March 2, 2011

Live From New York...it's a Knicks-Magic Replay with Captain Clutch.


Tuesday night. Knicks vs. Magic. In Orlando. We are obviously pulling for our hometown Knicks here at CDTF. I am sitting with my best friend Carl, also known as C.J., a casual sports fan who I have suckered into watching the game with me. This is how our conversation went down on g-chat: 
me:  if you dont want to sit and watch bball, i understand, but i obviously want you to come over
Carl:  lol what are you thinking for food
me:  i will add in your thoughts, since they probs wont be bball-related. you can be my color commentary!
Carl:  are you calling me colored?
me:  im down for any food
Carl:  are you calling me colored?????
me:  you are my favorite color. the color of AWESOME
Things you should know about Carl: 1) by day, he is the assistant director of something geeky at a prestigious financial firm (seriously, we talk about it all the time, and I still have no idea what he actually does; it is like Chandler with the WENUS on Friends); 2) by night, he is the president and co-founder of the Downtown Kingdom of Awesome, the area of Manhattan where we live and from where we rarely venture; 3) on the field, he is the captain of the One-Sip-One-Flip! reigning champion kickball team; and 4) on the beer pong table, he is known as Captain Clutch. Carl eventually wandered over with food from the, as he called it, “dirty Indian place.” It was delicious. At one point, I thought that I found a piece of beak in my rice.  But here we are, ready to live-blog the hell out of this game. Let’s go Knicks!

Pre-Game: What are we to make of the Knicks 2.0? On one hand, the Knicks have provided the lowly Cavaliers with 22% of their victories this season. Meaning two.  Two victories. Out of 11 total. One of those came last week.  The following game, however, on Sunday night, they played the Heat in Miami and had a thrilling comeback win that made me totally ignore the Oscars.  So I have no idea what we will see tonight.  There hasn’t been much time to practice and they are obviously unfamiliar with one another. But the Amar’e-Melo-Billups threesome is promising. For real. In other news, who is this bitch Tina Cervasio? Should I know her? I don’t. She seems like an ugly Erin Andrews. Which means she is useless.  She just read a quote from some player: “I just try to play as hard as I can, I never look at the faces or names.”  Carl’s response: “That is how I have sex.” Moving on.

First Quarter: Magic win the tip and get a quick two points.  On the Knicks’ first trip down the floor, Melo misses, but puts in his own rebound.  I like his tenacity. La La is wearing off on him.  Also? There is no scoreboard or clock posted on the TV screen right now. Which is sort of driving me insane. 

Howard and Amar’e tie-up, with STAT showing some nice defense.  Howard wins the jump ball, but Billups tips it ahead, runs down the ball, flips it behind him to Shawne Williams.  I could write an entire blog post about the fact that he spells his name with an E.  Regardless, beautiful play by the Knicks, who lead 4-2. I think. 

Dwight Howard misses a monster dunk. And then he followed it by fouling Amar’e.  Who then followed a ShawnE Williams miss by fouling Howard somewhere near the three-point line.  We are swapping fouls here like STDs at a whorehouse. 

10:05: OMG, thank the Jesus, we have a scoreboard and clock now. The camera just found Chris Duhon, who taught me how to play beer pong in college.  I heart Chris, he is hilarious. It should be noted that both him and J.J. Redick, another friend of mine from Duke, play for the Magic, while fellow Blue Devil Shelden Williams was just traded to the Knicks in the Melo saga. So three Dukies are in the house, and that makes me like this game even more. 

9:33: The Knicks just had a stunning sequence in which they took about four shots, got three offensive rebounds, and scored 0 points.  Landry Fields is flying all over the place. Spike Lee calls him “Muddy Fields,” because he is always muddying things up.  The Magic, on the other hand, are turning the ball over like crazy. And, just as I type that, Shawne Williams throws the ball out of bounds with a pass to Chauncey Billups that was approximately eight feet over his head. 

8:46: J.J., who looks especially white, is entering the game for the first time.  As he does, Carl says “Hey Snowflake.”  One time, during an ice storm which rendered Durham incapacitated, a friend and I were beating J.J. by five cups in pong.  This was in a frat house dorm room at about 3:00 a.m. and we were wasted.  He then bet us that he could drain the last six cups in a row. We were kicking ass at the time, so we took the bet even though the stakes were extraordinarily high.  We then watched in disbelief as he hit each cup, one-by-one.  When he hit the final cup, the room exploded. We fled in shame.  There is more to this story, but we should probably get back to the game. 

