After the latest Garden massacre that occurred at the hands of the “rebuilding” Boston Celtics, New York Knicks’ fans are frantically looking for answers on how a team that supposedly turned a corner, and on the longest win streak of the season (two!), can suddenly revert back into that pitiful team that’s been a running joke through the entire league.
The actual reasons are voluminous and the theories are manifold. It’s easy to blame Sunday’s debacle on the absence of Chandler, Woodson’s complete lack of a game plan, and Melo’s ceiling as an impactful player; but there’s another excuse that some Knick fans are starting to give attention to: those gaudy orange jerseys. Don’t laugh just yet because the Knicks are 0-6 ever since they put them on (0-7 if you want to count last year’s Christmas Day loss against the Lakers).
Dec 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) advances the ball during the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s recap the Knicks’ performance with the orange jerseys.
October 31 versus the Bulls in Chicago: L 82-81
-No surprise here other than the Knicks putting up a good fight.
November 3 versus the Wolves at the Garden: L 109-100
-No biggie. Kevin Love had a marvelous game.
November 10 versus the Spurs at the Garden: L 120-89
November 16 versus the Hawks at the Garden: L 110-90
-Meh, I actually was at this game and already expecting a loss.
December 1 versus the Pelicans in New Orleans: L 103-99
-“Good Job. Good Effort”
December 8 versus the Celtics at the Garden: L 114-73
So should these jerseys be confiscated and immediately shoved in a box and set on fire in a parking lot somewhere? Well, yes this is alarming but these really are nothing more than just bad games littered in a mosaic of ugly losses that make up a dreadful 2013-14 season. Knick fans have long been a superstitious lot that’s blamed their franchises uncanny knack for bad luck on a variety of unrelated reasons from jerseys to the music played before games. (Just Google the “Robert Randolph curse” to see what I’m talking about.) In actuality, the fact of the matter is that the Knicks suck and it’s been this way for a long time thanks to the brain trust that thinks it’s a good idea to waste a roster spot on Chris Smith to appease JR Smith and to send coveted players like Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin away because of reasons that are probably too ridiculous to explain to the media.
NY Daily news Knick beat writer Frank Isola and many others have enthusiastically expressed their distaste for the orange jerseys on Twitter but criticism of them should be strictly regulated to the horrible florid design and not out of any real fear that what the Knicks are wearing has any affect on the outcome of the game. However, if you want to look at trends, instead of looking at the jersey, look at another obscure variable like day of the week. The Knicks currently are 0-4 on Sundays. Unlike the jersey color, bad losses on Sunday actually can be pretty telling.
As JR Smith made it clear before, the New York City nightlife can totally envelope rich young men. If you don’t believe him take it from Jalen Rose who discussed the colorful weekends in New York with Bill Simmons during their popular NBA Season Preview, or any other New Yorker for that matter. When a team comes out on Sunday and looks as lethargic as the Knicks did, it’s a reflection of a coach that doesn’t have the ear of his team. Count how many times you’ve seen games like that from Popovich’s Spurs or even Spolestra’s Heat- and that’s Miami!
Nov 10, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson argues a call with referee Eric Lewis (42) during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Coach Woodon’s reprieve from wins against the Nets and Magic might have cooled his seat a bit but Knick fans shouldn’t be fooled or even overjoyed by empty Ws against other bad East teams. This season has been an abomination and when things get as bad as this, there is no question that the coach bears significant responsibility for it. Woodson has repeatedly brought up the loss of Chandler as a reason for his struggles but ask Tom Thibodeau if he expects anything less than an Conference Finals appearance even after the loss of Rose, or any other NBA coach for that matter. The next dozen or so games are against some pretty unremarkable teams and winning the majority of those games certainly serves as no indication that the season has been saved. It only means that the Knicks will ride out a mediocre thread of games that can only result in another first round playoff exit against teams that are continuing to develop. James Dolan can’t fire himself but to continue to let Woodson reside over what is quickly becoming the most embarrassing Knicks season in history is unfathomable.
Coming up with bizarre reasons for the Knicks’ troubles other than what’s happening on the court only obviates from the uncomfortable truth that this team is headed nowhere. So if Knick fans want to talk about “curses” rest assured that Dolan’s ownership of the Knicks is worse than any curse because its substantiated and irrefutable proof that the Knicks will never do anything other than disappoint the best basketball fans on earth.