Flying Guillotines - if you want to skip a highly unrelated tangent on Flying Guillotines, and go straight to the Isiah Thomas and Knicks analysis/rant, just skip the next section.
This is a flying guillotine:

It'll give you a head cut.  Bwa ha ha...Despite being referenced in many Wu-Tang Clan songs, it's not just another Ghost Face visual rhyme; it actually is based on a famous kung-fu flick.  Back in the day, Willie Fuego and I used to go over to this store near Times Square (the old Time Square, you know... kung-fu movies, porn, hookers, fake IDs).  In fact, it was directly across from the Port Authority.  We brought all types of kung-fu flicks there.

Flying Guillotines is about... well, there's this blind guy with the flying guillotines, chasing a one-armed man (The Fugitive style).  Oh, and there's this Indian dude who can extend his arms like 20 feet, Dhalsim-style.  I'm not really sure what the plot of the movie is, but look... action!:

By the way, while I'm wasting time on sidenotes here to avoid getting to the Knicks stuff, here's some other related stuff:

  • I was totally going to do a team by team preview of the NBA season, as written by Ghostface:
Atlanta Hawks: Small forwards like white girls 6-train late night/Brandon Wright would look mad love at first sight/steal my light, Hawk mascot ride my motorbike like sunshine/potential to blow up like benign/tumor/wasn't looking good until trade rumor/come true.  But season end short of playoff consumer/like Mom's birthday, buy Good Humor.

Yeah.  Do that 29 more times, just as poorly.

  • Apropos of nothing, here's my fourth-favorite kung-fu flick trailer (with Wu-Tang Clan sampled portion included), from 3 Masters of Evil:

    "Yu Jung. My old archenemy. So tell me... what's up?"

"I despise your killing. Your raping.  You're despicable."
"Are you my judge?"

Seems a good segue point now.

The Knicks quit on Isiah Thomas tonight.  It's the not the first time, either. 

They played hard every game last year, played hard to save this man's job.  Even after the injuries ruined the season, the remaining Knicks last season kept fighting.  Curry dropped 40 points against the Bucks in a game in which the rest of his teammates might have been extras from a D-league game. 

But that was last year, and that was before the Marbury situation. Whatever the team's feelings towards Isiah Thomas last year, there is no doubt how they feel right now.

The Denver Nuggets absolutely destroyed the Knicks a couple of weeks ago.  It was a game the Knicks didn't bother to show up to.  I let it go, because it was their fourth game in five days, and came after a grueling double OT game against the Kings in which several key players (Crawford, Lee) topped 48 minutes.

The Warriors blowout loss at home the next game was unforgivable.  That's when I thought for sure the Knicks had quit on Isiah.  I would have written about it, but I was out for the Thanksgiving break.

The game the next night in Detroit proved it to me.  36 points allowed in the first quarter.  I wrote the notes on how the atrocious Knicks defense allowed 36 points in a quarter, but I never posted it.  Bottom line: the Knicks had quit on their coach.

Except the Knicks won a game against the Bulls, and to prove that it was no fluke, or a case of just beating a worse team... the Knicks went out and the Jazz a couple of days later.

It seems now that those wins were the flukes.
This is the death chamber for Isiah Thomas.  I feel bad for him - as a GM he didn't do as bad a job as reported.  Even worse, that negative coverage made his job very difficult to do.  Because of it, he was put on a short leash by Dolan.  The man who flipped a trade every week for two years was suddenly not allowed to make any moves.  He had to save his job first.

He did, but the leash never came off. He was allowed to get rid of Larry Brown's mistake (Steve Francis), but that was it. 

No Sam Cassell or Andre Miller or Damon Stoudemire. 

Even when an ultra-cheap version of someone who could fill Isiah Thomas' need, Mike Wilks, appears on the market after getting waived by the Nuggets (as he was two days ago), Isiah can't go sign him.

But the problem isn't Isiah Thomas the GM right now.  It's Isiah Thomas the coach.  The team has tuned him out, and tonight they marched into Boston, and performed the team suicide ritual.  When a team does that, it's time to bid farewell to the coach.  He's going to get executed soon.
I've watched a reasonable amount of disappointing or embarrassing sports games as a fan before.

I've seen the ace pitcher for the Yankees, Andy Hawkins, pitch a no-hitter.  And lose.  That was during the nadir of the worst stretch of seasons ever in Yankee history.

I'm a Jets fan.  I laugh at 2-9.  Sh*t, that ain't nuthing... I lived through Rich Kotite.  Find me a non-expansion team to ever do worse than 4-28 over two years in NFL history.

I was at the Martin Luther King game at MSG in 2002 (during the Scott Layden Era).  That's when I knew what was in store for the Knicks in their immediate and longer, future.  I took a friend of mine to that game - Cosmic Girl.  To this day she tells everyone about how she must be bad luck at sporting events, because the first basketball game she ever went to, the home team lost by over 50 points (actually 111-68, or only 43 points).

