Whatever happened to stick and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?
After an uninspired home loss to the ever hapless Los Angeles Clippers, Knick Coach Mike D'Antoni whined aloud that his team was being undercut by the Garden faithful's frequent chants for current Denver Nugget, Carmelo Anthony.
After a 4-10 run the New Yorkers find themselves on the brink of flatlining, falling to .500 with the blistering Lakers on tap tonight in Manhattan.
That still leaves the group in decent playoff position, but with the Sixers rising—Indiana and Charlotte within striking position if the free-fall continues—the Knick coach should know better than to dictate terms to a fan base that has suffered more than a decade of unrelenting futility and one that has little interest in experiencing a similar type of dissatisfying slide in the latter stages of 2010/1011.
Of course a little over a month ago the Knicks were flying, winners of 13 games in 14 starts, and any urgency on the Let's Get 'Melo front was offset by the teams exciting play and intriguing youth.
The chants back then were MVP multiplied for newcomer Amare Stoudemire — that might have been a better time for D'Antoni to ask the crowd to take it easy because reasonable success shy of the mid season point does not add up to any kind of a season and his team has gone a long way toward proving that over the last fifteen games.
To be sure the Knicks haven't gone on this bender because of crowd unrest.
And it better not be a result of deterred will over a potential player move because that would speak unseemly volumes in regard to the teams all important mental toughness.
Instead of crying about harsh treatment from the crowd the man might better remind his legions of their obligation to play their collective asses off—even more so in the face of a potential player move—if keeping the status quo or team mix in place is really a foremost concern.
A little defense wouldn't hurt either.
If, you want to run and gun three's until the lights go off, well go ahead, Knick fans will abide it, but don't tell them when things aren't clicking the fault lies with chants that ring from above when down below the teams' interior D is invaded like a hunk of cheese in a rodents bazaar.
The truth is if the Knick's do acquire Anthony, his boundless ability to score from twenty feet and in, (are only forced to part with Wilson Chandler and a host of other mostly irrelevant parts), the minimally reconfigured line-up—Stat, Gallinari, Fields, Felton & 'Melo will be able to fill it up rather nicely without the benefit of the once famed D'Antoni Seven Second System.
In fact, that group would look awful good in a half court set, maybe as tight as any team in the league.
A tidy benefit come playoff time.
But to advance they'll need to play a taut, team oriented defense to overcome their lack of a true big in the middle and the question lingers if any Mike D'Antoni team will ever be thusly capable of doing so.
If that continues to be the case, and Donnie Walsh even gets to stick around beyond this year he might very well find himself pondering the notion of a coaching change.
If and when that time does come, Walsh might briefly consider D'Antoni's response to a query on the Knick president's job status from a week or two ago.
"Those things will take care of themselves", D'Antoni replied, and while it wasn't quite the same as throwing Walsh under a bus, there was a pretty apparent lack of gratitude expressed for the man who brought him to New York and stuck by his side in an unrelenting way while Coach D's teams were losing more than one hundred games in his first couple of Madison Square Garden seasons.
Those were not pretty days, like this past month has been filled with unsettling reminders of uglier times gone by.
Right now the chants are for 'Melo, and they'll get louder if the Knicks continue to play poorly and any protests by D'Antoni will only serve to fuel the fire.
Because when it comes right down to it there's no whining in basketball, Mike.
Even my eight year old kid knows that.
Bring on the Lakers,