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Iman Shumpert

Live Report from London…YOUR New York Knicks!

(A live report from MAMBINO correspondent Sip Rogers, an expatriate New York Knicks fan who lives and works in London. He attended the Knicks-Pistons game on Thursday night at the O2 arena on the Eastside of town. Here’s his firsthand recap)
Just got back from the NBA’s first regular season game in London and to sum it up, it was amazing. 
First a little actual basketball talk. The Knicks played well in a 102-87 win, outclassing the Pistons most of the game, including a 15 point lead at halftime. As they game wore on, they were able to stifle any runs the Pistons had in them, mostly from Will Bynum (and man, can that guy can drive). 

Iman Shumpert finally is back for the Knicks, giant flat top in tow. He started the game, which was surprising for his return. He ended up scoring 8 points in 15 minutes.  Amar’e had 17 in 20 minutes, but the quietest 17 I’ve seen in awhile. There wasn’t too much to the actual game itself; it was a blowout against the Pistons, whose best player is Greg Monroe and the most explosive guard is Will Bynum.  
As for the event in London, the NBA, Knicks and Pistons did a great great job.  As hard as it is to believe, it actually felt like a real NBA game.  They fixed the courtside seats problem from the Olympics, as in, now there were floor seats (whereas during the summer, spectators were so far away from the court that the camera angle made it appear as if no one was watching live). The O2 arena was sold out and rocking. The crowd remained into the game the whole time and was, to my delight,  very pro-Knicks.  There were a decent chunk of expats (but less than I expected) and plenty of Euros in attendance. However, what surprised me most was a really good amount of Brits were wearing Knicks gear, cheering the Knicks and talking basketball.  Stunning, really. This is a city as big as New York, so I’m not surprised that there are NBA fans hiding but…I don’t know where they have been as long as I’ve lived here. After all, there are a ton of English Premiere League fans in the Mecca, but I’m not sure where they hide out. People aren’t talking about Robin Van Persie on the corner of 51st and Lexington, right? 
Certainly a great sign for the NBA that so many Brits were actual fans.  The NFL classically has the issue with their game in London, no matter who is playing. They have a hard time hocking 80,000 seats even with 80,000 expats living in Europe. The NBA seems to have dodged that already.
A couple of nice touches: the Knicks brought along their organ player from MSG, which made the O2 sound even more like a game at the Garden.  The Pistons brought along their announcer, because after all, it was a Detroit home game. Was nice to hear the sounds of “Deeeeetttrrooooooiiiitttt Baaaaassssskeeeetttbaaaallll” echoing through the arena.  Spike Lee made the trip across the pond, sitting courtside next to Baron Davis.  Plenty of Premier League soccer players in the crowd; Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Joe Cole and our favorite American Clint Dempsey…who of course sat next to the Knicks bench with a dime piece.

The whole event was really well done and a way more authentic experience than I originally thought it would be.  Kudos to the NBA. 

BTW, no sign of Dolan, I scoured the crowd for him. I guess JD and the Straight Shot doesn’t travel across international waters.Read more...

Knicks Game 1 Recap: Not Like This

First, there’s this clip:

One the one hand, I guess you can say that LeBron James really, REALLY wants to win a championship. But if you’re not a Heat fan, then your reaction was full of disgust, as the NBA did its best to remind you that for all the good that international basketball has done for the game, the Euros brought a soccer mindset that won’t go away.

LeFlop, and the subsequent walking-crying combo thereafter, made me long for the 1990s era more than ever before. The buildup for this series was not just about LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, and every other player involved. As Jeff Van Gundy took his courtside seat to help call the game, and as Alonzo Mourning watched from a couple of rows back, this series was supposed to be the continuation of one of the best rivalries that sports had to offer in the past 20 years. Charlie Ward. P.J. Brown. Larry Johnson. Pat Riley. Those slugfests gave basketball an edge that brought it closer to football than any other sport. Cue the Artest Melee, the Iverson era, etc., and the NBA started to push cleaner initiatives like NBA Cares and even instituted a dress code for the players.

