Wizards-Knicks Loss Hodgepodge: Spike Lee, Missed Bunnies, Amar’e Beats ‘Em Down & Arenas’ Pippens
Prominent film maker and New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee was the court-side guest of Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis at the Wizards game last Friday night, a 101-95 Knicks victory. The duo struck up a friendship while Leonsis made his first film for his movie production company Snags Films, and Lee will return the favor by hosting Leonsis for a Wizards-Knicks game at MSG in New York. Lee’s presence highlighted the boisterous number of Knicks fans littered throughout the Phone Booth. Shouts of “M-V-P!” showered upon Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks’ recent stellar play obviously motivated the fans of the away team to be louder than usual.
The crowd was still 70-30 or 60-40 Wizards fans, but the heavy noise of Knicks cheers made it seem like the home team was outnumbered. Washington’s own sideline heckler and basketball personality, Miles Rawls, shouted across the court at Leonsis to move Lee down to a different spot. Unlike some of those scattered online voices who were critical of Lee’s seat, I am perfectly OK with it because the owner can host anyone he wants to. Lee’s appearance is positive exposure and maybe a rivalry in the future. I am more worried about Al Thronton’s continued disappearing act and trying to comprehend how Kevin Seraphin can go from starting to inactive in back-to-back contests.
Yi Jianlian missed two easy And-One opportunities in the first half. Both are shown above, one was after a wicked no look feed by John Wall. I decided to use this as an example because it seems to be an epidemic among the Wizards big men. (Sorry to pick on Yi, as he is not the only culprit, although his hands could use some stick-em, LOTS of it.) Wizards guards penetrate, make a sound dump off pass to a big, only to watch the catch-able ball slip out of their hands for a turnover or have them miss an easy bunny. The frustration on the faces of Arenas, Hinrich and Wall is highly visible. This is not a source of angst for Nick Young because let’s be honest, Young only drives to score and refuses to create scoring chances for his teammates. The reason I point this out about Young is he drawing more attention due to his hot shooting and solid play, yet, this has not increased his assist total in any significant manner whatsoever.
Boomani Jones, sports radio host of The Morning Jones, is one of my daily podcast listens and loves to use the phrase “Beat Em Down” when describing situations like Lebron James punking the Cavs in his return trip to Cleveland. (It even has its own Twitter hash tag, #beatemdown.) I kept hearing Jones’ hilarious “Beat Em Down” mantra in my head while witnessing Stoudemire dismantle the Wizards, finishing with 36 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, an impressive 10-11 from FT line, two blocks and yes, an eye popping 11 turnovers. It was not just Stoudamire’s power flushes in transition, automatic elbow jumper or inside defensive prowess, but the guy’s overall presence was exceptional. It was like everyone knew he was the best player in the building and very little could be done to neutralize him, other than hope he turned the ball over (11!) or missed.
Stoudemire was vocal on both ends and damn intimidating whenever he was on the court. He received an early technical for barking at the refs. I made out clearly his complaint: “That is TWO calls you missed! Wake up, wake up out here!” After receiving the tech, he kept woofing and woofing, louder than he had originally. The ironic part is that it woke up Amar’e, who then scored three straight buckets, including a backboard shaking dunk.
Bullets Forever’s Mike Prada and I were discussing after the game how dumb it was for Phoenix not to pay Stoudemire and the conventional wisdom criticism that his success was largely based on Steve Nash and the Suns system seems clearly absurd.
Stoudamire’s 6-6 showing from the charity stripe down the stretch and key block on Wall with 45 seconds left that iced the game away for the Knicks, a block after which Amar’e seemed to stare down John forever. However, the play that stands out came with around 1:20 left. McGee gambled on defense, Stoudemire blew by him, went up to the rim, and Wall helped to prevent the make while he was fouled by the recovering McGee. Stoudemire immediately shot Wall a quick “nice try rook” look. It was that MVP-type glare seen above that fiercely glowed from Amar’e’s face as Wall humbly dapped him out. Amar’e still stared, chuckled to himself, and this small encounter impressively foreshadowed the TKO swat that would soon be delivered.
Gilbert Arenas Shoes Update: While the Dolce Gabanna choice in L.A. is still creating buzz, Gil decided to rock the 1990′s Scottie Pippen Nike Air More Uptempos vs the Kinicks. In the locker room before the game, Arenas said his other choice was the Jason Kidd shoes, which are likely the Nike Air Zoom Flights 95, so stay tuned for future sneaker developments.