“For the first three quarters of last night’s Knicks game against the Orlando Magic, the Knicks were almost a parody of the team most of their detractors spent the summer mocking them for being. They were bewilderingly lazy on offense — that ball movement that marked the first four wins was nonexistent — they were slow on defensive rotations, and they generally looked like a team that was too old and too bored to be bothered. In the fourth quarter, they turned all that around, but that team everyone was afraid would show up this year did, at least for a while, arrive.”
Tommy DeeWe talked about this at great length yesterday in terms of needing energy. This was an easy one to predict. Warm weather, a few off days and probably a round of golf sandwiched in… the Knicks were going to be sluggish. And age has something to do with that. But that’s where J.R. Smith’s buzzing energy was critically needed. And it was delivered big time in the 3rd quarter after a snooze-fest of a first half.
This is what John Starks would do. Instant energy, good or bad. I laugh at people who put Starks on this pedestal and scoff at J.R.’s limitations. Why? Because Starks was incredibly limited as a player. Starks, by the way, started just 420 of his 866 NBA game career. As a Knick, he started just 255 of his 491. But he played like his next meal depended on it. He was J.R. before J.R. and all he was looking for was a home and a place to be loved. He still gets that when he walks in the Garden. J.R., you can tell, wants the same thing. He’s a great kid and an incredible talent. I think that this is Smith’s homecoming and that he’s ready to have the best season of his career under the guidance of Woodson and the warmth from you, the fans. He plays hard, he plays tough and he’s exciting. He also makes want to throw up sometimes.
Older Knicks fans, that description sounds like Starks, no?
It also sounds like what it means to be a Knick. The former anyway.
The Knicks needed J.R. last night and he delivered. That’s what great players and great 6th men do.
He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite.