Saturday, January 21, 2012

Knicks vs. Nuggets Preview

This is a game I've long awaited since that fateful day when the Knicks and Nuggets completed a massive trade to send Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks and a bunch of the Knicks' starters to the Nuggets. Denver is one of the best teams in the Western Conference, sitting at the #2 seed with an 11-5 record. Since Melo's departure, Denver ended their superstar subscription, and instead play a very fun, team oriented style of basketball that I'm quite envious of.

The emotional significance of this game has been dulled for me, slightly, with Raymond Felton now playing in Portland and Wilson Chandler currently playing in China. Timofey Mozgov was a nice player and I've wished him the best, but what will really sting for me is seeing Danilo Gallinari return to the Garden floor.

Last year's pre-Melo team was shaping up to be my favorite squad since the '98-99 Knicks that went to the Finals during a lockout-shortened season. That was the team that made me a fan of the Knicks and basketball in general. So, when the trade went down, it was pretty upsetting for me as far as meaningless transactions can be. I had envisioned Gallo becoming the Knicks first home-grown All-Star in God knows how long. I still think he will achieve that one day, and from the time he was drafted, through the few terrible years he beared before last season, he was the pride of the Knicks.

I hope the Garden crowd treats him nicely tonight, and though I will miss the beginning of tonight's game, in my mind, at 7:30, I will give a salute to Danilo when he steps foot on the floor when the Nuggets' starting lineup is announced.

I still quite like this current Knicks team and though I've written harsh words about them, I have plenty of hope that in the next four months (yes, we still have that much season) they will turn it around. However, I hope fans and Knicks management, and even the players, take notice tonight of what team basketball looks like and that there is hardly ever a need for hero ball when everyone pulls their weight.

I don't know why I'm in this nostalgic, almost melancholy mood. Perhaps it was Seth Rosenthal's piece over at Posting and Toasting, but either way, I didn't feel like writing a typical game preview tonight. I didn't want to analyze these two teams and be reminded of how much better the Nuggets have been since the trade, and I wasn't particularly in the mood to poke fun at certain players either in my "Scouting Report".

The Nuggets have some crafty ball-handlers in Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, guys who can fill it up like Gallinari and another former Knick, Al Harrington, some astute defenders in Aaron Afflalo and Chris Andersen, and just a great style of basketball. I hope this game inspires our Knicks and gets this season turned around.

Let's go Knicks!

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