far as us winning. What happened in the past is the past. I think New Yorkers can relate [to] what’s going to happen now. We live more in the present.

“He always crosses the line. That’s not nothing new. Certain coaches deal with certain things certain ways, and he handles his things through the media as opposed to sitting down and talking with people. And still, if you sit down and you talk with coach, it’s liable to get back to everybody, so you’re really not safe there either.

“I want to play basketball in New York. I love New York, and I believe New York loves me. … I’m at the point where I just want to win, and I want to play in New York more than anything in this world. But if that’s not happening next year, I can’t cry about it. I’ve been in this situation before and I understand, I know it’s a business.

Brown:

“I’m the coach of a basketball team, and the only thing that matters to me is that we play the right way, share the ball, try to guard and care about our teammates. I’m going to focus on that. I’m not going to focus on things that have nothing to do with being a good teammate. I’ve been coaching the same way my whole life. Things that really matter, I’ve said over and over and over again. It’s amazing to me. I’ve never had a problem getting people to understand that before, and it’s mind boggling to me after we win two games that it becomes an issue. So I want to focus on guys that are trying to do the right things to help our team win, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

“I don’t know why you play a team sport and not be concerned about making your teammates better and helping your team win games. That’s the only thing that really matters, and if you’re the best player, surely you’re going to have some effect on the game’s outcome. And I’ve said this from Day 1, I’ve never given anybody in my career more free rein. In my career. And I went to the conference finals with Haywoode Workman as the point guard. Eric Snow was the fourth-string point guard in Seattle, and we went to the NBA Finals [with Snow in Philadelphia]. I’ve been around guys, and every good team, it’s all about team, and that’s what we’re going to try and get. You want to come and join that? That’s fine. That’s the only message that needs to be sent. You want to be part of the team and make your teammates better, you want to care about the right things and playing the right way, this is a pretty good place to be. You don’t have that on your agenda, then this is probably a bad place to be.

Most coaches go mum on stuff like this, but not Brown, who has no problem going to the media with his airing of grievences and based on the record, he has a lot. It’s not as fiery as Billy Martin, who would have no problem telling the media who he has issues with but it still not be the greatest tactic.

It’s also a team game and that will never change no matter what third person reference Marbury refers himself to being. And considering, that it’s been said recently that those who are unwilling to do what Brown asks will be sent packing, this is truly a fruitless battle for Marbury.

And it’s not going to get any better considering that Marbury was on the court for a 34-point third quarter and then off it when Brown finally did the right thing and go with the youngsters, who led the Knicks to a 121-117 2OT win over Atlanta. With Marbury reduced to cheering for the team, the Knicks won for just the fifth time in the last 29 games.

And while wins might forget whatever tension or philosophical differences between the two, it still will be there. Marbury’s reaction may seem normal to him but in most workplaces when the boss offers criticism, the two sides usually try to think of ways to improve.

However, it’s different when your boss goes public with his displeasure. Although it’s always been a method of Brown, it usually fails. For some, it’d be hard to be motivated to do anything for this guy if he always went public with his negative comments.

And that’s probably how Brown appears to have lost Marbury. But at the same time, Marbury had to know what Brown’s methods are, considering it was published that he talked to a guy that’s come out pretty well from the Larry Brown experience - Chauncey Billups.

But everyone knows defense wins and Marbury has to try to be better at it. He can’t argue with officials and then make a half-hearted attempt to get his hand in a guy’s face like he did with Ben Gordon on March 3.

Either way, it’s the theater of the absurd and probably could have its own laughtrack if it were a network sitcom. As for the future, there’s 19 games remaining and 14 of them present a chance for the Knicks to be spoiler (although you might want to eliminate games against Detroit and Miami)

Moving on to more pleasant things, we present “This Date in Knicks History”, sponsored by nobody:

3/16/99 - Knicks improve to 14-9 with a wire-to-wire 113-89 blowout of the Clippers. Latrell Sprewell scores 20 of his 31 points in the first half. Allan Houston adds 24 and Larry Johnson adds 20 as Knicks shoot 56 percent.

