To much of the rest of the free world, at least among those sporting slide rules and pocket protectors, today is Pi Day.
To the New York Knicks and their fans, the morning, afternoon and evening after Carmelo Anthony‘s disastrous return to Denver has been more Pie-In-The-Face Day.
In offering his assessment of how bad a turn the Knicks have taken lately, New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro dusted off the notorious, long-ago mea gulpa from guard Micheal Ray Richardson. That mercurial Knick’s pre-mortem for back in 1982 was short on grammar but long on street cred. It has a timeless quality, too, that applies just as well right here, right now.
“The ship be sinkin’,” Richardson said, an NBA utterance that ranks with Moses Malone‘s “Fo’, fo’, fo'” in the sport’s grand ineloquence.
Vaccaro went on to connect the dots between that 1981-82 New York team’s miserable finish to the nosedive in progress by the current edition. After quoting center Tyson Chandler in the rubble of the 117-94 loss to the Nuggets – “We’ve been in a little bit of a decline. Even in our wins,” Chandler said – the Post columnist wrote:
It’s bad. It’s very bad. And it only gets worse night after night, game after game, drubbing after drubbing. Yes, the most haunting image of another lost night Out West was Chandler splattered on the Pepsi Center floor, clutching his left knee, agony creasing his face late in the second quarter of what was already an unwatchable mess of a game.
Yet Woodson said Chandler’s prognosis was surprisingly positive, diagnosed with a contusion. Woodson actually called Chandler “probable” for tonight’s game in Portland.
Less good: Carmelo Anthony finally succumbed to his balky knee, leaving his hellacious homecoming early in the third quarter, bound now for a plane back to New York and a draining needle.
Least good: these developments came long after the truest believers had retrieved Sugar Ray’s observation from the index of their memory banks. The Nuggets jumped on them early and pounded them relentlessly. If there were a mercy rule in the NBA, for the second straight night, the Knicks would have qualified.
“It’s something we have to address, and quickly,” Chandler said, “because they were beating us up even before we got hurt.”
There might be no fixing the Knicks at this point, what with Anthony headed in the opposite direction from the rest of the team Thursday – East for his knee analysis and drainage while the others face Portland (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT), with two games to go on the West Coast swing. Amar’e Stoudemire might be done till October with his latest knee surgery, Chandler might be gimpy for a bit and Iman Shumpert still isn’t his old self after ACL surgery. Besides, any roster with Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin and Rasheed Wallace has to know it will hear more popping than the multiplex concession stand on a Friday night.
With troubled joints like theirs, they ought to be rechristened the Kneecks. The prospect of a strong finishing kick toward the playoffs? Ouch.
Much of this could have been anticipated, except maybe this question: Since when do a sinkin’ ship be havin’ so much trouble with wheels?