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Amare’s Story

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Whenever I used to get mad at anything back in the day I used to turn on A Tribe Called Quest’s 8 million stories.

It was a song off of their Midnight Marauders album that was the antithesis of a bad day.

Why am I telling you this? Because after Amare Stoudamire decided to kill his season and the Knicks slim playoff chances I needed a breather and this song was this the first thing I thought about.

Naturally I wondered what would happen if Amare was Phife Dog on this song.

Well, here’s what came out of those thoughts:

Went to NY to get a new deal
Dolan opened up gave me $100 mil
Openly said that the Knicks was back
Fresh blue suit with a matching hat
Hated D’antoni out in Phoenix
Now I’m the man I’m the cleanest
New York had to drop David Lee
What they don’t his game is just like me
Went to Melos wedding back in August
Told him roll here and we’d all fit
Yeah to score both of us would need the ball
And we can’t play D but no prob at all
Started ballin out fans shouting MVP
Yet couldn’t rebound or even play d
Droppin 25 a night NY lovin me
Around January up there goes my knees
Finally the Knicks bring Melo back home
Should’ve known then that trouble would soon be on
He like ISO me I like to run the floor
And in half court i probably shouldn’t play at all
Everytime I saw the paint I had to peel out
When the playoffs came around I had to deal out
Shots started droppin low like my scoring
Couldn’t play a good game against Boston
All these problems that I’m havin and I cant correct them
And to top it off the league is locked out kid

(side note if you ever have a bad day A Tribe Called Quests 8 million stories is the best song to listen to. It covers every single bad part of everyone’s day. When I lived in Maryland this song was on repeat weekly. Yeah, I’ll never get over my hatred of Maryland.)

The lockout is over less stress see
Chris is now ballin with LAC
we need a point guard since we dumped Chauncey
Can baron be the man unlikely
Mike and Melo really ain’t workin
Here comes Linsanity now I’m really hurtin
Once Melo left I thought my game was on
Instead Tyson Chandler had it goin on
Can’t get a shot with Melo or J Lin
Back sat me down now they ballin
Woodson took over talkin bout defense
Moved Melo to the four now they intense
Came back now here are down 2-0
So frustrating make me wanna hit the door
See this piece plastic taking out my frustration
Damn, here come the ambulance racing

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The NHL Playoffs Are Out Of Control

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Playoff time in the NHL is the greatest time of year in any sport.

The action gets so jacked up and intense that you would think that games 1-7 are life or death. Year after year players leave everything on the ice whether you are an 8 seed or a 1 seed in the name of Lord Stanley.

Injuries don’t matter, hits are harder, everyone gets in the way of slap shots… it’s a daily spectacle that leaves you on the edge of seat and wincing at every bone-crushing check and unbelievable save.

You know this going into the playoffs and you adjust accordingly as a player and as a fan… However, this year’s playoffs?

Man, no one was ready for this.

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Lessons Learned From Ozzie Guillen’s Biggest Mistake

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Honestly, when I heard Ozzie Guillen’s most recent comments I thought about a few things:

1. It’s just Ozzie being Ozzie. He’s just stirring the pot, being controversial and trying to put himself in the limelight like he’s done so many times in his managerial career.

Guillen has a way of being brash and bombastful that’s both entertaining and head scratching. His ESPN:60 interview is still one of my favorites for his constant f bomb dropping and extreme ness for keeping it real.

That’s how Ozzie is. He never had and I thought never would slow his roll. He was as honest as they came in every sense.

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Please End The D’antoni Era

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I didn’t watch the New York Knicks game yesterday… Didn’t need to.

I just followed the flow of the game on Twitter and filled in the blanks… Jeremy Lin and turnovers blah blah blah… Melo missing shots blah blah blah… Amare Stoudemire with only 9 & 5… Knicks not playing defense… Landry fields torched by Evan Turner… BLAH BLAH FREAKIN BLAH!!!

