Halftime of the Suns-Cavs game. Suns lead by two.
Me: See, right now the Cavs are running with Phoenix, but they're just not used to running that much, so they'll get tired and Phoenix will pull away towards the end of the third quarter.
James: Isn't that what always happens?
Me: Shut up! I'm being an expert!
Incidentally, my prediction was correct.
So I was just watching the Suns-Spurs game and reading Sports Illustrated's postseason suggestions for various Eastern Conference teams unlikely to make the playoffs. Each team had a little list explaining what the team needed, like so:
NEW YORK KNICKS
What they need: Perimeter shooting, youth, lobotomy
Yes. Lobotomy. That's actually what the article said. Mocking the Knicks is practically a SportsCenter requirement. And that's when it all hit me.
This is all on purpose.
At some point a couple of years ago, Knicks owner James Dolan realized that the Knicks were just not really doing that well in multiple senses. They were on the decline, maybe making the #8 seed to get swept in the first round. They still had the blue-collar, defense-heavy, boring-as-hell-to-watch image. And worst of all, nobody talked about them.
That's when he hired Isiah Thomas.
And ever since, the Knicks have been constantly in the news. Sure, they're known as the Titan-Knicks and the NBA's laughingstock, but there's no such thing as bad publicity! And Forbes just named the Knicks the most valuable franchise in all of sports, so it must be working!
And really, is it conceivable that one guy could continue to do the same ridiculous stuff -- trading for drama-prone players with huge contracts, overloading at one position, drafting Renaldo Balkman -- over and over again and not only get to keep his job, but get even more responsibility in the form of coach? And upon becoming coach, would add new habits like threatening to break opposing players' bones? His boss is a guy who must have some small sense of business acumen in order to afford to own the Knicks. Really, how stupid could James Dolan be?
But he's not stupid. He's crazy like a fox.
New York wasn't going anywhere interesting as far as basketball, so why not embrace the high-camp performance part of it? They've got the dysfunction of the Lakers and the haplessness of the Hawks. They're the Schadenfreude Special.
And really, the Knicks are providing the storylines Sportscenter is hoping for. After twenty years of Larry Brown's shenanigans, who didn't get a kick out of it finally blowing up in his face? And fights! They're supplying not just fights, but coach-initiated fights! Isiah's feuding with everyone in the league! He had to be held back from the Spurs' bench! And he's not getting fired! Dolan and Isiah are playing the system! This is staged like some VH1 Celebreality!
And hell, it's even working from a business sense! If I were in New York with free time and money to burn, I might consider going to a Knicks game just to have an excuse to sit there and boo Isiah for three hours!
...You know, if I can figure this out, anyone should be able to. Why hasn't David "Because I'm the Commissioner, That's Why" Stern fined somebody yet?