But Cristiano Ronaldo’s effort on the basketball court this past Saturday was nothing compared to the emotions I felt approximately halfway through the third quarter:

Iman Shumpert doesn’t fill a box score quite like the way that fellow rookies Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio do. But I’ll say it again: there wasn’t a first-year player in the league that meant more to his team than Shumpert did this past season. As the Knicks started looking forward to Game 2 relatively early, New York City’s latest athletic wunderkind changed directions, his knee buckling and eventually giving way. I actually felt like crying.

I didn’t, because I’m awesome, but all of a sudden I started thinking about next season. The early word is that Iman will need 6-8 months to recover, putting his training camp, preseason, and the start of the 2012-13 regular season in jeopardy. And when he does come back, will he be the same?

Sorry, the extra spaces between paragraphs represents the time I took to walk to the bathroom and vomit.

Like many, I picked the Bockers to make it a truly interesting series, but nothing more. Without one of the game’s best on-ball defenders to stop Miami’s drive-and-kick attack, this could be over pretty soon.… Read more...

State of the Union Kickoff – New York Knicks

You know how the State of the Union addresses go, right? President goes up and speaks about how the country is kicking ass in everything. Problems during the President’s term are either masked with rehearsed rhetoric or omitted from discussion in entirety. And, our favorite part: Congressmen, celebrities, and other losers get on their feet for the obligatory applause as soon as Mr. President indicates that it is the correct time to do so.

Well, and especially in the Knicks’ case, you won’t need to stop reading mid-blog post and clap your hands. This post will be the first in a series of irregularly scheduled posts detailing Mambino’s favorite professional teams. I’ll take care of the Bockers and Yankees, KOBEsh will handle Lakers and Dodgers, and Pucklius will muse on the Devils and Mets. Each prominent player will be given a number of Mambinos, on a scale of 1-5, with some biased analysis to follow. (Hey, at least we’re honest.)

The Knicks are off to a 2-4 start. The team has heard boos during every single home game: losses to the lowly Raptors and Bobcats, and even during the win over the Celtics, when New York squandered a 20 point lead in the 2nd half. But relax, guys. Remember that the goal in a shortened season is to simply make the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean that the team is free of problems that need to be addressed. Let’s get to it.

IMAN SHUMPERT: 5 Mambinos
Before we get to the bad news, let’s talk about Shump Dizzle. Last night’s game against the Bobcats provided one bright spot: the Garden faithful’s acceptance of Iman Shumpert into their lives. He hit shot after shot after shot. He played excellent man-to-man defense. He made smart decisions. Basically, he was everything that we wished Toney Douglas was: a real point guard who can provide a spark when necessary. When MDA inexplicably took Shump out of the game in the 4th quarter, when the Knicks were building their last comeback, the crowd begged and pleaded for his return. D’Antoni listened, for once, and is now contemplating starting the rook on Friday night against the Washington Walls.
I took an informal poll in my section last night, and not one person said they would trade Shumpert for the rookie on the opposing bench, Kemba Walker. And that’s saying something. This guy has all the tools to be an All-Star one day. Consider my #21 t-shirt already ordered.
TYSON CHANDLER: 3 Mambinos
The Knicks gave up a billion points last night to the Charlotte Bobcats. Disgusting, I know; everytime B.J. Freaking Mullens hit a jumper from the perimeter, my heart asked my brain why I decided to become a Knicks fan. And expectedly, the fingers are being pointed at Tyson Chandler, the guy who was supposed to “correct” the porous Knick defense. But wait a second. He’s just one man.
If you’ve caught a glimpse of training camp, practices, or have been lucky enough to sit close enough in the Garden, you will hear one voice over everybody else’s (including the easily recognizable D’antoni Drawl): Tyson’s. He teaches lessons and barks out orders to everyone, including Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. In games, he still blocks more than 1 shot a game, and alters at least 5 more. His free throw shooting has been pretty decent, and he’s a nice target for lobs inside.
So why does he not get 4 Mambinos, or even 3.5? Well, those rebounding numbers are low at less than 7 per game. There are two reasons for that. First, his defensive prowess cannot physical
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