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- Melo optimistic about Knicks (The SportsXchange) August 22, 2014An optimistic Carmelo Anthony, who admits he was close to leaving New York, feels the new culture will make the difference for the Knicks this season. I think we will have a much better season than we did last year," Anthony said Thursday night at Barclays Center, according to ESPN.com. Anthony was serving as a coach in a celebrity basketball game sponsored by CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano's charities. Anthony tested free agency over the summer, but he eventually re-signed with the Knicks, agreeing to a five-year, $124 million contract.
- Dunk History: The joy of hearing Scottie Pippen posterize Patrick Ewing (Ball Don't Lie) August 22, 2014As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History . Today, Kevin Kaduk , overlord of these here Yahoo Sports Blogs, celebrates Scottie Pippen's ravaging of Patrick Ewing during Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals. I heard my favorite dunk in basketball history hours before I ever saw it. It may seem a crazy notion in this age of pirated live streams, sanctioned apps and instantly distributed GIFs, but there was a time when there were actual barriers to watching NBA playoff action as it unfolded. Laptops were a rarity. Tablets and smartphones were more than a decade away. Heck, even simply being in a suburban Chicago home with a television set didn't guarantee you a chance to see the dynasty-era Chicago Bulls play each and every game. Back in 1994, roughly 37 percent of American households didn't own a cable subscription. Among them were my neighbors, who had two boys who needed a sitter (e.g., me) from time to time. It was a good gig in that I loved playing goalie in their endless games of driveway hockey and getting paid a few dollars an hour for it. It was not a good gig in that it provided no way to watch Game 6 of that spring's legendary Eastern Conference semifinals between the Bulls and New York Knicks. And so, with Scottie Pippen and the Bulls facing elimination after the "Hue Hollins game" at the Garden, the three of us settled in front of the stereo and tuned in Neil Funk and Tom Boerwinkle's call on 670. There have been plenty of odes written to the pleasures of baseball on the radio. Listening to football in the car is acknowledged as an acceptable substitute if you're on your way home from church or running out to pick up food. Listening to a basketball game, however, remains an underrated joy. Without the static starting points of baseball and football plays, the exercise forces you to use your imagination a lot more for basketball's free-flowing action. And unlike the chaos of hockey, the sport's playbooks provide just enough definition that you don't have to do all the heavy lifting. Listening to a basketball game on the radio remains a decent way to quicken a long drive or provide company while cleaning a garage. On that day, though, we did nothing but sit and listen. We didn't have to create any tension or sense of drama on our own as Funk began to call the action with his clipped cadence. " Scottie ... ahead to Horace... kicks out to Toni ... Kaboom!" "Starks ... into Ewing .. Six-footer ... And the Bulls lead is down to four." The noise from condemned Chicago Stadium — which needed two Bulls victories to delay the old building's shuttering — was constant through our speakers, though you could sense a certain reserve for much of the first half. The Bulls and Knicks had faced off the previous three springs, with Michael Jordan and Co. prevailing in each alley fight. Now it was Chicago being to put to the test, its streak of three straight titles hanging in the balance. While it wasn't the same team with Jordan shagging flies in Birmingham, the enthusiasm around Chicago remained high, and the thought of elimination at the hands of New York caused just as much dread. Pippen had stepped out of Jordan's shadow to lead the Bulls to 55 wins and a first-round sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers with a MVP-caliber performance. (He'd finish third in Most Valuable Player voting, behind winner Hakeem Olajuwon and runner-up David Robinson.) Number 33 in red and black remained the center of attention in the Knicks series, for better or for worse. His 1.8 seconds of pouting at the end of Game 3 marred his reputation (even with Toni Kukoc nailing the game-winner in his absence) and he rebounded with a 25-point, eight-rebound, six-assist effort in a Game 4 win that tied the series. Pippen was then involved in one of the most debatable fouls in NBA history, as Hollins blew a late whistle on the Bulls forward, sending Hubert Davis to the line for two free throws that put the Knicks on the brink of advancing to the conference finals. There was no way the Bulls were going to close the old Stadium with a loss, though. We sat and listened as they took an early 6-4 lead in Game 6, and then built on it as the free-throw advantage turned the Bulls' way on their home court. Chicago built an 11-point halftime lead, but their inability to close out the games at Madison Square Garden still left a nagging feeling the Bulls might blow