Knicks raise prices, lower results

The way the New York Knicks are going now, it would have been easier for Knicks fans to go to Coney Island and ride a blue and orange roller coaster for a while rather than watch this team’s crazy highs and lows.  

It’d be cheaper, too.

The Knicks have announced another ticket increasethis year.  This one is only 4.9% (compared to 49% last year for some seats) and it will hit fans in the upper-bowl (you know, the “cheap” seats).  The Knicks swear it has nothing to do with capitalizing on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, which has been tempered as of late.  

The Knicks lost to the Mavericks last night, marking their fifth loss in eight games.  The Knicks went on a “Lin-streak” (I’m so, so sorry for that) of seven games, which extended into an eight-wins-in-nine-games stretch before Carmelo Anthony’s return.  They’re 2-4 since then, which is a bit of an over-simplification because that is also when JR Smith and Baron Davis entered the mix. 

Still, it’s Melo that is now the face of this franchise.  And it’s Melo that everyone has pre-ordained as the reason this Knicks run could fall apart.  So it’s Melo that has to answer for it. 

“I think anytime you go from the early part of the season, just having the ball and me just having the ball and being the distributor, and now just running the wings and waiting for the ball to come to me, that’s quite an adjustment for myself.”

I’m sure Melo will bear the lion’s share of the blame, but the situation in New York is much, much more complicated than that. 

Yes, Carmelo Anthony is a bit at fault.  He’s going to have to learn to play nicer.  I know he wants the ball all the time because he thinks he can make things happen that other players can’t.  And that may well be true.  But he’s also got to trust in his teammates to get the job done too. That’s part one.

Part two is the overall chemistry of the team that is RADICALLY different from opening day.  The offense is in the hands of Jeremy Lin now.  Baron Davis is coming off the bench with JR Smith.  Shumpert’s role is changing.  Now Josh Harrelson is back.  You can’t just toss all those elements together, especially given how successful the Knicks were with Lin taking over, and expect things to be seamless.  

And speaking of Lin, don’t you think other teams have learned a few things about him?  He’s been harrassed, pressured, and pummelled.  He’s always had a bit of a turnover problem, but he’s already had an eight and a six turnover game over the past couple of weeks.  His shooting percentage in the two March games is 34.5%, down from 47.2% in February.  Teams are keying on Lin and forcing him to make mistakes he wasn’t making before. 

Tyson Chandler (wrist) is still hurting.  Amar’e Stoudemire is, well, not Amar’e Stoudemire anymore.  He’s hoping dropping a few pounds will help.

“Just going back to the old Stat,” Stoudemire said, referring to his nickname. “That’s all that is. Just getting back in great shape, getting my rhythm back out there on the court and playing up-tempo basketball. That’s something that teams are afraid of. We got to get back to it.”

The Knicks have taken a step back that many could say is expected.  The problem is, with a condensed season, they are running out of time snap out of it.  The Boston Celtics, with whom they were tied just last week, have won five straight games and can take the Atlantic Division lead with a win in Philadephia tonight.  The Milwaukee Bucks (three games behind) are almost as close to the eighth seeded Knicks as the Knicks (2.5 games behind) are to Boston. 

It’s not time to panic in New York.  The reality of things is the team wasn’t very well constructed to begin with, and they’re in a much better position now than they were about a month ago.  Even if the sand runs out of the hour glass this season, they can look forward to a better future.

That is, if the Knicks themselves don’t sabotage it first.