Carl:    Who is the hottie?!
Jill:       What are you talking about?
Carl:    Snowflake. Who is Snowflake?
Jill:       <laughter> <pause> You are kidding, right?
Carl:    Who is Snowflake?! That’s not J.J., is it?!
Jill:       I thought you knew Snowflake was J.J. when you first made the comment!
Carl:    I had no idea! Go back!   

He then made an astute comment about how the clock goes down in basketball and not up, before asking if I could “please find J.J. again?” I am laughing and no longer have any idea what is going on in the game. But there is a timeout and it is 6-4 Knicks.

8:23: Richardson takes a terrible shot and misses by about three feet, but Dwight Howard follows with a slam. Tie game, 6-6. Carl asks in complete seriousness: “Are we going to see him again?” I then realize that he is still talking about J.J. We proceed to talk about how much hotter J.J. has become since school. I mean, it really is kind of remarkable.

8:02: Fields misses a three-pointer, but J.J. nails one from the other end. 

Carl:    Oh yeah. He is hot. Hot, hot, hot. Can we not call him J.J.?  He is a grown man.  Doesn’t it sound ridiculous? It sounds ridiculous! I know that a lot of people call me C.J., but it is different, right?
Jill:      You know I call you Carl because I hate C.J., right?

5:58: There has been a bunch of back and forth, a lot of fouls, some turnovers, but Melo just dished a sweet alley-oop pass to Ronny Turiaf for an awesome dunk.  12-11 Knicks.  Wow there is a shot of Billups’ head and it is so shiny and sweaty. Like a glittery diamond, shimmering in the hot lights. And it causes him to hit a three! 15-13 Knicks.  But then Amar’e fouls Howard and everyone is going crazy.  Stan Van Gundy is furious.  He looks like a fat little Mario, looking for his life partner Luigi, angry that he keeps getting attacked by devious walking mushrooms. 

Shelden Williams just entered the game for the first time. In fact, this is the first time he is stepping on the floor as a Knick.  And now Chris, J.J., and Shelden are all on the court at the same time and the Cameron Crazie in me just wants to headbutt the television in excitement.  And just as I type that, J.J. scores with a nice finger roll. I wonder how many girls said those very words in college.  17-15 Magic.


3:57: The Magic went on a roll, particularly Dwight Howard and lead 23-15. The Knicks need points.  Timeout New York.  They are showing an interview with Coach Angry Mario, wherein he calls the Knicks assholes for haggling over Timofey Mosgov.  Carl says “I do not think I like that man very much.”

This is Shelden's sixth team in five season, which is sort of awful.  He takes a pretty quick shot that misses and follows it with an immediate foul. Not a good first minute for Shelden.  But all of the former Blue Devils are on the court at once.  14-0 run by Orlando.  The camera finds Jameer Nelson and Carl says: “I miss Sisqo.”  When asked why, he explains: “That guy is short and looks like Sisqo.  It just reminded me about him, because Sisqo was awesome. And I miss him.” Okay. In other news, the Knicks suck right now.

1:52: Knicks are picking up their defense a bit, but that doesn’t say much.  Turnover by Orlando. Anthony Carter steals the ball, who passes ahead to Melo for the slam.  The teams trade buckets and turnovers.  Quarter ends 32-21 Magic.  They were 11-14 from the field! 11-14! Howard had 17 points.  This at least has to get better, right?

Second Quarter: Foul on Clark to open the second, with Amar’e going to the line. The awful announcers are talking about how there is going to be a technical called soon because everyone is arguing with the refs. Let’s hope so. That will this more interesting for everyone involved.  Carl and I are discussing our future kickball recaps which are sure to be epic.

11:02: Knicks have definitely tightened their defense and the Magic have gone cold.  Bill Walker with the huge three! Knicks within 6, 34-28.  After another Magic turnover, Toney Douglas takes the ball down the court and attempts a terrible floater. He missed. Then Duhon is fouled by Bill Walker, who picks up his third personal. Go have a seat, big fella.  Amar’e hits a nice 10-foot jumper – release, rotation, splash!

9:14: Toney Douglas misses a three, but there is good ball movement by the Knicks. This game is very physical. J.J. is fouled. At least he can still sell a non-foul like no one else. Ugh, Tina is back. She is joined by Jared Jeffries.  She is much too perky. Jared is excited. He wants to be part of the MSG atmosphere. He is there for defense. A high energy, 6’11 guy with size, who can guard inside and out. He is playing tomorrow and will be wearing #9. Which is what MJ used in the Olympics.  After the interview, the announcer asked who is “MJ? Michael Jordan?” I mean, what other MJ is there?! I don’t understand. Is it because he is shocked that MJ would waste time talking to some giant beanpole Knick? Otherwise it makes no sense whatsoever.  Magic are ice-cold.  Defensive three-seconds called on Hedo Turkoglu, one-shot technical.  37-35 Magic.