it. Until it happened. I wish a simple Internet search would call up a replay of Funk's call of the action — you can hear the TV call with Johnny "Red" Kerr in the clip above — but if a version exists online, I've yet to find it. That's OK, though. I can still remember the roar that came through that speakers, a rush of noise that painted a clear picture. Pippen had just come off a fast break to dunk over Patrick Ewing in the lane, and the 18,676 fans lucky enough to be at Chicago Stadium threatened to send it into orbit, where it'd definitely avoid the wrecking ball. The Bulls lead had reached 17, the series was going seven games, and it was already clear we'd be talking about this dunk for the rest of our lives. *Indeed, there were several articles written when the 20th anniversary of Pippen's dunk rolled around on May 20. It'd take until the evening news for me to see a clip of the dunk, but those of you with the ability to watch from home knew what immediately followed. Pippen came down over Ewing, forcefully pushing him to the ground with a shove that drew a technical. He then marched over to Spike Lee, had his say with the roadtripping Knicks fan and proudly strode the other way. Meanwhile, the cathartic roar continued through those speakers. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before, and maybe since. At some point, I realized that all three of us were standing. The boys hopped up and down. I felt the need to call someone. I didn't, because there was no way I could stop listening to that stereo. In years to come, replays of the dunk and pictures would familiarize me with every little detail. From the quick passes of B.J. Armstrong and Pete Myers to reading Scottie's lips in his exchange with Lee ("Sit your a** down!") to appreciating the just-before-it-happened looks of the other players in the frame of Nathaniel Butler's poster-worthy photo. Seriously, does it get any better than this?
- Dunk History: Michael Jordan embarrasses, like, all of the Knicks (Ball Don't Lie) August 22, 2014As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History . Today, Kelly Dwyer revels in Michael Jordan doing terrible things to John Starks, then Charles Oakley, and then Patrick Ewing during Game 3 of the first round of the 1991 Eastern Conference playoffs. The New York Knicks weren’t the enemy yet. The Detroit Pistons? They were the enemy. The Cleveland Cavaliers remained a hated foe, and out West, it seemed as if the Portland Trail Blazers would become the enemy. In the end, it turned out that the Los Angeles Lakers would be the enemy, as well. The Knicks? There had been some fearsome regular-season back-and-forths in the five years prior, and there was always going to be intrigue present after Chicago dealt an admittedly better and younger player (power forward Charles Oakley) to New York for a player they badly needed (center Bill Cartwright) in 1988. A deal that resulted in this 8-year-old throwing a pillow at a lamp in his parents’ den, knocking it over and breaking it. The 39-win, pre-Pat Riley Knicks, though, were not the Bulls' enemy in 1991. They were a fitful team still struggling to find an identity in the post-Rick Pitino era, perpetually featuring a starting point guard battle and doing all the Knicksian stuff that you’ve come to know and that New Yorkers have come to fear over the years, like dealing a first-round pick to Portland for Kiki Vandeweghe’s last legs. No, the Knicks weren’t the frightening outfit that would win 51 games and take the Bulls to seven games in 1992 under Riley, or post more regular-season wins than Chicago the year after. They weren’t the same team that downed the Jordan-less Bulls in 1994, or gave Chicago perhaps its toughest consistent postseason challenge in the 72-win season of 1996. They were coached by an interim lifer named John MacLeod, they had lost the first two games of a best-of-five first-round series by a combined 51 points, and all signs pointed to Game 3 of the first-round pairing as a bit of a mercy killing on the Knicks’ home floor. One last poor showing before Riley came aboard and ended clowntime. Before that happened, though, Michael Jordan clowned all over Patrick Ewing’s face: The complete and utter fooling of Oakley and John Starks — two of the more intelligent and active defenders of the era — is enough. To then rise over the conference’s best big man after expending quite a bit of energy in putting Oakley and Starks in the blender is almost unfair. Jordan likely knew Ewing was around, but Ewing had every right to believe that he’d be able to wipe Jordan’s shot out at the rim after watching him feint and twirl and cross over some 17 feet from the basket. It should have been his. Nothing, for Ewing and for the Knicks, ever was. That isn’t to say that the Knicks didn’t go on to scare the ever-lovin’ wits out of Bulls fans like me. By the time Chicago moved past the Knicks in 1992 and 1993, or even in 1996 as Chicago went on to play an ill-prepared Orlando Magic squad after slugging it out with the Knicks, the ensuing opponents felt like pushovers by comparison. My father noted as much at the time, pointing out that it felt like the Bulls were up at the plate swinging freely after spending