I never thought i would see a worse game by the Knicks.  Wow.  I'm only glad I watched most of it on TiVo, on fast forward.  If I had watched the whole thing live... with the horror your brain has become stained.

82-37, at one point.  That's not an NBA score.  That's not even a college score.  That's some Harlem Globetrotter to Washington Generals sh*t right there.

I was taking notes through the first quarter, on how the Knicks managed to score only 16 points offensively in the first quarter.  Notes on what they were doing wrong. 

Stuff like "Where's Crawford?  He should be exploiting the hell out of Ray Allen right now."

Turns out that 1st quarter would be their best quarter.  They managed only 15 points in the second quarter.  At one point I had noted that the Knicks had scored 16 points in 16 minutes.  Then 18 points in 18 minutes.

They scored 10 points in the third quarter.  They would have been held to 15 points in garbage time (not a single starting Celtic on the court), but Nate Robinson hit a halfcourt three at the buzzer to prevent the worst offensive showing in Knicks history.  By one point.

Here's a specific list of players that have quit on Isiah over the past two weeks:  Jamal Crawford.  Check his play, his stats, before the Marbury episode, and compare them to now.  As Crawford goes, so does Eddy Curry.

And Nate Robinson and the entire Knicks bench.  You think seeing the starting point guard position open, and not getting even one chance, de-motivated Nate a bit?  He's definitely better suited for the second unit, but being a coach means sometimes you have to give them a chance, to keep them focused.  The entire Knicks bench, once their strong suit, once the ones Isiah could count on to dig the Knicks out of 10+ point deficits (like the 27-16 hole yesterday after the first), has lately just been adding to the deficits. 

How can the Knicks' far more talented second unit get crushed by an inferior Boston Celtic second team?

They've quit on Isiah.

They'll be coming for Isiah's head again today.  The Flying Guillotines will be even more numerous than ever before.  Isiah won't be able to dodge them all.  The only things saving his job right now - the appeal of the trial, the cost of the buyout... none of that will matter.  It's over if the Knicks don't win tonight's game.  The TNT crew is right.  Because it's not one bad game we are talking about here... it's in combination with the previous examples of this team quitting - against the Pistons, Nuggets and Warriors.  That's four times in the last five games against teams with winning records that the Knicks have laid down (from the get go) against an opponent.

That's a crime punishable with death.

The Flying Guillotines are coming, and this time... they will find him.
Epilogue:  The only thing saving Isiah's job right now would appear to be that they have a game tonight at home against the Bucks.  Maybe if they can play hard, and earn a win, Isiah will be able to keep his job.  Because a loss tonight, with the Suns looming on Sunday... just seems too much to overcome.

Here's some actual comments from Knicks fans I know.  Hard core ones, like me, that have been there through the years:

The Greek Professor:

"There's not really much to say about the putrid display of 'basketball' last night - and I use the term loosely as Dr. Naismith's ghost is surely having conniptions. Toward the end, amid the side shots of various Knicks yawning on the bench, putting up jumpers without getting off the ground, and standing around on D, I was rooting for them to lose by 60 (and to break the 58-point record of futility).

The best display of athleticism from someone in a Knick jersey came when the Knick fan behind the basket tossed his gear on to the court and double-timed it up the steps and out of the building -- homey showed good speed.

From a text from my boy E. in BK:

"I feel like bussin' my gun right now... rock bottom... I'm mad"

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[November 30, 2007 12:00 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Jack Cobra said

Your ability to step away from being a Knicks fan from a minute and truly evaluate the situation gets a standing ovation from me. Very nice job, as always.

[November 30, 2007 3:19 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Jon said

"This is the death chamber for Isiah Thomas. I feel bad for him - as a GM he didn't do as bad a job as reported. Even worse, that negative coverage made his job very difficult to do. Because of it, he was put on a short leash by Dolan."

He didn't do as bad a job as reported? What the hell is his record during his Knicks tenure? I'll go with the Bill Parcells "You are what your record says you are" quote.

Jimmy Dolan has actually given him quite a long leash as evidenced by that contract extension.

[November 30, 2007 3:56 PM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

Well, Jon, my feelings on Isiah as a GM is this: He wasn't given much to work with back in 2003 (no salary cap flexibilty for 3+ years, no assets, no young talent), and so I think expecting much from him or the Knicks for at least three seasons is realistic.

He got talent and assets. There are tradeable assets on the team - Lee, Balkman, Robinson, Morris, Chandler, Curry. There are still untradeable assets - Marbury, Randolph, James, Jeffries, probably Crawford. But at least they are still better than guys like Shannon Anderson and Howard Eisley.

Anyway, yeah, his record sucks, but that was a given. The point was to turn the team around, and get them pointing in the right direction. I thought they were pointing in the right direction. They might, for all I know. But they seem to have quit on Isiah right now, and if that turns out to be the case, then a move has to be made.

