There were only two sports played this week, but the New York area is blessed with five teams in those sports (though the words ‘blessed’ and ‘Islanders’ haven’t really gone together in 26 years or so).
It’s been a roller-coaster week for the locals: The Knicks beat Boston but lost to the lowly Oklahoma City Supersonics. (Could they have picked a more craptastic name than Thunder?
The move to OK had Jack Sikma rolling over in his grave - well, he’s not actually dead yet, but he rolled over in his sleep. Shawn Kemp was so distraught about the Supersonics leaving Seattle that he hasn’t fathered a child in four months.)
The Rangers lost to Washington, beat Pittsburgh, then lost to Montreal. The Devils won two and then lost two. The Islanders and Nets were the only consistent teams - the Isles consistently bad (0-4) and the Nets good (3-1).
Meanwhile, the Giants are getting ready for the throw down in the Meadowlands against Philly, and the Jets are getting coaches fired just for talking to them. The prize for this week’s Hot Stove Player of the Week is a chance to appear on the greatest TV show ever made: Superstars, which is coming back to ABC this summer.
Vince Carter: The Nets guard beat Atlanta on Friday night with a buzzer-beating three (and scored 18 points). And he picked up the slack in their last three games with Devin Harris out, by scoring 20, with six assists and nine rebounds in a loss to Miami on Saturday, putting up a 29/7/9 line in the victory over Sacramento on Monday, and 29/12/6 in the win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
(Speaking of names - the Grizzlies? They couldn’t have made an effort to find a better name? Did they want to keep the Vancouver Grizzlies’ tradition alive? How about going old school, with the Memphis Tams?)
Carter has led the Nets to three home wins in a row for the first time this season.
Yi Jianlian: The ginormous Chinese center had his first back-to-back 20 point games for the Nets in the team’s last two wins. He scored 22 with 13 rebounds on Monday and 20/6 on Wednesday.
David Lee: The fan favorite is a double/double machine, putting up 26 points and 11 rebounds on Friday, and then 14/14, 14/13 and 13/15 in the Knicks’ next three games. If only they can win some of them.
Petr Prucha: After being benched for much of the season (DNP/CSD - did not play/coach’s stupid decision), Prucha has a four-game point streak going in his first four games back, and is one of the few Rangers who consistently plays with passion and aggression.
Anti-Fans of the Week
NHL Fans: Four Canadiens (and are they Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Guy Lapointe and Yvan Cournoyer? Umm, no), two Penguins, three Ducks and three Blackhawks? Come on. No Alex Ovechkin? No Bruins? No Sharks? No Red Wings?
The All-Star game is a snooze fest anyway, but the ballot stuffing was out of control this year. Here are some ideas to spice up the game:
1. Play the game in Mystery, Alaska, against the locals.
2. Add the Hanson Brothers to the game.
3. Set Jarkko Ruutu loose on a biting spree during the game.
4. All the players on the losing team are killed.
5. Have only two players total in the game: Sean Avery vs. Martin Brodeur.