3/16/96 - In their second home game under Jeff Van Gundy, the Knicks get 26 points in a 94-88 win over the pre-Iverson Sixers. Knicks win the game despite allowing the Sixers to make 54 percent of their shots. Of course the Sixers only have 59 attempts while the Knicks have 85 due to 24 Philadelphia turnovers.

3/16/93 - Win number seven of a nine-game winning streak is a 102-99 defeat over Milwaukee. Patrick Ewing scores 35 against the following starting five: Anthony Avent, Brad Lohaus, Frank Brickowski, Blue Edwards, Eric Murdock.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury find themselves in a personality crisis as Knicks derail for the 24th time in 28 games…

Filed under: — Larry @ 3:17 am

For two games the Knicks seemed to find their peace and harmony. But that’s what happens when you win, as NBA players like to cliche, everything is good, the food tastes better, etc.

But when you lose, all that other stuff comes back to the forefront, although certain things probably never left. And one of those things was the ever popular Stephon Marbury-Larry Brown clash, crisis or whatever you want to call it.

You might remember this from such previous episodes such as “Stephon wants to be a two-guard” or “Larry thinks Stephon doesn’t want to shoot. Each followed losses and the second installment preceded the best stretch of Marbury’s season, a tease of a six-game winning streak that lasted for two weeks before this inept stretch.

This latest episode is “Marbury doesn’t have that kind of freedom”. That’s based on him taking a swipe at Brown after comparing the freedom that Charlotte rookie Raymond Felton has under Bernie Bickerstaff.

The comments also had him talking like Rickey Henderson in the third person with the nickname. They looked like this

“I went into this year trying to do something, to put myself in a situation where we can win, okay?” Marbury said on Saturday. “To help the team win games. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, what do I do now, as far as the way I play? I go back to playing like Stephon Marbury, aka Starbury. I haven’t been Starbury this year. I’ve been some other dude this year.” (DAILY NEWS).

The old dude reverted back to his aggressive ways scoring 25 points Monday. But only eight came in the second half when the Knicks shooting began to wear off and the defense that never really showed up was more exposed as Carmelo Anthony did whatever he wanted to the tune of 35 points from all over the court inside the 3-point line.

A lot of coaches look at video of games to find a number of things and one is contested shots. The Nuggets were able to make 50.6 of their shots and with just guessing a majority of them weren’t contested. It’s nothing new for the Knicks, who are 1-12 when the opponent makes half their shots.

Marcus Camby was back and had a nice game of 10 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. It would have been nice if he was doing that for the home team considering he’s 31. He might have helped Brown avoid statements like this:

“We’re losing games because we’re not guarding, we’re not sharing the ball, we’re not taking care of the ball and we’re putting people on the free-throw line. And I didn’t have that problem in Philly, I didn’t have that problem in Detroit, I didn’t have that problem in Indiana, I didn’t have that problem in San Antonio, I didn’t have that problem with the L.A. Clippers, I didn’t have that problem with the New Jersey Nets.” - NY TIMES.

Numbers don’t lie. The Knicks allow 101.7 points, turn it over 16.8 times per game, assist 20.4 times per game and put people at the line 30.2 times per game. The Pistons, who set the standard for the Eastern Conference have the same numbers but at 89.4, 24.4, 10.7 and 20.5. We all know who has the better record as a result of all that stuff. (NOTE STATS THROUGH SUNDAY).

As for the present, 20 games remain but by the time April comes rolling around it will be old news as baseball comes back and the Rangers begin a playoff series, something that seems light years away for the basketball team at the Garden..

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Way to run the plays… Knicks find another but not surprising way to lose…

Filed under: — Larry @ 2:54 am

When they acquired Steve Francis to play alongside Stephon Marbury in the most expensive backcourt ever, it was all about getting better or so they said. Well after four straight blowouts to open that chapter in history, the Knicks have gotten better in the last two with the scores.

What they haven’t gotten better in is paying attention on the court. On Wednesday, Stephon Marbury was left to guard Pau Gasol in Memphis after David Lee stood motionless on a defensive switch and that led to Gasol’s game-winner. Fast forward two nights later, the attention issue was a bit more of a focal point as a 16-point lead was blown in a 108-101 loss to the Bulls.

It’s now 22 of 24 losses and six in a row and based on the thoughts of Larry Brown, someone wasn’t paying attention in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.

Up 101-97 with 1:33 left following a Francis 18-footer, all the Knicks had to was hit another shot or two and play some defense. What ensued next was horrendous, awful or brutal.

Nobody got a hand on Ben Gordon when he hit a 18-footer with 1:22 left. Marbury then missed a layup and Eddy Curry blew a dunk. But the Knicks still had the lead but Marbury was late (that’s putting it nicely) in getting to Gordon, who promptly took Kirk Hinrich’s pass and buried a 3-pointer with 31.7 left.

Gordon’s 3-pointer didn’t spell game over. But what happened next would as Francis turned it over twice, losing the ball to Luol Deng and then getting called for a charge on Deng.

The numbers in the final minutes, four points in the final 3:30. None in the final 1:22. 11 for the Bulls in that same stretch and 43 out of 58 games are losses - the worst mark in the NBA.

BROWNSPEAK: “We had four straight possessions, we called something and never got into any of them. Never got into any of the plays we were calling.” - NY TIMES

MOST COMMONLY HEARD RESPONSE FOLLOWING A CLOSE LOSS: “Without a doubt, we’re getting better. But now we have to take that all-important next step and learn how to win.” - Malik Rose (NYKNICKS website)

THIS DATE IN KNICKS HISTORY:

3/3/98: Charles Oakley totals 13 points and 16 rebounds in a 94-91 win over the Nets. Larry Johnson scores 23 and Allan Houston adds 20 as Knicks almost blow a 12-point lead but improve to 9-2 since the All-Star break.

3/3/96: John Starks scores 21 off the bench, Hubert Davis adds 18 in a 109-94 home win over the Warriors. It’s the penultimate game at the Garden for coach Don Nelson, who will be replaced a week later in Philadelphia by Jeff Van Gundy.

3/3/94: In the second of 15 straight wins, Patrick Ewing finishes with 28 and 16 in a 97-86 win over the Nets. They will not lose again until April 5.

3/3/92: Knicks begin a 13-3 stretch with a 102-83 home win over Dallas. Xavier McDaniel and Starks each score 18 apiece while Patrick Ewing finishes with just four

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Strategic Planning 101 - Give Away your number 1, add millions upon millions = worst team in the NBA….

Filed under: — Larry @ 10:43 am

For those expecting an earth shattering statement from owner Jim Dolan Wednesday, here’s one. Based on the current strategy, a word which was uttered 31 times according to the Bergen Record the Knicks will be a contender again in at least three years, maybe four. So in the meantime you can expect the same nonsense for at least seven years, the same amount of time that the Rangers screwed around and became the laughingstock of the NHL, a league that forced them to change their ways with a new operating system.

Chances are the operating system of the NBA will still be the same by then and based on the current track record, the Knicks could still be muddling around.

Dolan makes one road trip every season and this one was it. He met with players on Tuesday and yesterday in Memphis told reporters this statement that appeared in the DAILY NEWS and elsewhere:

“I can’t say it to you any plainer than I’ve already said it. I’m not making a change, guys. We’re going to continue on the strategy. I believe in the plan. I believe in the strategy. I believe in the guys that are executing it. Maybe some people think I’m brain dead because of that and the record. But you know what? Time will tell.

“There is no magic wand to wave over this team to make them a contending team (Isiah) will persevere through the rather difficult time now and you will see that people will be lauding his job later on. Now, they’re looking at the record and going ‘boo.’ I don’t blame them. I guess in some ways it’s to be expected.”

This is what the plan has entailed so far. Trading away a lottery-protected number 1 for Eddy Curry, a very inconsistent player. Drastically overpaying a center (Jerome James) based on a few hours of good basketball. Adding two players that approach 20 million dollars per year in salary (Jalen Rose and Steve Francis).

And where has it gotten them? It’s led them to a 15-42 record with nearly half being of the blowout variety. The latest one was a 101-99 loss in Memphis, where at least they showed some hope and lost by one possession for just the sixth time all year.