The Knicks are back as Amare once shouted in his news conference last year to mark his NY arrival, back to playing bad basketball that is. Linsanity was fun for awhile. The Ben & Jerry’s flavors, the t-shirts, the sheer joy and hope that maybe the Knicks were turning a corner, now after a five game losing streak the Knicks are stuck at the eighth spot in the East and stuck in neutral as a team without direction or any energy.

And it’s Mike D’antoni’s fault.

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The End Of Joel Zumaya

In 2006 I watched the Detroit Tigers eliminate my New York Yankees in 4 games in that year’s ALDS.

Of all of the torturous memories I have of that series (including A-Rod’s embarrassing performance) what really killed me was how helpless the Yankees looked against one man.

His name was Joel Zumaya.

Zumaya was Aroldis Chapman before he existed. Zumaya was a fireball throwing right-hander whose arms were covered in flames literally thanks to matching fire tattoos on his forearms.

My first memory of him was game 2 in Yankee stadium that year. After Justin Verlander pitched 6+ impressive innings and clung to a one-run lead Tigers manager Jim Leyland called on Zumaya to handle the middle of the Yankees order.

He did more than handle it, he dominated it.

He blew away Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez with ease as they looked helpless against his 100 mph fastball. As he walked off the mound I hoped to God that the Yankees would never run into him again.

Unfortunately I as well as many AL batters are getting their wish.

Zumaya ruptured another tendon in his pitching elbow yesterday ending another season in what has turned into a tragic career for him.

Zumaya hasn’t pitched a full season since his breakout year in 2006 and has missed the last two because his throwing arm can’t hold up.

What looked like the start of a promising career has turn into a repetition of setbacks that could end his career.

It’s sad because Zumaya had the kind of stuff that pitchers and coaches die for. The prospect of facing him in the AL for years and years in the seventh and eighth innings was a nightmare for me and any fan that watched their team play the Tigers.

Unfortunately for Zumaya and The Tigers that won’t be the case. His career likely is over before it ever really got started.

You always forget that the human arm wasn’t meant to throw that hard for extended periods of time. Zumaya found that out the hard way.

That ALDSperformance will always be stuck in my head. I thought I was watching the next great reliever in the game who would dominate for years with an intimidating fastball that no one could hit.

I was… Unfortunately his arm didn’t see it that way.

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Consumed By Linsanity

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The Knicks are a car accident to watch. It’s such a frightening mess and I know it’s bad to look at yet I still drag myself to a television set to watch this pathetic mess almost every night.

Last year they couldn’t play defense, this year they forgot how to score.
Bill Walker is a lackadaisical mess. Toney Douglas gets too trigger happy. Amare Stoudamire is the black David Lee (I told everyone this when he was signed but no one listened to me). Carmelo Anthony has no scoring help and all Mike D’Antoni could do was sit around and watch.

I wanted D’Antoni fired last year for his constant lack of detail, I wanted him fired this offseason for a defensive coach like Mike Brown, I want him fired this year because I’m sick of seeing him and his mustache.

Yet none of this matters right now in New York because Knick fans are on cloud nine thanks to a 6-3, 200 pound, undrafted point guard from Harvard that has become an overnight sensation.

His name is Jeremy Lin, and he is a gift from the heavens above.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but jeez not even last year’s acquisition of Melo brought this much buzz an joy to the basketball Mecca that is the NYC.

Lin’s emergence came at a time when the Knicks desperately needed some good news. At 8-15 and flirting with a disastrous season that would’ve surely ended the D’Antoni era for the Knicks, Lin has caught fire and has led the Knicks through their best stretch of the season.

He’s been the missing piece that the fast pace D’Antoni offense has needed to get going. A pick and roll point guard with excellent vision and passing skills that is able to create shots for his teammates as well as fend for himself offensively.

Funny thing was that he was almost released to make room for the return of Baron Davis, I guess that won’t be happening now.

Ever since he stepped onto the court against the New Jersey Nets Lin has created a buzz across the league and has turned skeptics into believers.