6:45: Jameer Nelson just dribbled past the Knicks’ defender, about two feet in front of basket. Everyone kept expecting him to kick it out, so no one collapsed. And then he was like there, in front of the basket, alone, and ran back out with the ball. It was so weird. The crowd sort of booed. It was super strange. The Magic miss, again, and the Knicks take over.  Amar’e comes running out of no where to slam it home. Holy shit, it’s tied.  39-39! Billups then drains a huge three! The Knicks are on a 17-5 run. I am stunned. I like these Knicks, they are fun to watch. And this is why the Melo trade had to happen. We care again, this is exciting, there is real hope.  Before this season, I don’t think that I watched a full Knicks game since fifth grade.
4:41: Billups drives for layup, but there is a foul called on Turk. Wait, a technical? I am confused. Show me some replay here, zebras.  Oh, he sort of like gave the ref a what-the-fuck throw my hands up thing. Weak tech. I think they feel like they had to put an end to the aggressive madness. And bitchiness. There has been a lot of bitching in this game.  Hedo has no points in 12 minutes. Carl and I are eating cupcakes and discussing the pros and cons of cream-cheese frosting. Also, the mystery that is red velvet. It is “no chocolate” says Carl. 47-44 Knicks.  Wait, apparently someone has been thrown out of the game?  Hedo was thrown out! That was his second technical, issued for something he said while sitting on the bench. Does Hedo even speak English?

3:17: Melo has nice, quick layup, but Billups then picks up his second foul. This game is very foul-ful. The refs are whistle happy.  They are trying to keep order, but come on – let them play. This is now a good game.  The Knicks are struggling from three-point land, but lead 52-47.  Turiaf just got elbowed in the face, stayed with Howard, and then blocked the hell out of the ball. That was awesome.  

1:24: I see some weird dragon green creature with pink horns kind of plodding along on the sideline. Am I stoned? Howard misses a free throw, but what else is new? Knicks rebound, and Landry hits the 3. Knicks up by 11!!!! I am shocked, shocked I tell you. What a crazy 23-point turnaround.  That’s it, 58-47 Knicks.  The Knicks outscored the Magic 37-15 in the second quarter; the Magic were 3 of 17 for field.

Halftime: This was a tale of two quarters. Knicks have just been super solid. They stepped up their defense and Billups is having a huge game.  HUGE. He has arguably been more important and impressive than Melo, and Melo has been great for us so far. Eventually, the Knicks could be the real deal. This game is exciting, but there is a lot of basketball left.

Start of Third: Carl is talking about my “Box ID.”  It has something to do with the 4x fast-forwarding function on my DVR. “If your uniqueness is attached to your actual box….,” and then he said something else in non-geek speak, but I was still giggling about my box. The quarter starts with a bunch of missed three-pointers on both sides.  Which Knicks team will we get this half? What about the Magic? This is exciting!

9:52: Melo drives and scores. Knicks by 10.  Can we talk about how much I hate Carmelo Anthony’s chin beard thing?  It would be different if it was like trimmed and groomed.  But it is so gross looking. La La needs to get on that immediately.  Jameer Nelson is running all over the Knicks, hitting sweet reverses and whatnot.  Melo follows with a nice spin move – and one! The bucket and the foul.  He has an adorable smile afterwards.  The announcers called it a “mesmerizing move” and then said “watch how he gyrates.” This is like late-night skinemax. Sort of dirty, but nothing to really blow your mind. 65-56 Knicks.

7:28: Nelson hauled ass and again hits an easy layup. What the fuck, help-side defense? What the fuck?  Ohhhh, Fields gets a pass from Billups inside and goes up on J.J.  Another and-one!  Billups has impressed the hell out of me. I love him. Nelson hits another three, Amar’e follows with a long two, wow.  The third quarter is very back and forth so far.  Shawne with an E Williams now has 4 fouls, too.

5:48: Magic with nice bucket, Knicks are up 73-65.  Oh, but not as good as that beauty!  Billups takes the ball up to the top of the key. He then makes a sweet bounce pass, between his legs and behind, to Amar’e. Amare goes up, draws contact, hits the finger roll and gets the foul. Sweet play. Carl and I are discussing his friend’s lost cat. It was a black cat named Lil’ Kim. Which I think is precious. So if anyone has Lil’ Kim out there, please cease your cat abduction and return her.