They couldn’t have played any worse than the two previous games in Washington and San Antonio, where they looked well indifferent would be the nice way of putting it. At least they cared enough that they were in a position to have a chance for a win and were actually defending Pau Gasol somewhat decently, well as well as you can with a 6-2 guy (Stephon Marbury) caught on a switch when David Lee did not rotate down low.

As for the rest of the season, will the Knicks show this same effort the rest of the way? Based on their track record, probably not. But then again do they really have a choice, especially now that they have the most ping pong balls for that number one pick that Chicago owns.

BROWNSPEAK: “I’m in this for the long haul. I told everybody, I’m not giving up. I know it’s going to get better.” - on people saying he’s going to the quit (DAILY NEWS)

In the meantime if you don’t wait out Dolan’s three to four years, try making some trades with ESPN.COM’s trade machine

So what did we come up with?
1 - Jamal Crawford to Phoenix for Raja Bell and Boris Diaw
2 - Eddy Curry to San Antonio for Manu Ginobili
3 - Steve Francis to the Lakers for Kobe Bryant
4 - Jerome James to Denver for Earl Boykins and Greg Buckner
5 - Stephon Marbury to New Jersey for Jason Kidd and Nenad Krstic
6 - Quentin Richardson to Sacramento for Ron Artest
7 - Jalen Rose to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett
8 - Maurice Taylor to Cleveland for Zydrunas Illgauskas

G: Bell, Ginobili, Bryant, Boykins, Buckner, Kidd
F: Diaw, Artest, Garnett, Frye, Lee,
C: Krstic, Ilgauskas
Spares: Robinson, Woods, Butler

Of course, you have to suspend any type of reality with these moves. None would ever happen in real life

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don’t Watch, We’ll Save You the Ending…. Knicks clinch fifth straight non-winning season with latest debacle

Filed under: — Larry @ 3:57 am

As the Knicks lose game after game and draw further ridicule from all areas, it is hard to comprehend how they ever put six straight wins together. A Knick game these days is like a bad movie that has all the predictable cliches and for them it’s - no defense, wide open shots by the other team, down by 10 after one, 20 after three and sometimes 30 when it’s all said and done.

All of those have been present in the last four games and throughout most of the 2-20 stretch. They’ve been rather evident in the 110-89 mess in Washington and the 121-93 debacle in San Antonio - their 19th one-sided loss of the season (>/11 points).

Do you realize that three different players this year have shot 100 percent against the Knicks this year? Richard Jefferson was 8-of-8 on December 26, Nenad Kristic was 11-of-11 Friday and Michael Finley was 8-of-8 Monday.

You could laugh if you like comedy (highest payroll in the NBA, highest paid coach, inept GM, makes for a real slapstick) Or you could be mortified at what’s happening, which should be the reaction if you’ve seen the teams of the late 1960s and 1990s. Obviously the team was rebuilding or at least showing some semblence of it before adding the likes of Jalen Rose and Steve Francis.

But the definition of rebuilding is to get better and show some progress. And if last year was like your first paper in a class that got a C, then this year is clearly a “F”. You always look at the schedule and see if you can find any winnable games. But based on what we’ve seen from Larry Brown’s program, his players are like the ones that are sitting in the back of the classroom, chewing gum and staring into space.

So you wonder, what’s the point? For now, even the Knicks might be starting to realize that. In efforts to keep ticket sales going, they are touting things like “Come See the Knicks take on LeBron, Wade etc. So the only reason to watch besides seeing how much worse they can get is to see things like Gilbert Arenas’ 33 first half points or the Spurs 72 percent shooting through three quarters.

The Knicks clinched their fifth straight non-winning season and 24th overall. Here’s a list of the dates they clinched some other non-winning season (notice none of the months start with a two)

2004-05 - 3/29/05
2003-04 - 4/02/04
2002-03 - 3/28/03
2001-02 - 3/21/02
1990-91 - 4/10/91
1987-88 - 4/08/88
1986-87 - 3/01/87
1985-86 - 3/03/86
1984-85 - 3/02/85
1981-82 - 3/21/82

BROWNSPEAK: “Everywhere I’ve been, every place I’ve ever coached, I always felt we were getting better. “I ain’t giving up here. But it’s embarrassing; every game to go out like this and I don’t see one change in the effort or the enthusiasm or unselfishness.” (MSG)

“We cut it to 7 at the beginning of the third quarter, and then I don’t remember us making a pass, except to them.” (NY TIMES)

It looks like this will lead to a major sitdown and we’re not talking Tony Soprano, Johnny Sack and Little Carmine. We’re talking this man:

This Man:

And the Man that Signs the checks:

According to the Star Ledger and other outlets will have it later this morning, this sitdown will take place in Memphis later Tuesday and will be one of those “State of the Team” type conventions..

