A lot has been written about last Wednesday’s epic battle between the Celtics and the Knicks as Madison Square Garden. Boston prevailed 118-116 when officials properly ruled that Amar’e Stoudemire’s potential game-winning three-point shot went through the hoop a split-second late.
While the home team played fairly well and with passion, what had to be disconcerting to fans was the inordinate number of shots the Celtics took close to the basket. The Knicks had very little presence in the paint and had to drain tough outside jump shots to compete. After the game, Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni tried to downplay the fact that the Celtics knew how to get better real estate on the hardwood with their possessions. If the Knicks are to ever be among the NBA elite they have to box out their opponents.
Former Knicks forward and Springfield Gardens native Anthony Mason was at the Garden that night. “Mase” told me that he has started a men’s clothing company, Custom Kings, and is looking for a distributor. “I’ll be at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February trying to get a deal done,” he said. His oldest son, Anthony Jr., who played for the St. John’s Red Storm, is now with the Sioux City Skyforce of the NBA Developmental League. “He can’t believe that South Dakota gets so much snow!” Mason added with a hearty laugh.
SNY Mets broadcaster and former Amazins’ first baseman Keith Hernandez was at Strawberry’s Grill in Douglaston last Saturday. Asked his thoughts on the personnel moves, or lack of them, by our local teams, Hernandez harrumphed, “I don’t think about baseball during the off-season!” Mets fans might be wise to follow Keith’s philosophy.
I never thought the Jets would win in Pittsburgh, but they did last Sunday, 22-17, although in typical fashion they tried their darnedest to give the Steelers the game at the end. Twice near the end the Jets had the ball and needed to get just one first down to run the clock out. Of course, they couldn’t do it. Even worse, the defense twice allowed Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to complete passes on third down and long yardage in the final two minutes, which nearly led to a game-winning touchdown as time was expiring.
You couldn’t blame Giants fans for experiencing a painful sense of deja vu as their team experienced one of the worst meltdowns in NFL history, letting a 31-10 mid-fourth quarter lead over the Eagles turn into a devastating 38-31 defeat, with the most memorable play being DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return into the Giants end zone as time ran out. For longtime Big Blue followers, memories of Nov. 19, 1978 came rushing back. That’s when Giants QB Joe Pisarcik fumbled a handoff to Larry Csonka when all he had to do was kneel down with the football to end the game. That devastating loss also came at the hands of the Eagles.
Expect Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson to be traded shortly. At age 41, Roloson can still play well and is one of the few Isles who has value to playoff-bound teams.