|Dolan’s formula put to test|
By Phil Mushnick, N.Y. Post, 2/13
While Msg Network has understandably been playing Jeremy Lin for all he’s worth, the irony of the last two weeks is inescapable:
Lin’s and the Knicks’ recent successes represent a total repudiation of the Knicks’ ownership and management blueprint throughout the 16-year Dolan Period, a.k.a. The Dark Ages.
The Dolan Plan has been to spend tens of millions of dollars to create (and
re-create) the same result — a game of mostly losing, tedious, walk-it-up basketball that too often ends with the same shot being taken with two seconds left on the shot clock that could have been taken with 20 seconds left.
It took Lin, a non-qualifier, an after-afterthought, to bring energy and activity to a moribund, predictable offense that used to spend time — and many seasons — clearing out, resting and even loitering. If Lin keeps it up, Jimmy Dolan will consider waiving his $5 Garden “facility fee.”
Friday night against the Lakers, Lin even appeared to inspire a dubious strategy to combat him. Clearly, the Lakers were backing off, allowing him — daring him — to shoot from the outside. But in so doing, they enhanced his ability to penetrate.
Rather than impede his path — force him one away or another by playing him tightly — the Lakers allowed him his first step for free. Lin could choose from left, right, or middle.
The Lakers seemed as unprepared for Lin as were the Knicks. And I swear, the last time many of us witnessed the Knicks play such an everyone-involved offense was when Walt Frazier played. Seriously!
Years ago, while with NBC, Bill Walton recognized the Knicks as a minimalist, no-better-idea offensive team, when Patrick Ewing would rebound, hand the ball to the point guard, who would then walk it up, waiting for Ewing to trot to the other end to try to establish position before the ball was forced to him, wherever he was, even if he were near the foul line, his back to the basket. Consequently, they’d have to fight the shot clock in nearly every possession.
And what a drag.
In the last two decades, the Knicks have predicated their offense on the guy who gets paid the most, rather than encouraging the guy who gets paid the most to make the team better.
Over the last two weeks, that has all changed, as if Lin has had the audacity to turn on all the lights, rather than play the same, old single-spotlight basketball.
And this could actually get better for the Knicks, if they’re so inclined.
Once the player who takes Lin’s inside bounce pass and draws the defense, starts to look for the other cutter ...
But that’s not up to us; that’s up to the Knicks.
Celebrity sightings at Garden are the new reality TV
No problem with MSG shooting all the front-row celebs at Lakers-Knicks. But all game? Over and over? On one hand, the Garden wants to sell tickets. On the other, it wants you to see the joint as The House of The Privileged. It was a variation on all those empty seats seen behind home plate in Yankee Stadium.
Friday night, MSG almost made us miss regular commercials. There were tons of house ads — mostly featuring Jeremy Lin while reminding us to watch him play on MSG, which is what those watching those ads were already doing.
From reader Ted Damiecki on Saturday: “Our daughters are 9 and 11, adopted from China. I bring home today’s Post and show them the back page with the Lin kid. But all they wanted to see was Beyonce and her baby on the front.
American kids, geez.”
Walt Frazier’s sports jacket on Friday — big splashes of white, black and shades of brown — was wild, even by his standards. He looked as if he’d collided with a rodeo.
How many local Chinese restaurant menus have re-named No. 17?
* So Time-Warner, rather than provide rebates for lost MSG programming, in January provided subscribers its “Sports Pass” package. And now T-W will extend that through at least February.
But T-W customers who previously paid $6 per month for the Sports Pass package (and paid for MSG programming above that) are still paying six bucks a month for what others are now getting in place of MSG.
In other words, the very best, most giving T-W sports customers are being treated the worst. They, too, should be receiving that sports package for no extra charge. But T-W has no intention of cutting anyone’s bill for the loss of valued, expensive programming. Is there a Consumer Affairs or Better Business Bureau rep in the house?
TGC all Tiger, all the time
It’s clear by now that on the day Tiger Woods retires, Golf Channel, now in NBC’s hands, can cease operations as well. It may as well change its name to the Take A Hike Channel.
Friday, when the CBS-produced live coverage of the second round from Pebble Beach concluded on Golf Channel, Woods was in, six shots off the lead, held by Charlie Wi.
Yet Golf Channel’s “postgame show” began with studio host Kelly Tilghman saying this:
“Here to shed a little light on an overcast and misty day in a still-beautiful Pebble Beach area, I’m Kelly Tilghman with Brandel Chamblee and Charlie Rymer. We’re going to break down Tiger Woods’ day for you.”
Yesterday, with Woods five back, all the CBS guys were rooting for him (or acted as if they were).
Wi, two back and who had never won in over 300 starts, wasn’t worth rooting for?
* By now, most of us would have a large sign posted in the highlights edit room:
“Be sure that footage of putts and other golf shots in which the cup is situated toward the bottom of the screen are not obscured by graphics.”
This sign, in many places would be yellowed by age.
Yet, Friday night on SNY, there was the ball, headed toward the bottom, disappearing behind graphics. Close your eyes and watch this!
* Funny, how so many readers have Mike Francesa pegged. They know that this week, every year, he becomes an all-seeing, all-knowing college basketball expert.