WORTH MENTIONING: It must have been the presence of the Spurs and their five guys that did not play college or high school ball in America, but can anyone think of a foreign player that the Knicks have ever developed? It’s amazing in this day and age how they haven’t especially when you consider 21 NBA teams have at least one in their rotations.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another couple of million gets added with Steve Francis…

Filed under: — Larry @ 4:23 am

What was rumors a week ago became reality as the Knicks got another version of Stephon Marbury when they acquired Steve Francis from Orlando. On the surface from a talent standpoint it would seem to be a good deal but there’s other factors at work.

Although Larry Brown has said he doesn’t believe in positions like the two or the one, both players are shoot-first point guards even with Marbury’s apparent adjustment to Larry Brown’s system. Both are also 29 and have big bucks coming their way and that makes more dubious salary cap history for the Knicks in the form of the most expensive starting backcourt in NBA history.

And then there’s the knucklehead factor. Francis couldn’t adjust to a taskmaster like Jeff Van Gundy, blowing off a practice to show up at the Super Bowl. And with Orlando, which got him for Tracy McGrady, he was suspended two games for not coming back into a game that a was rout and that’s after he whined his way out of Vancouver, which drafted him behind Elton Brand in the 1999 draft.

Don’t forget he’s another player that Isiah Thomas has acquired that was unwanted by his previous employer. That sounds like a dubious sign, especially since Thomas has acquired some of those types in the past (Marbury, Curry, Crawford) and when you consider all it took was Trevor Ariza and expiring contract Penny Hardaway, well that sounds like a guy fitting that description.

So add Orlando to the list of teams that Isiah has helped get better (financially or wins and losses). The Suns saved some money by getting rid of Marbury and that allowed them to sign Steve Nash and we see how that’s worked out. The Bulls saved a lot of money by sending Crawford and Curry away and will have one of the top five picks in 2006 (maybe) and some big bucks to go after some free agents. (Kevin Garnett, Al Harrington etc)

And another thing to note is these comparisions to Earl Monroe and Clyde Frazier. We read about them last week on Isiah Thomas’ comments in the rumor story and now Brown brought it up when telling the public what a “fan” of Francis he is.

While most of New York is skeptical, after all wouldn’t you be when a team is 15-38? One former Knick coach isn’t based on this comment to the STAR LEDGER:

“I think they’ve turned the corner. They’ve accumulated a tremendous amount of talent. Ever since he’s (Isiah’s) come here, the talent level has gone through the roof. That’s all I know. Now, whether or not that’s going to work one day, is going to be up to whoever coaches the team. … I think it’s a gift for the Knicks, basically.” - Pat Riley

As for matters on the court, Francis didn’t play but had a good view of the latest disaster a 103-83 loss to the Heat. It was the 17th loss in 19 games and 21st overall by double digits.

A 32nd different starting lineup tried and failed even on a night when Shaq was in foul trouble and Dwyane Wade couldn’t shoot well. It was a double-digit deficit most of the way even with Marbury’s return from the shoulder injury that rendered the Knicks helpless.

There’s not much to say about the game, other than the Heat look like a team that’s starting to get it together. This was their fourth straight win and that amazingly tied a season high for them. But they look poised for a good stretch run and a likely date with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals.

As for the Knicks, who knows what lies ahead. They began the year with four guards and now have five, although Richardson can play some forward not that that is any consolation for this disaster.

Francis will make his debut against team that’s the anti-Knicks (then again almost everyone is these days). He’ll be part of starting lineup number 33 when the fun-to-watch Nets and pass-first point guard Jason Kidd comes into town looking for another win over the Knicks.

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