December 15, 2017

Jerry Jones wants an incentive-based contract for Roger Goodell; Kristaps Porzingas leads Knicks; Deontay Wilder knocks out Bermane Stiverne; and more

 

 

 

 

 

Sports Illustrated capitalizes off of Colin Kaepernick and omits him from iconic cover photo; Stan Van Gundy wants to eliminate NBA Draft

In this episode of What’s The 411Sports, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, co-hosts of What’s The 411Sports are talking about: Kevin Hart, Sports Illustrated, Colin Kaepernick, Stan Van Gundy, Carmelo Anthony, Odell Beckham Jr., Dwyane Wade, and Rick Pitino.

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Los Angeles Lakers' players standing arm-in-arm in unity.

 

Lonzo Ball shows he has skills; Boucek joins Hammon in NBA ranks; Katie Smith has Liberty; Brooklyn Nets lose Lin for season; and; Knicks not winning yet

POPPIN'

Colin Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL

As we know, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL citing that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the NFL for kneeling during the National Anthem.

However, some are saying that this case could be bigger than people realized. Various sources seem to think that not only could he end up getting his job back, but he could end up terminating the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement ahead of its scheduled 2021 expiration date:

Article 69, Section 2 of the CBA allows for the agreement to be terminated prematurely in the event of proof of collusion.

Under Article 17, Section 16(c) of the CBA, termination can arise from only one incident of collusion involving only one player if there is clear and convincing evidence of a violation.

Jerry Jones Didn’t Stand for National Anthem

It turns out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not stand for the National Anthem during his first Cowboys game as an owner. Jones sat during the anthem with Liz Taylor, which prompted a fan to write this note:

“JEERS: To Jerry Jones and Liz Taylor, who were the only two people at last Sunday’s Cowboys-Redskins game not standing when the national anthem was played.

Riding out in a cart just before the anthem began was bad enough, but sitting while it was played was more than many of us could handle.

Jerry, please note that in Texas, we stand for the national anthem.

P.S.: Tom [Landry] always took off his hat.”

Lonzo Ball Gives Better Show with Game 2

Lonzo Ball had a terrible regular season NBA debut against the L.A. Clippers, but he redeemed himself in his second regular-season NBA game against the Phoenix Suns.

Ball flirted with a triple-double, scoring 29 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out nine assists while drilling four or more 3-pointers in the process.

QUICK HITS

• Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles is donating entire salary to boost racial equality in education
• ESPN sportscaster Jemele Hill is back from suspension and she’s not mad at ESPN.
Kevin Durant admits: “A couple years ago, I didn't really know how to play team defense that well. More and more, I'm learning about team defense and making multiple efforts.”
• In separate incidents, Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins and Celtics’ Kyrie Irving were both fined $25,000 for coarse language aimed at a fan
• The Sacramento Kings hired Jenny Boucek as assistant player development coach. Boucek is now the second active female assistant coach in the NBA, along with Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs.
• And, the NY Liberty hired Katie Smith to be its new head coach

Shahid “Shan” Khan Goes off on Donald Trump, Again

Speaking to USA Today, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan doubles down on his recent critique of Donald Trump overall, Trump’s attacks on people of color, and finally the league. Khan said:

“Let’s get real. The attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews.

I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive.

Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.”

Khan goes on to respond to whether or not he regrets contributing to Trump’s inauguration fund.

“I have no regrets in life. This ugly, toxic side sours the whole experience.”

 NIKE Connect Jerseys Didn’t Hold Up to Rigors of NBA

Nike is in its first year of a jersey deal with the NBA, and on opening night, arguably their biggest endorser — LeBron James — had his Nike jersey split down the middle of his back.

It might be taken as a fluke if it had only happened to LeBron.

However, in a preseason game, half the back of Lakers’ Tyler Ennis’ jersey had come apart.

Photo of the Week

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of LaVar Ball giving his son, Lonzo, some fatherly advice.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Yankees Fans Disappointed In ALCS Outcome

The NY Yankees could not get past the Houston Astros, so no trip to the World Series this season.

The Astros go on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB World Series. The first game is in Los Angeles tonight.

