Harrington Blunder Does Knicks in Again

Published on: 7th April, 2009

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New York — It was more of the same thing for the Knicks tonight as they allowed another poor team, the 17-54 Los Angeles Clippers, come into Madison Square Garden and pretty much score at will in another losing effort, 140-135. It was the Knicks sixth straight loss as their season is dwindling down to what amounts to eleven more games for many of their players to try to impress Knick brass for next year’s contracts or to get attention from other teams around the league.

Mike Taylor, a backup guard for the Clippers who came into the game averaging 3.9 points per game, absolutely torched the Knicks tonight with the best game of his life, scoring a career-high 35 points. Mike who?

“It finally came all together especially with the team being down big in the first quarter,” said Taylor. “It was my chance to pick it up and bring the energy that I have been bringing all year.”

Taylor, the second round choice of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2008 NBA Draft (55th pick overall) had knocked around the NBA and the NBA Developmental League as a typical second round journeymen this year. He had played in 40 games for the Clips this year, averaging 12.5 minutes per game and just 3.9 points per game before his explosion tonight.

“I felt comfortable and got into a comfort zone,” Taylor continued. “It was probably the first time this year I really felt comfortable out there and wasn’t worried about too much. I got a chance to play and when the shots are going in, it felt like everything was just going my way.

Indeed, the young man from Iowa State University quite possibly made himself a lot of NBA money tonight with his performance on the grand stage of Madison Square Garden. He certainly got the attention of the Knicks afterwards, but according to Nate Robinson, who was assigned to guard Taylor, the Knicks did not properly prepare for the young man. I asked Robinson what he had expected from Taylor going into the game.

“Well, they had him marked as a center so it’s kind of weird to be chasing down a guy who was supposed to be a center,” Robinson said. “He had a hell of a game, though. I knew from Mardy Collins (former Knick now Clipper) he could dunk and was quick. He had 35, seven or eight rebounds, three assists. He can play.”

Haven’t we seen this picture over and over again for the past decade or so? Playing out the string seems to be a Knick staple in all of their seasons, doesn’t it? With this, their sixth straight loss, they fell to a 28-43 record, seriously endangering any chance of showing any marked improvement over last season’s record when they finished 23-59. If the Knicks lose their remaining 11 games of this tragic season, they will end up with 28-54 record, pretty commensurate to last year’s misery, the final season of the Isiah Thomas era. This was not supposed to be the way the Mike D’Antoni era was to play out.

“I don’ know if they have lost confidence or have gotten worn out,” said D’Antoni. “I don’t know what the deal is but I do know sometimes there are stretches where we look really good and then there are stretches where we are not mentally focused and not doing the little things we talked about. You have to guard somebody. You have to guard somebody because it is kind of man-to-man warfare and you got to do it and we just let them shoot without a lot of pressure and just not having enough grit and determination to get it done.”

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