3:59: After our mini-discussion, I look up and the Magic are back in it and Turiaf is getting T-ed up. Ugh. 76-72 Knicks.  But then Billups hits a huge threeeeeeee. Wow! WOW. MELO with another hugggggge three! Back to back, bitches. Knicks back up by 10! Clearly, I must watch, because when I do, good things happen. The Score Whisperer is rubbing off on me. 

2:06: Carl hates that people call him “Melo.” I hate "Carmelo," so I guess it is the best of two evils? Toney Douglas is called for a weird foul while the ball is loose. He apparently grabbed Chris Duhon’s leg, sending him to the free throw line. It didn’t look like a foul. Chris missed. Orlando is the worst free-throw shooting team in league. 

35: Howard has a nice spin move and baseline jumper. 84-79 Knicks. Carter airballs an open three at the buzzer. Um, okay. I don’t even know what to say about that shot.

Fourth Quarter: HERE WE GO WOW THIS IS ACTUALLY EXCITING SERIOUSLY IM NOT KIDDING THE KNICKS ARE EXCITING ME THIS IS CRAZYTOWN USA I AM PURPOSELY NOT USING PUNCTUATION TO MAKE THIS LIKE A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU YOURE WELCOME

10:48: STAT opens with a jumper. Knicks up by 7.  But then he picks up his fourth foul. ARGH. But then the Magic missed the free throw. They really do suck at this whole free-throw shooting thing. And missed the second too! WOW. Bill Walker threw a ridiculous airball three and then gets called for the technical.  That was awful.  1 point game. 86-85.

9:00:  Jesus Christ. Anderson hits another 3. Now the Magic are up by one.  The Magic gave up their 12 point lead in the first-half. Now the Knicks gave up their 11 point lead. Knicks turnover, only their second since the first quarter. Then a foul, Howard to the line. He has had a great game with 26 points so far. I will be disappointed if we lose. Not because I expected to win – I didn’t. But because they really made me think they could win. So we will see. Don’t break my heart, Knicks. The flame has been rekindled, but I am not putting out if you fuck this up tonight. Howard fouls Melo, and Melo hits both. 92-90 Magic.

7:24: Howard gets it right back. Then they get a three. Billups misses an awful three. Everyone is complaining. Billups picks up the foul. There have been SO MANY fouls. Amar’e drives baseline and gets the bucket and the foul. Howard didn’t protect the baseline at all, giving him a free path to the basket.

5:15: Jameer Nelson is on fire. He is draining threes like whoa. He is 7/8 in this half. Wow, another bucket. He just drove and spun. Ugh. I am getting depressed. 108-99 Magic. But now Nelson is hurt? Well, that was not the way I wanted to stop him.  The Magic had to foul Billups to stop the clock for a replacement. 108-101 Magic.  But now Nelson is back in. What the hell was that?!

3:30:  Richardson misses a shot and thought he was fouled. He throws a hissy fit after the play. And now gets T-ed up.  WOW. This could be a game-changer. Then Richardson fouls Melo, too. The crowd is booing. The game is getting sort of hostile and violent.  There have been 89 free throws so far! They are showing an old man, like 98-years-old, throwing a tantrum and just freaking out in the stands. People are angry! Knicks down by 6. 

3:19:  Goaltending by Amar’e. Questionable call, but I think it was a good one. Turnover by the Magic, then Billups fouled. This is the most free throws that Chauncey Billups has ever taken in his career; he is 18 for 20 this game. Jameer Nelson hits a long two, with his foot on line. He is unstoppable. Wait, whaaaaat?! Billups is limping. Why, why is he limping?!! Oh wow. Howard purposely stuck his knee into his leg, as he ran around a pick. That is fucked up. Billups is really hurt. Howard just took out Mr. Big Shot!

2:00: We desperately need a defensive stop. The Knicks are still down by 6.  Okay, we got the stop but our offense has disappeared. Where is Melo? Where is STAT? Fields misses a wide open three. Knicks look defeated. I feel it.
46 seconds: Sigh, so disappointing! After three awesome quarters, the Knicks just fell apart in the fourth. Losing Chauncey hurts, clearly. But Melo and Amar’e just disappeared down the stretch. The Knicks took awful shots and missed them by a mile.  

Final: 116-110 Magic. This was a playoff-type atmosphere, and I am impressed – especially after only playing together for four games – with how the Knicks look.  As we saw against the Heat on Sunday night and again tonight, they can compete with the top teams in the East. They are back, baby! 

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