Opening Statements: Wizards at Knicks, Game 28 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Knicks, Game 28

Updated: December 25, 2014

Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks - Nov. 30, 2012

It’s Opening Statements, Christmas edition! I asked Santa for a Wizards win, but he never got me a Nintendo, or Super Nintendo, or Sega Genesis, or proof that he had saved part of the rainforest on my behalf, so … hopefully someone with more pull has asked as well.

Bradley Beal, Mr. Broadway, is on track to play after going through the post-elbow-to-the-dome concussion protocol following Tuesday’s loss to the Bulls.

Joining me today are Angus Crawford (@arkcrawford), of NBA Australia, and Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta) of Knickerblogger, VICE, the Cauldron, the Classical, and many others. They’re here to answer some seasonal questions. Let’s get it.

Teams: Wizards at Knicks
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York
Television: ESPN, CSN
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 5.5 points.

Q #1: What would you get the Knicks for Christmas/Festivus/Chanukah/Kwanzaa? There’s a $25 limit. Please don’t say “a lump of coal.” That’s not a present, even if you can buy it as a novelty online.

@arkcrawford: ‘Tis the season, right? Firstly, nothing seems more appropriate for these Knickerbockers than the traditional Airing of Grievances. I’m sure management could trawl through their extensive Rolodex and haul Jerry Stiller (a.k.a. Frank Costanza) all the way to Tarrytown, N.Y., to flesh out the prickly differences that have beleaguered the Knicks through thirty games.

Picture it: Far away in the corner, a sullen, fedora-clad Carmelo Anthony confronts his darkest existential thoughts, pondering what might have been this past summer, as the perennially chipper Pablo Prigioni consoles the oft-forgotten Andrea Bargnani in Italian, and Sam Dalembert struggles to deliver a message to Earl Smith III—“Pour quoi ne pas parler de moi, Earl?”
Costanza enters, to the chagrin of head coach Derek Fisher, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it.”

“Fisher, you couldn’t install a geometrically sound offense if you had a hot date with a babe… I lost my train of thought.”

It’s going to be another long, frosty winter for the Knicks, and if nothing else, the sombre climate of the locker room ought to be numbed for a moment… or seven. So, with my scant budget, I’m fetching the squad a communal serving of ouzo. Just enough for each player to knock back a thimble full, and let their minds drift away from the misery of the 5-25 start.

@BobSaietta: Oh man. What do you get the kid who needs pretty much everything? I mean, this is like buying presents for an orphanage and really fretting between a GI Joe and a Barbie. They’re in a goddamned orphanage. Anything, any half-assed present at all will be met with dewy eyes and beaming smiles.

But if I had to choose, I’d get the Knicks the Phoenix Suns medical staff. It’d be nice to have a Knick suffer an injury and actually think that he’d recover ahead of time, instead of being permanently disabled because of a strained hamstring like Andrea Bargnani. (Hm. Maybe I want to re-think this gift. Oh well. Too late.) It would also be nice if this crack team of doctors could convince Melo to have the surgery he so desperately needs instead of whatever quack is letting him drag his clearly-injured body up and down the court  for 40+ minutes a night.

Q #2:  Let’s say the NBA is having a white elephant holiday party. Every team drapes their worst player in Hello Kitty wrapping paper and just tries to go home with enough value to justify their participation.

Who gets swapped from the Knicks, and which worst player on another team would you want to end up with?

@arkcrawford: Andrea Bargnani. The gangly stallion who (admirably) attempted to defy Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation and soar higher than any man before him, only to tumble in hopelessly Hindenburg-esque fashion. That was January 22, and at the time of writing, ‘Bargs’ has not appeared in the orange and blue since.

As speculative as this exercise can be, nothing could be more poetic than the Knicks spinning the Bad Santa/Kris Kringle wheel and winding up with Utah’s Steve Novak; the very man whom the team pawned off (plus a parcel of picks) in its scurry to secure the services of Bargnani.

@BobSaietta: Oh please let this be a real thing. Because I want nothing more than to horrible gift Jason Smith upon some other poor, bungled and botched NBA franchise. In case you’re not familiar with his body of work (shout out to the crazy kids in Nawlins and Philly) he is awful. Let’s take a look at Jason Smith’s shot chart, shall we? If you’re a parent, and you happen to be reading this, please remove and and all innocent, sweet-faced impressionable children from the room.


Ostensibly a ‘big,” only 17% of Smith’s shots have come at the rim. This is not good. The Knicks have a NetRTG of -15.9 when he’s on the floor and -2.5 when he’s rightly strapped to the end of the bench. And yet, he continues to play major minutes, because the world is an unfair, unjust, horrid place or the Knicks are out-Sixersing the Sixers and engaged in one of the finer stealth tank jobs in recent memory.

In sum, I do not like Jason Smith. Please wrap him in nice wrapping paper and shoot him into deep space.