The New York Mets Get a New Manager

In the wake of Terry Collins exiting as NY Mets manager to work in the front office, the Mets signed Mickey Calloway as its new manager.

Calloway was a pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians and he received a warm welcome from Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

Calloway comes from a family that reveres baseball, he is named after Mickey Mantle and his brother Casey is named after Casey Stengel.

Brooklyn Nets Guard Jeremy Lin Out for Season

The Brooklyn Nets received another wake-up call during Game 1 of the regular NBA season when team leader Jeremy Lin went down with a ruptured tendon in his right knee. Lin had surgery to repair his ruptured patella tendon and will be out for the rest of the season.

 New York Knicks on a Losing Skid

Last week, we talked about how most NY Knicks fans were trying to reconcile in their minds that the Knicks are in rebuild mode and nothing says rebuild more when your team has yet to win a game.

Thus far, Kristaps Porzingas is performing well as the leader of the team, but the true measurement of leadership is how well Kristaps will be able to hold up under pressure from game losses.

With three consecutive losses so far, many Knicks fans are expressing their sorrow that Carmelo Anthony is no longer with the team. Anthony currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

OFF TOPIC

D.L. Hughley Names the Three Most Hated Black Men in America

In a TMZ interview at LAX, comedian D.L. HUGHLEY said:

“The three most hated Black men in America are Barack Obama, Colin Kaepernick, and O.J.

And two of them never were accused of murder.

They hate Colin Kaepernick right now more than they hate O.J.”

LeBron James Give his Children a Lesson in Racism

In an interview with GQ magazine, Lebron James said he told his kids about the n-Word incident on their home in Brentwood, California. He used it as a teachable moment telling them:

“When y’all go out in public and y’all start driving or y’all start moving around, be respectful to cops, as much as you can.

When you get pulled over, call your mom or dad, put it on speakerphone, and put your phone underneath the seat. But be respectful the whole time.”

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lance Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter

Former Knicks player, Carmelo Anthony, will not only be missed by many New York fans, but also at least one teammate, Lance Thomas.

When Carmelo was traded to OKC, Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter to The Players Tribune thanking Carmelo.

“I was hurt when he left,” Thomas said. “Not only not having him as a teammate but not having him here as one of my best friends.

Are you surprised that Carmelo’s departure has affected players in this manner?

Hit us up in the comments section under this video on YouTube.

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Oklahoma City Thunder players Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook posted by fellow teammate, Paul George on his Instagram account and everyone is happy!

NBA players, Sean “Diddy” Combs and others stand behind NFL players; Brooklyn Nets Players look forward to new season; Time for safety nets at MLB stadiums

WHAT'S POPPIN'

Donald Trump Uses NFL to Boost his Ratings

Donald Trump injected himself into the NFL players’ protest against rogue police officers killing innocent Black men. Trump said at a campaign rally in Alabama that owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans should consider walking out in protest “when somebody disrespects our flag.” Trump’s comments touched off a firestorm.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t hesitate to give Trump serious pushback, stating:

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association tweeted: “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”

A good number of NFL players took exception to Trump attempting to deny their US Constitutional right to free speech, and being called “sons of bitches”. NBA players and others are standing up, even Sean “Diddy” Combs commented.

Donald Trump Disinvites Golden State Warriors

Speaking of Donald Trump, he rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House because Stephen Curry was hesitating and ultimately decided he did not want to go. “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!,” Trump tweeted. Based on the current climate, the UNC Men’s Basketball team decided its players won’t be visiting the White House either.

Carmelo Anthony Has Left the Building

It took a minute, but a deal that worked for all the parties involved finally got done. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a player for the New York Knicks; he is now signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and company.

QUICK HITS

Aaron Hernandez’s attorney says the late football player had extreme CTE and his suing the NFL and the New England Patriots on behalf of his daughter
Floyd Mayweather told TMZ Sports that he has yet to cash his checks from the Pacquiao and McGregor fights.
Carmelo Anthony set up a relief fund for Puerto Rico and he pledged 50 thousand dollars.
• The New York Yankees clinched a wild card playoff spot.

OTHER TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE

Is it time for Major League Baseball to install safety nets at its stadiums

Will fans ever forgive Kevin Durant for his fake Twitter account?

Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2017

With Carmelo Anthony gone, the face of the Knicks is now Kristaps Porzingas

OFF TOPIC

Co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z’s business partner, Damon “Dame” Dash, is currently selling his coveted sneaker collection on eBay. Hosted on Shoezeum’s eBay shop, the collection is packed with some of the most coveted items from what many would consider to be the golden years of sneaker culture.

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal came up winners at the US OPEN; the Cavs and Celtics Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade dissected, Brooklyn Nets sale news

In this 96th episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about how Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal  slayed at the 2017 US OPEN, the Cavaliers, and Celtics trade of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge getting thrown under the bus, Roger Goodell and the NFL on Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett's arrest by the Las Vegas police, the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Nets, the NY Yankees, Carmelo Anthony's outlook with the NY Knicks and his wife La La Anthony. Our Photo of the Week is Jeremy Lin and Caris Levert in Taiwan.

WHAT’S POPPIN’

2017 US OPEN

Congratulations are due to professional tennis players Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal on their grand slam wins at the 2017 US OPEN. Stephens beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, to win the Women’s Final. And, on the men’s side, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s US OPEN FINAL.

Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

Kyrie Irving has left the building. Irving is now with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick by way of the Boston Celtics, and a 2020 pick from Boston.

The Courts Give Ezekiel Elliot a Reprieve

The Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot can play for the Cowboys this season despite Roger Goodell handing down a six-game suspension to Elliot for domestic violence. The NFL Players Association took the NFL to court to get a Temporary Restraining Order over the process by which Goodell came to Elliot’s punishment, and won.

NFL Give Josh Brown a Six-Game Suspension

The NFL, after suspending former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown 1 Game for beating his wife, quietly suspended him for 6 games. The league reopened the investigation based on new info and has yet to release its findings. The NFL concluded there was a violation of its personal conduct policy and imposed a 6-game suspension which Brown accepted without appeal.

NFL Supports Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police when he was leaving a night club. Bennett says that the officer told him he would "blow my f*cking head off"

NBA and NBA Players Association Issue Joint Statement on Social Issues

Here’s a big contrast between the NBA and the NFL. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging players to speak out on social issues, stating to NBA players:

“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets’ players Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert in Taiwan.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Brooklyn Nets for Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to do a slow dance to sell the team. Initially, Prokhorov wanted to sell a minority stake in the team, but because of the pace, he is willing to sell up to 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent shortly thereafter. Sources say Prokhorov is encouraged by the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion.

Carmelo Anthony Still with the NY Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the New York Knicks even though both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest in him. Additionally, the Knicks point guard situation isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off and the team is considering bringing in point guards Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack for training camp.

The New York Yankees in the Hunt

 Right now, there is enough space between the Yankees and the Orioles for the Yanks to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

OFF TOPIC

Now, let’s go off topic. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony showed up unexpectedly at the launch of his estranged wife, La La Anthony’s, new denim line at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Carmelo proudly posted a photo of La La on Instagram.

Carmelo Anthony Instagram post of the launch of LaLa Anthonys new denim line at Lord and Taylor 613x400

 

He's the reason why I started to watch basketball and became interested in the sport. He's the reason why at an undersized height of 5'8, I thought I had a chance at organized basketball, at least in my thoughts. The generations before mine grew up watching greats like Jerry West, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

I had Allen Iverson.

I still remember the day I purchased his #3 Jersey, the home all white Jersey representing the Philadelphia 76ers logo and uniforms from 1997-2009.

On Saturday night March 1, 2014, the 76ers organization during a home game hosting the Washington Wizards, honored its former franchise player by retiring his jersey during halftime.

His Jersey was hoisted up to the rafters joining the likes of other retired numbers of #6 Julius Erving, #34 Charles Barkley, and #13 Wilt Chamberlain. It was a heart-warming ceremony in which past 76ers greats and some of Iverson's teammates, including Dikembe Mutumbo and Julius Erving among others, were in attendance on the floor to celebrate with him.

It's actually not ludicrous to mention his name among those greats. He was that good.

