Last night, my brother and I attended the Knicks game at MSG when they hosted the Utah Jazz. The tickets were a Christmas gift from our dad, and we chose to go to the Jazz game over others because we’d get to see one of the best young players in the NBA in Donovan Mitchell. What we didn’t expect was that Mitchell would be the only relevant player on the court.
For the Knicks, the injury report just kept stacking up prior to tipoff. First it was Noah Vonleh ruled out, and shortly after it was Dennis Smith Jr. Then we were teased with the idea that Frank Ntilikina may finally return after a 24-game absence, but they soon ruled him out, too. And then it was Allonzo Trier. And then it was Kadeem Allen (yeah, even Kadeem Fucking Allen.)
It was pretty much the feeling of going back to one of your favorite childhood restaurants as an adult. You’re so pumped to go, you pull up, and then reality hits. You walk in and get smacked in the face with the smell of shitty food and think it must just be an off day. Then you see the menu again and remember that yeah, there really wasn’t all that much to choose from, and the options kind of suck. Finally, after waiting an absurd amount of time to get your food (during which all of your excitement wears off,) you take your first bite and can only think, “What the fuck is this??” Kudos to our parents for putting up with all that shit, thanks guys.
So to prepare for the game, my brother and I got some drinks at a nearby bar. It started with a beer…and then another…and then another…and then some GYROS…and then another until it was almost time for tipoff. We settled in to our seats (which were actually great seats in the lower bowl), and what was the first thing we did? Grabbed some beers to watch the game. It was great, I could barely tell how terrible the Knicks were playing, but I could still see that Donovan Mitchell was heating up.
In the end, the Jazz ended up killing the Knicks 137-116, but the final score doesn’t show that the Knicks were trailing by more than 30 for most of the game. There’s no sugar coating it - the Knicks were absolutely brutal. But hidden in their terribleness are some diamonds in the rough. Forward Kevin Knox had one of the better games of his rookie season, putting up 27 Points and grabbing 8 Rebounds. Promising center Mitchell Robinson also had a double-double with 14 Points and 12 Rebounds. Plus, he set a few Knicks records: he broke Patrick Ewing’s franchise rookie record of consecutive games with a block (29) and Kristaps Porzingis’ franchise rookie record for total blocks in a season (135). And best of all, Donovan Mitchell lit it up for Utah with 30 Points in 29 minutes.
What is also lost in this is how much fun it is to go to an NBA game. My brother, my dad and I have gone to several Knicks games together, including Christmas Day wins for the Knicks against the Bulls in 2010 and the Celtics in 2011. Our luck may be deteriorating in recent years, with this year’s crushing defeat at the hands of Utah and watching then-star Kristaps Porzingis tear his ACL against the Bucks in what would be his last game as a Knick. Despite that, you can never really lose if you’re enjoying the game with the people you love…and beer helps.
Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.