He schooled Deron Williams and ran circles around him two Saturdays ago, he treated Devin Harris like a rag doll, he embarrassed John Wall with a sick crossover and dunk that was replayed over and over on Sportscenter, his performance against the Lakers last Friday will be talked about for years, and he showed toughness and moxie in gutting out a win in Minnesota.

He’s done it all from knocking down clutch free throws, reigniting Tyson Chandler’s game and leaving Derek Fisher flat-footed as he spun by for a highlight worthy lay in.

Yeah, I’m in love with this guy. But it took me a while to get into him.

Like most people I had to actually see him to believe him. Watching highlights of Lin didn’t tell the whole story. Yeah it was nice to see him drive at will against Utah and destroy the Nets already grim confidence but I wanted more.

I wanted to know three things about Lin while everyone was already crowning him the next big thing:

1. Can he handle the mounting pressure that comes with being an athlete in New York?
2. How does he deal with failure in a game and can he still stay on point when he’s not on his A game?
3. How will he play with the return of Stat and Melo (yeah, forgot about then right?)

My first question got answered on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last few times the Lakers have hit The Big Apple it’s been Kobe Bryant’s town without question. He has carved his own name into Madison Square Garden lore with huge performances like scoring 61 points in a game there just years ago.

It was the perfect test for my Lin theory, play arguably the best player in the game and keep the Knicks on pace with the Lakers.

That was the first full time that I actually got to watch Lin, safe to say I was shocked by what I saw.

He didn’t just keep the Knicks in the game, he controlled it. He dominated the pace and flow of the game by continuously attacking the rim, floating lobs to Chandler, coming up steals on the defensive end and destroying Fisher and Steve Blake when the ball was in his hands.

He looked like a younger Steve Nash, honest to god. Just his style of play and the way he maneuvered around the Lakers reminded me of the two-time NBA MVP.

Every time the Knicks needed a big play or a big shot the ball found its way to Lin. He never backed down and always came through. 38 points & 7 assists later I was starting to get sold on the NBA’s Tim Tebow.

(yep I made a Tebow reference but all of the similarities and hype and mass coverage are there. The big difference? Lin can ball out, Tebow’s a bum… Just saying.)

The next test came the next night against the Timberwolves in a hyped up battle versus Ricky Rubio.

The main reason I wanted to see him fail is because I wanted to see if he was more like Eli Manning or Tony Romo.

When things don’t go Manning’s way his demeanor doesn’t change and he pressed on. For Romo he panics and loses his cool. I wanted to see if when things get too tight of Lin folds or rises to the occasion.

(yeah I fit an Eli reference in there, so what? By the way did you know that the New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions? God that makes me happy)

The T-Wolves game was a game of two halves. Lin was his usual self in the first half 7-12, 4 dimes and running the offense efficiently. In the second half Lin was totally taken out of rhythm. He only hit 1-12 shots and the Wolves forced him into bad shots and 4 turnovers.

However, I got the impression from Lin that even in tough stretches he still doesn’t get rattled.

Even with all of the turnovers and with his shots not finding the net he still continued to set up his other teammates including Steve Novak’s game tying three with less than a minute left. He also scored the winning point from the free throw line after being fouled getting to the basket.

Even without a dominant performance Lin still found a way to pull out a win for the Knicks. That was enough to make me even more of a believer.

Now the third and most interesting task is at hand… Can Lin, Melo and Stat all work together to be effective?

Carmelo Anthony has received a lot of bad press in the last week with all of the Linsanity spreading through NY.

It’s as if we forget that we wanted Melo here in the first place, it’s not his fault that the Knicks traded the farm to get him (thanks James Dolan). Melo has always needed a point guard to stabilize this offense to make more effective. Sorry Toney Douglas wasnt the answer.

With Lin’s emergence Melo and Amar’e for that matter now have a lot less pressure on their shoulders to score.

The main question is can Melo let Lin run the offense without asking for the ball too much?

As dynamic of a scorer as he is, Melo holds onto the ball for too long in too many stretches of the game. With Lin at the point now Melo will have to find his rhythm in the game and let it come to him.