Iverson received an MVP award in 200. He made 11 All-Star appearances (2000-2010); he's a 2-time All-Star game MVP awards winner (2001-2005), a 4-time scoring champ (1999, 2001-2001, 2005) and a 3-time All-NBA First team member (1999, 2001, 2005). But, wait, there's more!! Iverson was All-NBA Second Team for three years (2000, 2002-2003); an All-NBA Third Team member (2006); the NBA Rookie of the Year for 1997; All-Rookie NBA First Team also in 1997, and a 3-Time NBA Steals leader three years in a row from 2000-2003.

An Olympian, Iverson was selected to be a part of Team USA for the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament which was held in Puerto Rico. Iverson averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while helping the USA Team finish with a perfect 10-0 record.

Other than never taking a night off from stepping foot on the hardwood, Iverson's retirement resonates with me because of the cultural and revolutionary impact he has made as a professional athlete. The NBA's dress code from dress-down to casual and formal is a result of Allen Iverson.

The cross-over dribble becoming as popular as it is today, was a torch passed down from Pearl Washington to Tim Hardaway and then to Iverson who modernized it and elevated its variations to his own style. He incorporated the moves of the pickup games of the playgrounds into NBA arenas which made him box office. His clothing choices off the court prompted the general public to question his character which in result compelled Iverson to attach the famed metaphorical phrase to himself of "don't judge a book by its cover".

He was also a trendsetter, making the cornrows hairstyle a global necessity as everyone had to have it. A hairstyle mostly sported by criminals became accepted by the general public as Iverson stated in one of the best interviews conducted by sports journalist Stephen A. Smith of ESPN once upon a time on his show, "Quite Frankly," "I made it Alright." Iverson inspired a generation of people, specifically targeting the children, to not just play basketball, but to be themselves.

In a post-retirement interview, Iverson, regarding his on-court attire and gear which included a headband and an arm sleeve throughout the better part of his playing days, stated that I wanted to look like a superhero. Sporting the arm sleeve began during the 2000-01 regular season. Iverson wore the right arm sleeve recovering from an injury that affected his right elbow. If that's the case who's to say that same attire and compilation of on-court gear hasn't inspired the likes of Miami Heat F Lebron James and New York Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, two players known for sporting the headband and arm sleeve combo. He tried his crossover on a Hall-Of-Famer in Michael Jordan successful in his attempt as Jordan bit on Iverson's change of direction as he drifted to his right off the hesitation crossover pulling up for a jump-shot which was all net.

One of my favorite Iverson moves was a sequence of events where Iverson was draped all over by then Kings Forward Peja Stojakovic at the corner of the three-point line in which Peja's defense was so compressing, that Iverson dribbled the ball from his right hand to the other behind Peja's back to free himself off the corner.

It was plays like that one that drew me to Iverson as a player. I marveled at the fact that someone of such a small stature could dominate a game single-handedly to his advantage causing numerous problems for the opposing team's defensive alignments and strategies. I remember how tough Iverson was, relentless in attacking the basket despite the punishment he received in return resulting in several injuries occurring throughout his career. It didn't matter who suited up for the other team assigned to protect the rim, Iverson penetrated and more times than not, you can count two in. Fans root for their teams with all their energy, but when Iverson came to town, it was hard to send negative resentment in the form of boos his way because we all knew we were in attendance to see what he would do next.

There was no answer for "The Answer", a name given to Iverson by Shaquille O'Neal, an All-Time great as a center acknowledging Iverson's greatness.

Iverson has totaled a career of 79, 40-point games for the regular season, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 271, Michael Jordan's 173, Kobe Bryant's 117, and Elgin Baylor's 88. Iverson also had 11, 50-point games following Wilts 118, Jordan's 31, Bryant's 24, Baylor's 14 and Rick Barry's 13.

Sounds like pretty good company to me.

Although Iverson's career has featured incredible highs, trouble was not too far behind as Iverson experienced his share of public controversy and legal problems.

Iverson made national headlines for feuding with coaches he has played for because he disagreed with their principles and methods. A disappointing season due to the team's overall success in the mid-2000s called for an ugly divorce, as management and A.I. had a falling out which led to Iverson's departure from the Sixers.

