Spurs at Knicks Give and Go Preview
Now that the holiday season is over and you folks are back at your office, reading 48MoH, our game previews have returned.
If you have a Twitter account and read 48MoH, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with @netw3rk. He’s one of the funniest voices out there on the NBA and just so happens to be a fan of the New York Knicks, the Spurs’ opponent tonight.
I invited netw3rk to chat about tonight’s game and he was kind enough to oblige. Enjoy.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: So Spurs-Knicks. Last time around, the Knicks came back on the Spurs in the fourth quarter thanks to, of all people, Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd. That’s not gonna happen again, right?
@netw3rk: No. For one, Felton’s paw will keep him out for some weeks. For two, the Spurs are going to be so exhausted from looking up to watch the ball flutter through the hoop vs Milwaukee, that NY will BUST THAT ASS.
AM: Amare Stoudemire came back in New York’s last game against the Blazers. What’s the word as far as him starting/coming off the bench? I’m assuming he’ll spend at least his first few games coming off the bench.
N: The word would be “rust.” In copious, red rusty heaps. Woodson is looking to manage his minutes as the latest injury is to his surgically-repaired knee. He looked pretty much as bad as you remember on defense, and a bit immobile/out of sync on offense (though he did slam one over the prostrate form of Victor Claver). Not a great recipe for starting; I’m sure when we see him, t’will be off the bench.
AM: Are you in the camp that wants Amare to come off the bench permanently?
N: Yes, but only based off everything I’ve seen and every stats-centric piece I’ve read.
AM: Well if you haven’t done any research…
N: The Spurs are, in many ways, the model NBA franchise. How has SA managed to maintain such a high level of consistency, despite the changes in personnel over a 12-13 year period? Asking for a friend who roots for a team in chronic upheaval.
AM: It’s pretty simple really. You start with an owner who doesn’t care about being in the spotlight and lets the people he hires to make basketball decisions decide the things relating to basketball. You get someone to run the team who is disciplined and old school, yet still has an open mind when it comes to new ideas. Then get a GM who, like the team’s owner, doesn’t care about getting credit for anything and is on the same page with everything the head coach/team president wants to do. Go ahead and draft a once-in-a-generation big man who is a Hall of Famer on both ends of the floor and might care about taking credit for things less than anyone. Then draft two other Hall of Famers outside of the lottery. It’s a simple formula, really.
If you had to pick one current Knick as your least favorite of the bunch, which one would it be?
N: I love them all like they were my children. How dare you.
AM: So Ronnie Brewer, right?
N: Yeah. It was fun when he was shooting the lights out, but he’s regressed like a popped ballon. You know how a dog, whilst shitting, will look at you over its shoulder and be like “hey, I’m sorry you have to see this”? That’s what Ronnie Brewer’s current shooting form looks like. Much of NY’s early season success has been based off of (unsustainably?) hot 3-point shooting and Brewer’s rapid decomposition has hurt that.
AM: What about the Spurs? What player to you like the least on the Spurs as the fan of an opposing team?
N: Since Bowen left, there really isn’t a single Spurs player I don’t like. Tony Parker’s Barry cuckolding was distasteful, but the French love infidelity; it’s a cultural thing. It’s really been pretty amazing to watch Pop work in guys like Kawhi, Green, Splitter, and tweak his tactics and strategy to fit them. I have no malice in my heart for any Spur except for when they play the Knicks.
AM: That surprising. Guys like Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter are usually such easy targets for people.
N: Manu plays with a flair and a cleverness that I’ve always loved. Splitter seems like a big Skrillex guy. I’m sure it also helps that the Knicks haven’t played meaningful games vs the Spurs since right before the turn of the millennium.
AM: Way back when Kurth Thomas was still in his 40s.
N: Before the side-boob.
What West teams really concern you vis-a-vis the Spurs title hopes?
AM: Pretty much any team with good big men scares me. The biggest thing the Spurs still have problems with is teams that can be physical down low. They struggle keeping those teams off the offensive glass. So basically, the Thunder, Grizzlies, Clippers and Lakers are a concern on one level or another. The Jazz could also be a dark horse threat.
With Rasheed Wallace and Stephen Jackson on the court against each other (not to mention J.R. Smith), in what way could there possibly be more street cred on the floor at one time?
N: Good question. I guess Iman Shumpert could rap-battle Stephen Jackson at half-court and then everyone could take turns making love to pressure.
Give us a blueprint for how the Knicks (or any team, really) should attack the Spurs.
AM: Run like holy hell to get them off the 3-point line, push them around on the offensive boards, don’t let Tony Parker get space in transition.
Doing two of three of those things usually puts you in good shape to beat the Spurs.
N: I’ll let Woody know. We’re very close.
AM: Alright, last thing before I let you go, I need one prediction for the game. Nothing to do with the final score.
N: *looks directly into the camera* Pain.