TORONTO -- Twenty-one games into the season, with a 12-9 record and nine wins in their last 10 after Sunday's win here over the Raptors has us scrambling for more historical references as to the last time the Knicks had any kind of success like this.
And there's another historic trend worth noting that involves the Knicks and Amar'e Stoudemire, but it's not statistical. This one is a little more tangible. It's also quite plush. And orange and blue.
It's a towel that Stoudemire -- and only Stoudemire -- uses on the Knicks bench for home and away games. While everyone else has those white dishrags the NBA provides each team, Stoudemire has this luxurious one you see pictured here. He wraps it around his neck when he's on the bench and wipes his sweat with it during timeouts.
This towel has some significance. It is a leftover from the playoff era. So it sounds like good karma, right?
Well, truth be told, Stoudemire was issued the towel for other reasons that have little to do with it being a lucky charm. Those NBA towels have the Gatorade logo, which is a primary sponsor of the league. But the Garden has had a longstanding commitment with the Cocoa Cola company which, of course, manufactures Gatorade's rival, Powerade.
Stoudemire's status as a marquee star results in him being photographed not just on the court, but also on the bench. It wouldn't look good if the Garden's highest-paid and most exposed employee was seen with the G logo draped over his shoulders. So a low-level employee came up with a plan to protect the star and, as a result, the Garden's partnership with a major brand.
The Knicks could have just ordered a few white towels without any logos on them for Stoudemire to use, so the fact that this someone -- who wished to remain nameless -- came across one with a little bit of history in it does soften the very corporate reasoning behind the move.
Now if only the rest of the team could enjoy these towels. To do that, they'll have to earn them come April.
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* - More and more it is becoming apparent that the Knicks will need to look into acquiring a backup point guard to take some of the load off Raymond Felton. For now, Toney Douglas is the backup, but it's clear Douglas struggles to run the offense while Felton is on the bench.The best case scenario would be to bring in a heady veteran who knows how to run an offense and pass the ball and doesn't need a lot of minutes.
There aren't many options like that out there for the Knicks, especially this early in the season. One alternative could be Brooklynite (and Stephon Marbury's cousin) Sebastian Telfair, who will see his playing time decrease once Jonny Flynn returns to the Timberwolves. Telfair is an expiring contract ($2.7M) and can play in the up-tempo system. He's a decent passer, though mostly in transition, and not a strong shooter or defender, but you're not going to get much on the open market.
J.J. Barea ($1.8M expiring) is someone the Knicks have had their eye on, but Dallas still covets him while Roddy Beaubois develops. Obviously the most important factor in any move the Knicks make involves preserving cap space for 2011 and a potential run at Carmelo Anthony. Purely speculation, but Acie Law, who was just waived by the Grizzlies, could be an option, though the Knicks would have to waive a player to clear a spot on the roster.