This then started an NBA tour as Iverson made short stints with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies from 2006-2010. Iverson played three games with the Grizzlies until his contract was terminated by both parties, Iverson and the Grizzlies management, came to an agreement to part ways.

With Iverson facing thoughts of retirement, an opportunity for one last stand to validate his value in the latter stages of his career arrived with the 76ers who offered Iverson a one-year deal for the duration of the 2009-10 NBA regular season on December 2.

Complications to his daughter's health halted Iverson's progress from completing the season as he attended to his daughter's aid.

After a brief stint in the Turkish Basketball League and declining an offer to play in the NBA's development league, Iverson's officially called it quits, retiring from professional basketball entirely on October 30, 2013.

The final chapters of an excellent career had finally closed which led us to the celebration of Iverson's career with his Jersey retirement ceremony on March 1.

Fans, basketball enthusiasts, and sports analysts would all agree that maybe if Iverson accepted a lesser role towards the tail end of his career, he could have achieved the most coveted award of being granted a chance at an NBA title.

But he didn't. He believed he was too great to come off the bench, a role that would hurt his pride in admitting along with the general public that he no longer was the player he once was. He had other ideas.

Because that alternate ending was not a reality let's just reflect on what was and is a Hall-of-Fame career.

Allen Iverson is one of the best little "big" men to ever play the game.

An all-time great.

".. I still feel in my heart and everything I believe that I'm the best Basketball Player in the World and the Best Basketball Player to Eva play this Game," Iverson once expressed.

Long live the Legend of "The Answer", Allen Iverson.

This might be the best bittersweet news of the entire year if you're an avid Knicks fan and supporter. Reported first by Stephen A. Smith, a journalist and NBA insider for ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, Phil Jackson was approached by New York Knicks management about a possible job offer that would give him the responsibilities as the next Head Coach of the Knicks.

Recent reports have been modified updating that report stating that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front office position as team president of basketball operations. I thought that was current GM Steve Mills' job to lose? What about Assistant GM Allan Houston? But this is how Jim Dolan, President and CEO, Cablevision Systems and Chairman, Madison Square Garden company orchestrates his business. The business that we are most concerned with is the New York Knicks.

As of today March 3, 2014, the New York Knicks are well on their way to a disappointing and deflating representation of an NBA regular season, positioned 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, a 25-40 overall record currently enjoying a 4-game winning streak. A new episode of Marvel Agents of Shield premiered tonight on ABC-TV. If you were unaware, it's a pretty good show.

Let's get this Knicks stuff out of the way because that's how hard it is to watch this team. That's how hard it is to fully invest your spirit into the Orange and Blue. Maybe the addition of Phil Jackson in a management arrangement could ease the pain and give us a substantial amount of faith even though it might not translate to wins on the court immediately. Maybe down the road, we will see the fingerprints of what 11-world championships won as a coach and two championships won as a player could transition into as a talent evaluator and trader.

Maybe down the road, we could see an entire franchise image make-over rivaling the San Antonio Spurs organization, minus the dynasty (it's too early) due to the insertion of one man. Maybe he could be exactly what we need. All of these predictions and future dreams could be a reality if Jackson indeed joins the Knicks organization and is given the space and opportunity to operate, only if Dolan keeps his hands to himself. Only if Dolan owns the team and does not get involved in basketball related ideas influencing management transactions and in that case, he has done enough.

Donnie Walsh, remember him? Presently a consultant for the Indiana Pacers was the former President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks. He only drafted a Hall-of-Famer in Reggie Miller in 1987 and aided the construction of a team in the 2013-2014 Pacers who are the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. As of today, the Pacers are 47-17, the best record in the NBA. What Walsh did for the Knicks made him our messiah, as long as he was employed by the Knicks. In 2008, Walsh cleared $27 million off the Knicks payroll in trading players with large contracts for cheaper and durable pieces. He cleared cap space for the Knicks to have a chance at signing a max player among the summer free agent class of 2010, in which Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, were all available. He signed Stoudemire to a five-year $100-million dollar deal. The Knicks were back.

They were having a great season until some bumps in the road steered the Knicks off-track momentarily which prompted Dolan to don his basketball hat and command the pursuit of then Denver Nuggets star F Carmelo Anthony. Walsh obeyed his wishes sacrificing the punch of the team while mortgaging the future. Due to health, pride, and superior basketball knowledge Walsh resigned June 3, 2011.

