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NBA Report: Rivalry Renewal

Words by Phlip

It’s funny watching the rekindling of old rivalries when you don’t have a dog in that particular fight.

Recently on a car forum I admin for, in an off-topic NBA conversation, a fellow Lakers fan and myself played unwilling intermediaries between Miami Heat fans and New York Knicks fans. As in-conference rivalries go, we all remember the Zo Mourning/Larry Johnson kerfuffle in 1998, which qualifies this to me as the only real rivalry that Miami has in their still young (they were started in 1988) history.

The argument from the fans of the Knickerbockers (I feel guilty when I say that word for some reason) argue that the Knicks have “arrived,” and that the arrival of Tyson Chandler had made this their year. The Heat fans reminded them that they have a coach who seems to think that defense is overrated, they STILL don’t have a point guard worth mentioning, and that Baron Davis 1) is currently out injured with a bad back he suffered DURING the lockout, and 2) is the type of person who sustains major injuries like that WHILE locked out. Score one, Miami Heat fans… The natural response is to mention the backslide of the rest of the contenders in the conference with injury/age damning Boston and whatever will happen to Dwight Howard in Orlando.

This is where two lifelong Lakers’ fans got involved, reminding both sides (conceding that we HATED to have to say it) that while EVERY OTHER CONTENDER in the NBA managed to stay the same if not getting only marginally better or just outright got worse, the Miami Heat has gotten WAY better as far as assembled parts of their machine.

Then it got fun…
While simultaneously stating that UNLESS the Lakers score Dwight Howard (hopefully while KEEPING Gasol) they’re a 4th seed at best and likely first round exit, we explained that as of opening night, Miami should be the next NBA champions. Yes, the body pieces are in place, but it seems that the chink in Miami’s armor was the metaphoric Black Lion to their Voltron, and they just didn’t have it mentally. After three televised (well, two and one cutaway to the final moments of one) Miami games in which they romped in two and gutted out a victory in the third, I am convinced that they’re ready. LeBron is getting his 30+, while NOT shooting jumpers like a Duke graduate, D-Wade is D-Wade, Bosh is assertive enough to stave off – or at least delay – questions of his “orientation” and with the surprise rookie point guard, they make it look both easy and planned. Last season, it was easy to dislike the guys because they and their fans were brash and arrogant and ignored the flaws. It has been said that those without knowledge of their history are doomed to repeat it, and for some reason it seems that (some) Knicks fans are all but willing to embody that, mirroring the perceived cocksure ([||]?) language shown by their team.

The issue is that through the same number of games (ignore Miami’s at-the-wire win for this), the Knicks blew a lead to the Celtics and got bailed out by officiating, then went to Oakland and got their faces chipped by a Golden State team with superior backcourt play and an innate ability to expose a group not willing to play defense. I understand the prevailing reasoning behind using amnesty on Chauncey Billups and his high salary cap number, but I WILL NOT believe that Mike Bibby, Baron Davis and/or Jeremy Lin will be serviceable replacements for him when it comes to times that matter.

The long-and-short of this is that the season will be a LOT longer for Knicks fans than it will be for Heat fans.

Words by Phlip
@CallMePhlip
CallMePhlip.blogspot

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7 comments on “NBA Report: Rivalry Renewal

  1. Phlip
    December 30, 2011

    1) Anyone else notice the British Knights sneakers on the image above?

    2) I love being able to use the word “kerfuffle” in a post

    In other news… the Knicks are proving me right when an undermanned Lakers team takes it to them as they did last night. I fear for what will happen to them when they play the Heat.

    Like

  2. Mark Dub
    December 30, 2011

    Tyson Chandler is going to have to be able to motivate a whole slew of Knickerbockers to play defense for them to be able to beat the Heaters.

    Like

  3. Riq
    December 30, 2011

    I admit I was involved in the arguement with the Knick fans, It was fun all the same. In all honesty I feel the Knicks be great but not top 2 as they claim they are at this point. They seem to forget that Boston until further notice is still better than them and Chicago is the only other team I can see coming out of the east. Both Miami and Chicago have the same team defensive system that helps hide D-Roses defesive short comings. NY on the other hand will not be a better defensive team just because of TC. That one guy isn’t going to stop 5 guys. Lastnight is a perfect example, Kobe did whatever he wanted to Melo and Melo being that Matador he is would try to leak out as soon as Kobe woukd blow by instead of trying to recover. This in turn frustrated Tyson so much that he got his 3rd tech in 3 games for somthing stupid. Let me point out that the game wasn’t out of hand at that point.

    All and all it’s sad to see a fanbase that was raised on tough, hardnosed defense in their early years forget what makes a championship team. I can’t imagine a Laker, Heat, Celtic or Bulls fan talking so big if they had that Knick roster and Coach running their team. But to quote the Knick fan on Zilvia ” The Heat are overrated and the Knicks will be as good or better by playoff time”

    Good article Phlip, keep them coming.

    Like

  4. DV
    December 30, 2011

    Knicks/ Blazer fan checking in.

    Knicks aint doing shit (no matter what seed) until A) we get a backcourt (less then impressed with what we have) or B) No-D’Antoni is gone or C) Both

    Blazers suprising me so far. Now if only Oden can manage to stay healthy after he comes back. All we need is 10/10/3 from him and his presence in the box alone is a game changer.

    Sidethought: So players like Lin can get a look but not Arenas, or even Iverson? Wow. Knicks and Lakers could use 1 or the other.

    Like

    • Phlip
      December 31, 2011

      Taken in order…

      As a Blazer’s fan, you should KNOW better than to discuss the health of your players’ knees. That is usually the karmic precursor to said knees calling it a season.

      Lin can get a look because Lin is 23 years old and comes from a place where players are known to be be mature and disciplined, whereas Gilbert Arenas was known to have worked at his craft ONLY until he had a ridiculous contract, then took the money and played like dick THEN got arrested on a total dummy foul. Iverson, despite what he might be saying, is probably on the way to the glue factory and really only wants to be playing right now because he has a lifetime contract with Reebok that pays him more than most teams would offer him per year, so long as he is playing… Not to mention that Arenas probably owes the league to play for free for any team that takes him for 5 years.
      Neither is a positive addition to a champion-calibur team and that is why no one is checking for them.

      Like

      • DV
        December 31, 2011

        C’mon now everybody makes mistakes. I think “Hibachi” and Kobe would make a cool combo. Blake is doing decent for the moment but Fish can only do so much he was saying 2 years ago that he couldnt wait for Farmer to take over. I say sign him for this season atleast. Just to strengthen the point. Blake and an old Fish will get ripped to pieces in the playoffs.

        Like

        • Phlip
          December 31, 2011

          Gilbert Arenas has shown himself to be a shell of what he was offensively and has NEVER been accused of playing defense, ever.
          Please prove me wrong

          Like

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