At the end of the day, I'll feel more sorry for Isiah than I will for the players. I expected more from them than this....

[November 30, 2007 4:34 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Tom said

I watched the first quarter, and then only the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter (at one point late in the 4th, the Knicks trailed by 50...).

I can't remember EVER watching an offense run with less ball movement than what the Knicks ran in the first quarter. I almost wish I had the foresight to DVR the game so I could go back and make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.

Every time downcourt, this was what I saw:

1. Point guard dribbles ball upcourt

2. Celtics point guard comes up to fefend Knicks PG

3. Knicks PG passes to first open man he can see

4. That Knick player then dribbles into traffic and shoots a jumper with 2 Celtics players in his face, while the other 4 Knicks stand around and watch

It was atrocious. No teamwork, no effort, no willingness to pass the ball. Obviously I dont know what was going through the Knicks' heads, but it seemd to me like every player was thinking "Fuck it, if we're going down, I'm at least gonna get my share of the shots"

There are games where teams simply get unlucky...shots don't fall, calls don't go their way, the ball takes unlucky bounces. This was NOT one of those games. The final score was 100% indicative of the effort the Knicks put forth last night.

Can't we go back to mid-90's again, when the Knicks played their asses off every night and the Garden was absolutely rocking every game?

[November 30, 2007 5:27 PM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

Tom, that's exactly what I saw yesterday (I did DVR, and watched the first quarter twice just to make notes)!

I even made an almost identical comment to yours over at Cosellout:

The offense was terrible. I noted how many bad shots they took in the first quarter, and the first 18 minutes of the game (total output: 18 points). I’ll do a post about it tomorrow (my notes are at home), but basically almost every shot was atrocious. Bad selection, with two or three defenders around (the right situation to pass and exploit the Celtics overaggressive defense).

So I think we both saw the same things, which makes me feel a little better....

[November 30, 2007 10:05 PM]  |  link  |  reply
TwoNuse said

Would the last person willing to defend Isiah please turn out the lights when they are done? I'm tapping out.

[December 1, 2007 9:13 PM]  |  link  |  reply
MODI said

twonuse, I just might be that last person! I will defend isiah the GM because he gave us young talent from old farts. Most are tradeable as SML notes but I would add Curry to the list who makes 9M, not a lot for a center with his low post ability.

Like SML, I have not been satisfied with his coaching and unwillingness to play the defensive guys of the second unit with the first team.

SML, your Fred Jones prognostication looking good after last night! I am still more optimistic than you... only if the right substitutions exist, but moreso depending on the fallout from the isiah-marbury tiff

[December 1, 2007 9:58 PM]  |  link  |  reply
JJ said

Off topic,
but if you like Kung Fu flicks, you might like this one...Kung Pow, Enter the Fist. Here's a clip...


[December 2, 2007 3:56 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Charles said

When are you going to complain about other blogs again?

I love how bitter you get.

[December 2, 2007 5:00 PM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

Soon, Charles :)

Just waiting for the proper motivation....

[December 2, 2007 5:07 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Barnesgasm said

Before reading this post, I had never noticed it, but last night, I was preparing to get on the 6 train at like 12:15, and I was like, "no way, SML, there's not going to be a disproportional number of white girls on this 6 train".
I mean, I take the 6 train home from school sometimes, and every day down to my summer job. And the white girls are merely sprinkled in. And I took the 1 train and the crosstown shuttle last night, and no disproportional white girls there.
But I stepped on the train, and there were fuckin packs of them. No guys. Just three or four packs of 8 or 9 white girls.
And then I got off the subway, and there were no roaming packs of white girls. Not on the platform, not on the streets, nowhere.
First off, how did I never notice this before? And second, where did they come from? Are they going anywhere? Do they live there? Is this a well-known fact, that white girls take over the 6 train every night? Is that a Ghostface lyric I've never heard? Are there really that many SF's on the Bobcats?
Open my eyes, SML.

[December 2, 2007 6:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

Barnesgasm: I though you lived in Murray Hill. Between Murray Hill (frat boy bars), the Turtle Bay area (low 50's, east side) with their massive finance douchebag oriented bars (which my finance douchebag buddies from school frequent), and the UES (sorority girl haven), it makes some sense that the East Side local (6-train) would be packed with white girls.

Plus them sorority chicks always roll in packs!

So that's where they come from (UES, Murray Hill), heading, usually downtown, towards Turtle Hill, Murray Hill, and even the Village/Alphabet City area.

They might even get off on Spring or Bleeker, but they don't make it past the Bowery. They're not allowed in the hipster bars of the LES.

The 6-train is for white girls what the L-train is for hipsters.

And I never said there were that many SFs on the Bobcats. But on the Hawks...

Spring Training 08

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