As Walsh left, a man within the organization became his successor in Glen Grunwald, the former Vice President of the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. He only orchestrated a trade to acquire Vince Carter and drafted Tracy McGrady, giving the Raptors three consecutive playoff berths from 2000-02, which included a trip to the conference semi-finals. In 2012, Grunwald was promoted to general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations for the Knicks. He gave us one of the best seasons to date. In the 2012-13 NBA season, Grunwald manufactured a Knicks team with veterans and role players built around the centerpiece in Anthony to achieve a 54-28 regular season, which clinched their first Atlantic Division crown since the 1994 season and a trip to the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

Like Walsh, Grunwald was let go also following his success. This is all while Dolan has maintained his basketball hat. These moves illustrate that Dolan doesn't allow room to grow or develop, but space to do nothing as your General Manager job will be in jeopardy if he doesn't approve. Now the Knicks General Manager responsibilities belong to a bright gentleman who has never operated Basketball Operations in his life, Steve Mills. The basketball hat is still on. This is the beautiful mind of Dolan at work. Those are his actions.

What does the potential arrival of Jackson mean?

Does it mean that Dolan will actually let the basketball people handle basketball related activities or, is it only a matter of time before he interferes and aides another exit of a great basketball mind?

The mere idea of pursuing Jackson while Mills, the man occupying the current GM position, which hasn't lasted an entire NBA season, says it all.

Dolan can't wait.

You would think he will leave his hands to himself because it is Jackson, the "Zen Master," a man inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, but we don't know. I have faith in a coach who has won 11 world championships to have an idea in choosing the kind of players he suspects has the characteristics and skills that result in wins on the basketball court. Does Dolan believe so, or is this just to save face and throw someone else to the wolves of the general public and the media capital of the world.

It's interesting, isn't it?

This one really hurt, riding a - game winning streak and creeping closer to the final playoff spot, the New York Knicks faced the Cleveland Cavaliers knowing the team they are chasing (Atlanta Hawks) had already lost earlier in the day. That news seemed to bolster the Blue and Orange from the very beginning as they jumped out to a 34-27 first quarter lead paced by Carmelo Anthony's 12 points.

The bench kicked in scoring a combined 17 points between Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Shannon Brown to take a 1- point halftime lead. For a change, it appeared that New York regained the home court confidence they established last year. Then, Cleveland led by Jarrett Jack's (31) and Dion Waiters' (22) points played with the mindset that if they can't make the playoffs, neither should the Knicks.

The comeback began with the Cavs outscoring the Knicks 28-23 in the third getting within 7 (84-77). Then, New York could not hit a shot and could not defend the pick and roll. They missed 13 shots while turning the ball over 5 times. Meanwhile, Cleveland took advantage on the inside, scoring 40 points in the paint. They shot a ridiculous 77% in the second half erasing a 17-point deficit after a Jack 3-pointer with 3:54 left gave them their first lead of the game.

Waiters scored his last points with a trifecta and Anderson Varejao victimized the Knicks with yet another pick and roll ending in his slam extending the lead to 6 (100-94). A J.R. Smith jumper and two Anthony free throws got the Knicks within 2 (102-100) but that's as close as they would get.

As a unit, the Knicks knew they blew an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak to 8 but to get within 2 games of the Hawks. Especially knowing they are about to embark on a 5 game western swing that starts Tuesday night against the Kobe-less Lakers.

Head coach Mike Woodson wanted this game as a springboard to the upcoming trip.

"This was like a getaway game for us to get us set up for the road," he said afterward. "We didn't close it out. So we got to go on the road and win all 5 if we can."

Center Tyson Chandler (4 points) coming off the game against Philadelphia in which he scored 17 points in the win gave kudos to Jack.

"Jarrett Jack took control of the pick and roll in the second-half. He made some tough shots especially down the stretch."

The New York Knicks have 12 games left in the regular season, eight of them on the road.

If they do make the playoffs, they will face either Miami or Indiana. They will be facing teams that are still jockeying for playoff positions. That's why games like last night were one they could not afford to lose.

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