Monday, March 28, 2011
The Ugliest Team Collapses Ever
" The ship be sinkin'."
Michal "Sugar" Ray Richardson, the super talented yet even more super cocaine addicted, scorer for the 1980's Knicks and Nets couldn't have said it any better. He might have been talking about the 1980's Knicks misfortunes (or even his own life and career) Side note: We could dedicate an entire blog just to Sugar Ray; he followed that quote up with "the sky's the limit" and once got in hot water for talking about his "big-time jew lawyers" but he just as well could be talking about the new-look Knicks. Regardless of the fact that it will take time to gel, as the team keeps reminding us, and we all knew this team wouldn't perform at a championship level as presently constituted, there's no denying that the Knicks have been downright putrid as of late. And what once seemed like an insurmountable lead in the playoff race (if that's what you want to call it) has shrunk to a too close for comfort 4.5 games with 9 to play. If I were a betting man (and I am) I'd still put money on the Knicks limping in as a disappointing 7th or 8th seed, but who would have even thought we'd be having this discussion this late in the season? It's not without precedent, for sure.
Since we're all in a doomsday kind of mode, let's take a look (in no particular order) at the very worst team end of season nosedives (not playoff series or single game collapses but teams blowing huge leads in the standings) :
The 1978 Red Sox
Maybe the most famous of ships to be sinkin' (at least around these parts) and is best remembered for Bucky Dent's home run in Fenway on the last day of the season to put the cherry on top of the Sox's squandering of a 14.5 game July lead in the pennant race. The sweetness of this is cancelled out by 2004 (but we won't speak of that). Tyrone Hill ugly (if you're a Sox fan).
The 2007 and 2008 Mets
Another one that is both fondly and regretfully remembered in New York, the Mets somehow put together two of the more awful collapses in sports history in their final two seasons at Shea Stadium. Blowing 7.5 and 3.5 game September leads to their arch rival Phillies made a minor celebrity out of this guy, losing the final game ever in Shea to wrap up their second straight September swoon. Teresa Weatherspoon Ugly.
The 1964 Phillies
This should make the Snoots of the world feel a little better. The not so fighting Phils blew a 6.5 game lead over the Cardinals with 12 games to play. That's Jared Jeffries ugly.
The 1987 San Diego Chargers
This one doesn't get as much recognition for ugliness, but when you start an NFL season 8 and 1, you have to find a new level of suckiness in order to miss the playoffs as the Chargers did in this strike shortened season. Even the Jets would have trouble doing that. Marshan Lynch ugly.
So where would the 2011 Knicks find themselves on the ugly collapse rating if they were to somehow blow their lead to the Bobcats or Bucks or St. Anselm's or some other comparably terrible team? I'd say DJ Mbenga ugly, Jason Kidd's son ugly. Really, really ugly. We all knew that they weren't going to win it all this season (and probably wouldn't even win a series) and I'm still behind the idea that the trade was a positive as this is not a finished product. But not even making the playoffs after all the hoopla surrounding the Carmelo trade would be an unmitigated disaster and would erase all the good will that was felt around here for the past 4 or 5 months. Mike D'Antoni would be hung in effigy in Times Square, Carmelo's reputation would be forever tarnished and Spike Lee would probably jump off the Brooklyn Bridge (so maybe it wouldn't be a total loss). Worst of all, Bottle would be proven right. The Knicks better get their shit together.