The buzz on the new-look Knicks was that even if they kept losing games, they would at least be doing it in more exciting fashion. Turns out that the buzz was half right. Unfortunately it was the first half.
A season-low 67 points and a complete lack of interior defense were both culprits in Monday night's loss to the Bucks, but the same thing that made Saturday night's game so exciting was the prime reason for the loss. The new Knicks played like a well-oiled pickup team in their first outing, but they played like a bunch of guys who never met each other before tip-off on Monday.
That's painful to watch on any night, but on the same night that the organization honored the 40th anniversary of the 1970 championship team it was downright infuriating. While the video screens would show highlight after highlight of those old Knicks passing the ball five or six times before hitting an easy, wide open shot, the present day Knicks stood around and watched Sergio Rodriguez dribble the ball until someone flung up a no-hoper to beat the shot clock.
Rodriguez got the start in place of Chris Duhon, but it was clear that his new teammates weren't ready for the stylistic change. Duhon is deliberate where Rodriguez is reckless and Rodriguez is aggressive where Duhon is casual. The Spaniard came up with eight steals, but the team wasn't ready to run with him and he finished the game with just one assist thanks to a lack of cutting, imagination and familiarity on the offensive end.
It was enough to make your eyes bleed and more than enough to put a halt to any grand notions we were kicking about after the weekend. Further reason to slow our roll was provided by Tracy McGrady, who limped off the court at the end of the game. It could have been a darkly comic salute to Willis Reed, but McGrady isn't that funny and the injury to his knee was all too serious.
Twas a nice little dream while it lasted, but, as the movie marquee once said, reality bites.