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Carroll’s Column: Knicks Season Ends In South Beach

Knicks fall to Heat in second round of NBA Playoffs - Image Credit: NBA

NEW YORK — Playoffs? You wanna talk about Playoffs? The New York Knicks made noise this postseason: totaling six playoff victories (four against the Cleveland Cavaliers and two against Miami Heat), tying for the franchise’s most in a single-postseason since 2013.

The fact we are talking about the New York Knickerbockers in mid-May, shows considerable progress over past seasons. The Knicks season ended Friday night in South Florida after they were beaten in six games by the Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs. 

While the 2022-23 NBA season was their best in years, no one should delude themselves into believing the Knicks are an elite team who are ready to take the next step towards an NBA championship, a trophy which has eluded them for 50 years. The Knicks could just as easily regress next season if their personnel does not improve.

The key reason Knicks fans were able to enjoy this season was the play of point guard Jalen Brunson who signed as a free agent over the summer after starting his career with the Dallas Mavericks. Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban has admitted regrets about not re-signing him many times during the past year. 

Jalen Brunson – Image Credit: New York Knicks/NBA

Brunson was a tour de force in the Knicks’ opening round playoff win against the Cavaliers, and he nearly won the second round of the NBA playoffs single-handedly. Unfortunately, he got little help from the rest of his teammates, most notably RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. In contrast, Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler had a fine supporting cast led by Gabe Vincent and Kevin Love. 

The Brooklyn Nets have far bigger troubles than their neighboring rivals. Their shortsighted attempt to build a champion by signing free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and trading a lot of assets for James Harden, without considering personality and team chemistry issues, blew up in their faces. 

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant – Image Credit: NBA/Twitter/Brooklyn Nets

At least they received a legitimate NBA star in Mikal Bridges in the big February trade with the Phoenix Suns which sent Kevin Durant to the Sonoran Desert. The Nets did make the NBA playoffs, but Bridges got even less help from his teammates than Brunson got from his. 

Although it wasn’t exactly Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets were hoping Bridges and Spencer Dinwiddie, who was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kyrie Irving trade and was a popular player for Brooklyn in a prior stint with the Nets, would be a formidable duo come playoff time.

Mikal Bridges – Image Credit: Brooklyn Nets/NBA

Bridges upheld his end of things, but Spencer Dinwiddie, who has always been a media favorite because of his affability and accessibility, was a disappointment, as were most of his teammates in the playoff series sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Before the start of the series, Dinwiddie was asked about the conventional wisdom that the Nets had no chance. “Well, they do have the MVP,” he responded, referring to the Sixers center Joel Embiid. Dinwiddie did not offer any optimism. That is inexcusable.

MLB in London – Mets vs. Phillies – June 2024

Major League Baseball is looking to follow in the footsteps of the NFL and the NBA in the hopes of creating interest in the sport across “the pond” in the United Kingdom. Word leaked out last week that the Mets and the Phillies will be playing a pair of games in London in June 2024.

Bryce Harper and Phillies – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

MLB figures having the teams from the two biggest cities on the east coast, New York and Philadelphia will help draw tourists to the games. Long Island City-based JetBlue offers service between JFK and London’s two major airports, Heathrow, and Gatwick.

No More AM Radio in Cars? 

The Washington Post reported Saturday how many automobile manufacturers are removing AM radio as standard equipment. This is unfortunate for many reasons. AM is still the best source for news and traffic reports, as well as listening to most sporting events including Mets games. Being a longtime radio buff, I have always enjoyed listening to out-of-town games at night on AM radio. 

NFL Schedule Release – Five Primetime Games for NY Jets

One benefit of their heroes being perennial also-rans in the NFL for Jets fans was that their club was America’s 1PM team. That meant Jets fans who went to MetLife Stadium could get home at a reasonable hour, even with hellacious traffic, and be well-rested for Monday morning.     

Jets 2023 Regular Season Schedule – Image Credit: New York Jets/NFL

The Jets’ acquisition of quarterback Aaron Rodgers has made the team a hot draw for the various networks which have NFL broadcast rights. Five games will be played during primetime, while a number will start at 4:30 PM. 

Tribute to Mike Shannon – Iconic Broadcaster and Former Cardinals Third Baseman

I was saddened to learn of the passing of former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Mike Shannon who was a broadcaster for the team for 50 years. I remember eavesdropping on the Cardinals radio booth during a rain delay at Shea Stadium. Shannon complained over the air, “I can’t wait to get out of New York City!” 

Tribute to Mike Shannon – Image Credit: St. Louis Cardinals/MLB

He also sounded inebriated, which from what I read, was part of his charm with his audience. My guess is Shannon was never drunk but was creating a persona like that of Dean Martin and Foster Brooks. As for the dig at New York, I will guess he was ingratiating himself to his Midwestern audience. 

Passing of John Roland – Former Channel 5 “10 O’Clock News” Anchor

I was also down after learning of the death of former Channel 5 “10 O’Clock News” anchor John Roland. Back in the 1970s, the Channel 5 10 PM news was revolutionary tabloid television. Roland was the straight man to a cast of characters which included a nightly debate between conservative firebrand, Dr. Martin Abend, and his liberal foil, Sidney Offet; acerbic film and theater critic Stewart Klein; sports trivia maven Bill Mazer; and “action news” reporter Christopher Jones. 

You knew it was ratings sweeps week when Jones would bring a WNEW camera crew to an erotic novelty store or an alleged place of business with the dubious name “The House of Relaxation,” Those were fun times in per-cable TV New York City. Rest in peace, John.

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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