In Game Four between the Heat and the Knicks, LeBron and D-Wade seemed to decide their buddy 'Melo needed at least one win to save face in New York, so they downed some Quaaludes and let the Knicks have their way with them. How else to explain Wade missing seven of 11 free-throws? They are free, Dwyane.
With the loss, Heat haters around the country pitched a tent in their critical pants. And Knicks fans celebrated their first post-season win since Dutch settlers defeated Algonquian tribesmen for the inaugural title (trophy = Manhattan). But there is simply no chance that the Knicks are going to win the series. Why? It goes way beyond basketball, starting with Mike Woodson's facial hair.
You could argue that the Knicks' (much needed) midseason coaching change also ensured the team wouldn't get very far in the playoffs. But we're talking about a much more important kind of coaching consistency: facial hair.
Erik Spoelstra may look like a teenager, but that's the point. He couldn't grow a beard if LeBron pasted it onto his chin. This is the type of constancy that ballers are looking for: the same face in the huddle, night in and night out.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, however, has the most terrifying facial hair in the league. This year, it morphed from a carefully kept circle beard -- also known as a door knocker -- into a veritable black hole of impenetrable bristle. His lips now appear to float in space. His facial hair is so intense it's practically an alternate identity, with multiple Facebook pages and a twitter account of its own. This can't be good for coaching. Who should the Knicks listen to: Woodson or his goatee?
And that's not even going into the whole mystery of his disappearing eyebrows.
Aside from the Celtics, the Knicks are the only team that dates back to the founding of the NBA in 1946. Simply put, the organization has old balls. The same could be said about the city of New York. Its anthem -- "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra -- is pushing a half century. Its mayor, diminutive media mogul Michael Bloomberg, has been in office for over a decade. And its superfan, Spike Lee, is best known for a movie that came out 23 years ago.
Miami, meanwhile, is ahistorical. The city is barely a century old. Our politicians last a couple of years at most before they are voted out or thrown in jail. And our song is sung by Will Smith... or is it Pitbull? We've forgotten already.
With old balls come old fashioned ideas. When LeBron snubbed NYC to come to Miami, New Yorkers whined about him taking the easy way out by joining D-Wade and Chris Bosh. Now the Knicks have wised up and landed their own big three in Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. But it's too late to avoid tonight's smackdown.
The Knicks just aren't very good. If three out of every four sports writers didn't live in the Big Apple, the rest of the country would know that by now. They barely finished the season over .500 with a record of 36-30. Their best player threw a temper tantrum when the previous coach tried to get the team to actually play offense. Now Anthony is back to tossing up shots every possession. He shot just 43 percent from the floor this season, compared to 50 percent for Wade and 53 percent for the much criticized LeBron.
Stoudemire has a child's diaper wrapped around his hand, which seems appropriate because he's been shooting like shit.
And the Knicks are only getting worse. Stoudemire's hand is shredded. Jeremy Lin is out for the season. Baron Davis just blew out his knee. That leaves the team with approximately zero point guards. The Heat have a handful, not including James.
Give the Knicks credit for battling into the postseason. But Game Four was a fluke, not a reversal of fortune. Now that 'Melo can feel better about himself, Miami can get back to business.
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