Besides elevating Chandler, Landry Fields has found his game and confidence and Novak has become a reliable shooter off of the bench. The Knicks have gone from a two horse team to an actual team with a good rotation.

If Melo can stay dominant while letting this mix still cook then the Knicks will be making noise come playoff time.

If not then he’ll be the one taking most of the criticism if the Knicks go back to struggling.

The next stage of Linsanity is upon us. He won’t be throwing up 25 shots a game any more or dropping 38 on defenses, but I believe that after watching Jeremy Lin he is the answer to a lot of the Knicks woes.

Lin has dazzled America, balled out on every opponent that he’s faced and is getting better by the day.

In a city consumed by sports with the Giants winning Super Bowls, the Rangers leading the NHL and the Yankees always on the back pages, the Knicks have wiggled their way back into the minds of New Yorkers.

Linsanity is here and hopefully it’s not a flash in the pan.

Kevin Howard is The Brooklyn Buckeye because he is from Brooklyn, NY and is a graduate of The Ohio State University. Follow him on twitter @brooklyngohard and on his blog site at brooklynbuckeye.wordpress.com

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Spicing Up This NBA Season

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Do u realize that in the span of five plus weeks that there have been 20 or more NBA games played by every team in the league? That’s one almost every other day. What is David Stern trying to do, kill everyone?

Play has been sloppy, shooting percentages are down, refereeing has been atrocious (oh wait that’s normal), and some teams look tremendously out of sync (hi lakers).

Some nights you can see players at their best, then the next they look like they went to a Waka Flocka show the night before and stayed for the Diddy and Rick Ross after party.

The stuffing of games into a tight schedules has made for some hilarious parody (the 76ers and nuggets are divisional leaders), and some pathetic results (I’m talking to you New York Knicks). Are we all happy to have basketball back? Absolutely, but how much longer can this brand of basketball be acceptable for the human eye?

The funny thing about it is all some teams need is a jolt of energy to get their mojo going. For the teams that are out of sync and looking for a way to revive themselves the best way to get that jolt is by acquiring some fresh blood.

There are seven deals that I would make right now if I were an NBA GM that could put my team into title contention, make them a legitimate playoff threat, or just make their team better for the present and future. Call me crazy or reckless but the deals make sense to me:

Orlando Magic trade Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson to the New York Knicks for Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire

WHY IT WORKS: the Magic desperately need to get rid of Dwight Howard before he eats that team alive with his need to skip town.

Howard has said hat he has wanted to play for New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas and the Clippers (yeah, that line was right) and has two feet out of the door with his coat on and a carry-on bag.

The Dwight Howard saga has gotten to the nauseating level where I’m ready for it to be over and done with.

Trading to the Knicks works for both teams because he fits in with Carmelo Anthony much better than Amare Stoudamire does.

The Stat and Melo project had been a complete disaster as they can’t seem to find a decent flow at all. They are two players that do the exact same thing at two different positions.

Bringing in Howard would give Melo his freedom on the outside while Dwight controls the inside. Plus Ryan Anderson is the perfect forward for D’antoni’s offensive system and is a better rebounder than Amare.

The Magic get a better offensive upgrade from Dwight in Amare and Chandler still gives them a great defensive presence. Plus the Magic could still be looking at a 4 or 5 seed without Dwight in the middle.

The Boston Celtics trade Ray Allen to the Chicago Bulls for Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and a draft pick.

WHY IT WORKS: the Bulls need scoring, the Celtics need youth.

Allen would give the Bulls a consistent third scoring threat behind Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer. Plus his leadership could help push the Bulls into the NBA Finals.

The Celtics would get a starter for the departing Kevin Garnett in Gibson who is a good rebounder and defender and could bring constant energy. Korver could replace Allen on the offensive end and has a friendly contract. With the acquisition of a second pick in one of the deepest drafts in years the Celtics could address multiple needs in this draft and begin their rebuilding process.

The New Jersey Nets trade Deron Williams and Kris Humphries to the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol, Devin Ebanks, Derek Fisher and two picks

WHY IT WORKS: The Nets ain’t keeping Deron Williams… At all. Their fire sale to the Utah Jazz a few years ago failed and failed miserably and now they need to recoup at least a minimal amount of the damage.

