City Sports Report

Contenders or Pretenders by Marc “Razz” Rasbury

Dream week has come and gone. This was the week that we were supposed to see where the Knicks actually stood compared to NBA elite. We knew that they could hold their own against the League’s lower echelon. But we wanted to see how they would against
the elite. Last week gave us a glimpse of the team’s progress.

Depending on how you look at their 1-2 record against the likes of the Nuggets, Celtics and the Heat, one can say that they the Knicks are contenders or pretenders.

I say that they are pretenders but I do not look at that as a bad thing. For one, they are doing much better thus far than anyone could have ever imagined. They won nine games in a row beating the teams they should beaten at this stage of the game. They also beat the Nuggets in a thrilling victory at home and gave the Celtics all they could handle before losing on a last second shot. Yes, the Heat showed us the difference between pretenders and contenders as they crushed our beloved Knicks by twenty points, as
LeBron James and Company pulled away in the second half.

Prior to dream week, I stated that I would be happy with a 2-2 record assuming that the Knicks would beat the Cavs on Saturday. Now they went 1-3 during this stretch but I still came away encouraged despite the overtime loss to the Cleveland.

They showed us that they could hang with the Big Boys, but consistently beating them is different story. They could have and should have beaten the Celtics. They were beating them by double digits late in the contest but could not hang on. Everybody looks at Paul Pierce’s game winning shot as the key of the game. However I felt they lost that game on a couple of offensive rebounds that Kevin Garnett got off of tricky bounces and converted them into two baskets in the final moments of the game. On those two plays,
the Knicks did everything you could ask for. They played a great defense and boxed out but the ball took unusual bounces and KG capitalized on all of them. During the Miami game they just ran out of gas and the Heat’s overwhelming talent just took over.

Too much has been placed on Amar’e Stoudemire’s shoulders and they are going to have to add another bonafide scorer to take the pressure off of Amar’e. They will have to add some depth to the bench because you can see the drop off when Stoudemire and
Raymond Felton take a break.

Everybody is waiting for Santa to stuff Carmelo Anthony in the Knicks’ stocking. He might come before the trade deadline. He might come during the off season or he might not come at all. The best case scenario is that we wait for Carmelo’s arrival this summer
so that we do not have to give up Landry Fields, Danilo Gallinari and/or Wilson Chandler in a trade. It will be nice to see Melo in a Knicks’ uniform this season, but I don’t want them to mortgage some nice role players in the process.

This year just showed us that Knicks are a couple of key pieces away from being true contenders. After what he had to endure since The Jeff Van Gundy Administration, I will take the pretender role as long as I see some progress and no one can dispute that there has been some progress. Therefore, being a pretender is
not as bad as it sounds if you put things in perspective.

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