The Knicks' first half effort against the Grizzlies on Friday night was about as pathetic as some of the hook-up attempts I witnessed among a few sloshed locals on Beale. I worked harder getting through a full order of wings with Berman than what they tried to pass off as basketball in those first two quarters.
So Brother Dan made it an easy interview for Tina Cervasio at halftime (thanks to Seven Seconds or Mess for posting the video):
It took a little while even after that for things to finally pick up as the Grizzlies increased the 21-point halftime lead to 29 with 3:19 left in the third. But in the fourth quarter, Lionel Hollins couldn't let his bench finish the game. With Toney Douglas playing relentless defense and scoring the ball at the other end and Bill Walker getting hot going up against his friend, O.J. Mayo, the Knicks somehow whittled that deficit down to five in the final 34.7 seconds. Too little, too late.
Of course what really are the Knicks playing for at this point? Do any of them care that the more they lose, the better it is for the Utah Jazz?
Mike D'Antoni acknowledged the fourth quarter rally but afterward was still fuming about the first half. For the record, I was out on the court before the game for roughly an hour and hardly any Knick players came out for a pregame workout. That was a promising sign right there.
"You can't play the game without energy and hustle," D'Antoni said. "You just can't do it . . . There's a way to play the game and you've got to play it that way, otherwise it doesn't work."
D'Antoni described it as "a malaise" and said once he went to the bench with young players such as Douglas and Walker, things changed because those players competed.
"That's kind of all we're asking them to do is compete right now," he said. "We do that and we'll win a bunch of games and be as good as we can be. But you have to compete."