This works for the Nets simply because the get two picks for the future in the next two drafts, a veteran in Gasol who when teamed with a healthy Brook Lopez gives them a formidable front line and a multi-dimensional and underused swingman in Ebanks. I know it’s not a lot but hey at least the fans in Brooklyn get a chance to see a former champion on there team

(jay-z probably regrets that line “the Nets could go 0-82 and I’ll look at you like this ***** gravy!”)

It works for the Lakers because the Lakers DESPERATELY NEED A POINT GUARD!!! And why not acquire one of the top five in the league.

With Williams there, there can finally be a balance between Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant that the Lakers need to be successful. Bryant can shoot the ball only so many times before someone gets annoyed.

(plus there would be that awkward moment when Humphries steps into the game and cameras cut right to the Kardashian family… Pure comedy.)

The Cleveland Cavaliers trade Ramon Seessions to anyone for a pick

WHY IT WORKS: so every other day me and my buddy Will’s conversation won’t be interrupted by this line…

Me: the lakers need help.
Will: they should trade for Ramon sessions and give us a pick.
Me: the Mavs could use a pure point guard with this Kidd injury.
Will: the Cavs could give em Sessions for a pick.
Me: this republican nominee race is foolish.
Will: it is. I wouldn’t vote for any of them… Unless they took Ramon Sessions for a pick.

The Washington Wizards trade everyone except Jordan Crawford, John Wall and Jan Vesely…

WHY IT WORKS:… I don’t care where they trade them or how they trade them they all have to go. SELL SELL SELL!!!

The Wizards are a dysfunctional mess and the only to clean up this glorified AAU team is to get rid of everyone except your two best pieces an your last draft pick.

This team is a bunch of knuckleheads who shouldn’t be major contributors unless there is a savvy veteran there to smack fire out of them everyday. Their lack of maturity cost Flip Saunders his job and is making Wall wish he stayed in Lexington for another year.

Teams could use these guys as serviceable parts. Trade Nick Young to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, they need more points off the bench. Trade Aundray Blatche to the Thunder do they can have another big body. Trade Jervale McGee to Minnesota for a true Center… JUST GET THEM AWAY FROM EACH OTHER AND DO IT NOW!!!

The Boston Celtics trade Paul Pierce to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington and a pick

WHY IT WORKS: see the Ray Allen trade earlier.

(side note: let’s say that trade does happen, would the Timberwolves be a contender?

Since the arrival of Rubio and Rick Adelman the Wolves look like a different and more confident team. Then you add a veteran like Pierce who comes through in the clutch like clockwork and you would be hard pressed to find a team that could put together a better five than Rubio, Pierce, Wesley Johnson, Love and Darko. Doesn’t that get you at least a four seed in a weak Western Conference? )

The Los Angeles Lakers trade Kobe Bryant to the Philadelphia 76ers for Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner and two picks…

WHY IT WORKS: listen, the Lakers ain’t doing nothing this year or next, they are looking rebuilding dead in the face and they have no way of avoiding it. So why not dump your most valuable piece for a ton of young talent and start rebuilding right now.

When you look around the western conference the old guard is dying. The Spurs are old, Steve Nash is dwindling away in Phoenix, the Mavs won right before Dirk’s window closed and the Lakers time has past.

In order to compete with the Clippers, Thunder and Blazers you gotta get younger and to do that you gotta part with your number one asset.

Kobe Bryant is playing at an extremely high level and he won’t play like this for much longer. Why not use him to your advantage and get all you can for him.

What have you got to lose? You’re not a contender.

For the 76ers… Why not? Go for it while you can. You lead the eastern conference, take a shot.

Sounds crazy but hey, this has been a crazy season so far. Why not add to the insanity?

Kevin is the brooklynbuckeye, why? Because he’s from Brooklyn,ny and is a graduate of the Ohio State university. Follow him on Twitter @brooklyngohard

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