In return for this terrible, no-good gift, it really would have been some kind of brutish, grim poetic justice if the Knicks had signed Josh Smith. For one, I can guarantee that Fish would have played him at small forward and moved Melo to shooting guard, because ‘big” and two, a Jason/Josh/J.R. Smith lineup might have sent Clyde Frazier into  a verbal tizzy that would defy the known boundaries of language itself.

Q #3: During the beginning of Washington’s 2012 season (started 0-12), I found myself picking up Endgame over and over.

This, especially, seemed to capture the experience of fandom during a “season that you didn’t expect to be all that good but boy is it more awful than I imagined it would be.”

HAMM: I’ll give you nothing more to eat.
CLOV: Then we’ll die.
HAMM: I’ll give you just enough to keep you from dying. You’ll be hungry all the time.
CLOV: Then we won’t die.

What passage from a holiday-related song or material grants you the cold comfort of cross-medium recognition while witnessing this 5-25 start?

@arkcrawford: Courtesy of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”:

Kate McCallister: What kind of idiots do you have working here?

Mrs. Stone, Desk Clerk: The finest in New York.

@BobSaietta: Sadly, one of Beckett’s main actors, Billie Whitelaw, passed away this weekend, and at the very instant you fired off these questions I was deep down into YouTube rabbit hole where I stumbled upon this production of Endgame with Michael Gambon and David Thewlis. It’s good.

I’ve been banging the Knicks-as-Beckett drum for a while now, There’s a story that in 1964, when Beckett first came to the States, a friend took him to Shea Stadium for a doubleheader. The Mets are pretty Knicksian themselves, but I’d like to think watching the pre-Reed/Frazier/Holzman teams get walloped by Bill Russell would have been the kind of sports/theater experience that he could have really sunk his teeth into.

In any case, I’ve been re- and re-re-reading  David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel, The Pale King. 1) Because it’s–yes–seriously flawed, but contains some of his best writing. 2) Because I still think I can adapt it into a play and 3) Because there’s this: the longest, grammatically correct sentence of his career. It’s a dumb thing to do, and really just a feat of writerly gymnastics, but give it a read. Like this unending crap-fest of a Knicks season, you might be tempted to give up before you get to the end, but maybe, just maybe, there’s something valuable from actually struggling through and completing it. Or not. It could just be a giant vat of suck on the other side.

Here it is, in full. 7,015 characters (with spaces), 1,185 words. One sentence.

Q #4: Let’s say Santa Claus exists and you save him from the titanium cage he’s been held, shackled in the stainless steel of modern consumerism and held in the basement of a small-town Target.

In return, he grants you one Knicks-related wish. What is it?

@arkcrawford: Have mercy on the franchise’s five-year max man, Carmelo Anthony. Melo continues to stubbornly butt heads with the Basketball Gods, wrestling to overcome a litany of wear-and-tear knee issues, but at what cost? Improbably, New York is already 8.5 games short of eighth place in the poor Eastern Conference, and with everybody’s favorite whipping boy—the Sixers—being winners of two straight and four of their past 10, there’s no telling how low this season can go.

Now is the time for higher powers to intervene and grant Anthony fifty-odd games of respite, and a courtside seat for the circus that is set to carry on in the meantime. Fisher and his motley crew can continue to burrow their way out of this gloomy tunnel with or without Anthony, and with Phil Jackson having just inked the seven-time All-Star to a long-term deal, it’s in everybody’s best interests for him to head into 2015-16 in the sharpest shape imaginable.

@BobSaietta: Another rigged NBA draft lottery. Here’s a fun fact: the Knicks haven’t picked higher than eighth since 1986, when they snagged the immortal Kenny “Sky” Walker. I’ve been hitting mock draft sites so freaking hard that my browser autofills to this site here whenever I type the letter “n.”

The thing is, conspiracy theories aren’t just for your tinfoil-hatted Alex Jones types. The league would like this gift just as much as I or any other ‘Bocker-backer would. For all of Adam Silver’s noble talk about NFL-style parity, ratings went down by five percent last year, mainly because the big market teams that everyone loves to hate weren’t very good at all. As, Ethan Sherwood Strauss wrote  last May, “The NBA might hope for a reality where market size is ancillary to the sport’s popularity, where technology transcends all. So far that hasn’t happened.”

Well, good. Way too often we rail against a system that seems to be massively unjust; where the little guy gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop. For once, I’d like to see Adam Smilh’s invisible hand/the moneyed men in smokey back rooms tug at the levers of power in a way that benefits me, and serves my needs. So when you see Jahlil Okafor or Mudiay or Towns or whomever grinning and wearing an orange and blue New Era official draft cap, feel free to mutter to yourself, “#StayWoke.”

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Conor Dirks
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
Conor has been with TAI since 2012, and aids in the seamless editorial process that brings you the kind of high-octane blogging you have come to expect from this rad website. The Wizards have been an assiduous companion throughout his years on the cosmic waiver wire. He lives in D.C. and is day-to-day.