Archive for November 4th, 2007

A walk around Knicks-Wolves pregame

Pregame -

Isiah Thomas talks for five minutes or so, mainly questions about Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry. He also reiterates his “whoever is playing the best” mantra, which basically means he plans on rewarding good play which could lead to wins. He also addresses the fact that Al Sharpton canceled his protest.

Randy Wittman, who some of you may or may not know is a former teammate of Isiah Thomas from their days at Indiana. He does his pregame business in a much more informal setting, sitting on the scorer’s table while his team shoots around. He says he is there for his friend and that famous smile needs to return.

After the meet and greet with a few reporters, I relate to him my autograph story about how in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I used to mail away cards to get autographed and I have his from when he played with the Pacers. I said, I often wondered if they were legitimate or if some intern signed them and he says that I’ll have to show him the card.

As this informal conversation is happening, Antoine Walker is shooting and I must say he looks kind of thinner, which kind of contradicts Pat Riley’s contention that he wasn’t in shape. (Of course I could be wrong as I’m not a fitness guru).

So you’ve lost your first three games

Less than a week into the new season, there are five teams that are 0-3, including three that many project to be in the playoffs.

The teams are as follows:

Washington - @ Indiana, @ Boston and vs. Orlando

Chicago - @ New Jersey, vs. Philadelphia, @ Milwaukee

Golden State - vs. Utah, @ LA Clippers, @ Utah

Two of the teams are not projected to be in the playoffs:

Portland - @ San Antonio, @ New Orleans, @ Houston

Sacramento - @ New Orleans, @ San Antonio, @ Dallas

So what does this mean, is the season doomed? Off the top of my head I couldn’t tell you but I know where to get the evidence.


Boston - 0-3 finished with 24 wins

Denver - 0-3 finished with 45 wins lost to Spurs in the first round

Dallas - 0-4 finished with 67 wins lost to Warriors in first round


Philadelphia 0-3 finished with 38 wins, two games out of the eighth seed

Toronto 0-9 finished with 27 wins

New York 0-5 finished with 23 wins

Atlanta 0-9 finished with 26 wins

Orlando 0-3 finished with 36 wins


Cleveland 0-3 finished with 42 wins one behind the eighth-place Sixers

Chicago 0-9 finished with 47 wins, lost to Washington in the first round

Atlanta 0-4 finished with 13 wins

New Orleans 0-8 finished with 18 wins

Memphis 0-4 finished with 45 wins, lost to Phoenix in the first round

Golden State 0-6 finished with 34 wins

Sacramento 0-3 finished with 50 wins, lost to Seattle in the first round


Miami 0-7 finished with 42 wins, lost to Indiana in the second round

Atlanta 0-3 finished with 28 wins

Cleveland 0-5 finished with 35 wins, one behind the eighth place Celtics

So in the last four seasons, it happened 18 times and six times team recovered. That being said, how are these teams feeling about it

Washington - Their league-worst field goal percentage got worse after a 34.8 showing in the loss to Orlando but they say they’ll be fine:

“We’ll bounce back,” Eddie Jordan said. “If this was three in a row in January, then it wouldn’t be a red flag. But because it is three in a row at the beginning of the season, it stands out. We’re not in a bad way. We feel good, and we’ll bounce back.”

“We’ll find [the offense]. No one is panicking,” Caron Butler said. “We know what this nucleus is capable of, and the coaching staff is great at making changes on the fly. We’ll just have to tweak it a little bit — a tweak here and a tweak there and we’ll get back at it.”

Chicago - Perhaps the recent trade talks and lack of contract extension have factored in. Ben Gordon was the only starter to reach double figures and it came on a 31-percent shooting night and a 14-turnover night. The tone from the postgame is considerably different than that from Washington.

Scott Skiles: “I felt like we were just bored with preseason. But maybe we just weren’t very good.”

Kirk Hinrich: “We’re not the same team right now.

Golden State: The Warriors have allowed 133, 120 and 117. They have scored 110, 114 and 96. The first two losses resulted in a lineup change as Al Harrington became a starter and Monta Ellis became a reserve. That kept Carlos Boozer somewhat quiet but the Jazz guards made plenty of noise.

The mood is not doom and gloom but the knowledge they can’t screw around much longer is apparent:

“We made that crazy run last year, but we can’t afford to get off to an 0-3, 0-4, 0-5 (start),” Warriors forward Matt Barnes said. “No one can afford that. We have to straighten this out somehow. It obviously starts on the defensive end. We’ve got to tighten up our defense, and we’ve just got to win us some games.”

Portland - Putting a rebuilding team on the road against three better teams to start is always difficult. It can cause many weaknesses to be exposed and while the talent is there, it doesn’t provide them with ample opportunities to prove it. In the three games, they fell behind by a combined 52 points before halftime.

“The thing I recognize is we have some things to work on — and this road trip showed that,” forward Martell Webster said. “The chemistry on this team is fine — we just have to figure out a way to put together four quarters. I mean, you can see that it takes us being down 15 to 20 points for us to dig down in a stance and start playing people.

Sacramento - I doubt anyone is surprised that the Kings are where they are. Even with Ron Artest and Mike Bibby, the Kings are expected to be among the league’s worst teams. Things have fallen so far the Arco Arena did not get a vote in the GM’s poll of the best homecourt advantages. Their third loss had to make anyone involved with the Kings nautious as they allowed the Mavericks to shoot 65 percent.

“Everybody knows we’ve got a long ways to work and this is just the first three of 82 games,” Mikki Moore said. “But a (butt)-whupping is a butt-whupping. I’m not saying we’re getting used to it, but we’re just trying to keep each other up.”

Basketball blog