a series against the Knicks in the on-deck circle, warming up for an at-bat with three bats loaded with heavy bat doughnuts. Baseball analogies abounded in the Dwyer household, and we said the word “bat” a lot. It was a real home run. Jordan scored 33 points with seven assists and six steals in this Game 3, as Chicago went on to win the game by nine, the series in a sweep, and eventually the franchise’s first title. The Knicks went on to get their act together, and promise themselves that this would never happen again. Even in defeat, it didn’t. Nothing came easy in New York after this. More from BDL's Dunk History series: • John Starks, the Chicago Bulls and 'The Dunk' • Tom Chambers rising like a Phoenix and taking orbit as a Sun • Taj Gibson starts the break, then breaks Dwyane Wade • Joakim Noah makes Paul Pierce a memory • Baron Davis unloads on Andrei Kirilenko, moves beyond belief • The joy of hearing Scottie Pippen posterize Patrick Ewing - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
- The 10-man rotation, starring Dick Bavetta, who never missed an assignment and who will be missed (Ball Don't Lie) August 21, 2014A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Triangle Offense , Sports Illustrated and NBA.com . Russ Bengtson and Ben Golliver bid a fond farewell to Dick Bavetta, who's hanging up his whistle after 39 years as the NBA's "officiating iron man," while Steve Aschburner finds out what precipitated the referee's retirement ("“This year when [my wife and two daughters] met [to vote], it was 3-0 to retire"). PF : Hardwood Paroxysm . Roy Hibbert's certainly not a great rebounder, but Scott Rafferty thinks he's not nearly as bad as some folks believe, since he's often doing just what he's asked to do within the Indiana Pacers' scheme. SF : Hang Time . Lang Whitaker on Rudy Gay's strong performance in Team USA's dominant win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, and how the Sacramento Kings forward could go from late-post-KD-bouncing addition to pivotal piece of the U.S. squad in the upcoming 2014 World Cup. SG : Raptors HQ . Ian Levy on where Terrence Ross seems to need to go next in his development, where the Toronto Raptors seem to need him most, and "the interesting dilemma" presented by the fact that those appear to be two different places. PG : The Hook . Tom Ziller considers rumors that the stalled restricted free agency of Eric Bledsoe have the Phoenix Suns looking to move him, and finds that they don't quite stand up to logical scrutiny. 6th : Bullets Forever . After letting Trevor Ariza go to the Houston Rockets and replacing him with Paul Pierce in free agency, can the Washington Wizards adjust to the change in defensive acumen on the wing without taking a big step backward? 7th : The Triangle . Alex Wong on one Florida man (not @_FloridaMan ) and his five-years-and-running pursuit of a one-on-one game with Michael Jordan.. 8th : The Cauldron . Robert Silverman finds himself more than a little uneasy with the media promotion of sports/military partnerships like the one that the NBA and USA Basketball have in "Hoops for Troops": "The United States military is not a team . We don’t buy tickets and 'root' for them they way we do for the Lakers or the Celtics. By conflating them, we fail to distinguish between meaningless basketball games — even ones that are played by the U.S. National Team — and war , and that does a incredible disservice to those who are tasked with fighting on our behalf." 9th : D-League Digest . If the New York Knicks want 2014 second-round pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo to play for their D-League affiliate, it could wind up costing them D-League draft choices. Of course it could. These are the Knicks, after all. 10th : The Reversal . Max Minsker looks at the relationship between offensive rebounding and offensive efficiency, and how it's manifesting itself in changes to frontcourt dynamics throughout the NBA. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Jeremy Lin gets Madame Tussauds wax figure, which is nice, and shoves cake in mom's face, which isn't (Ball Don't Lie) August 21, 2014The San Francisco branch of renowned international wax museum Madame Tussauds unveiled its newest addition on Thursday — newly minted Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin, who played his high school ball about 45 minutes outside the city in Palo Alto, Calif., and began his NBA career with a brief stint on the Golden State Warriors' bench during the 2010-11 season. Let's join Lin in taking a look at Jeremy on wax, which is word to Stone Gossard : Jeremy Lin... Meet Jeremy Lin. The unveiling of his wax figure at #MadameTussauds in #SanFrancisco @Lakers pic.twitter.com/K2eMgEUIjo — Jaime Maggio (@jaimemaggio) August 21, 2014 It looks ... well, an awful lot like the Lin figure that previously appeared at the Madame Tussauds location in Beijing , with the Houston Rockets' red uniform swapped out for L.A.'s familiar purple and gold and without the ball Lin's supposed to be dunking going through the basket. (This feels like a bad omen for the offensive potency of the 2014-15 Lakers.) Lin had to meet with Madame Tussauds' artists "for detailed measurements to ensure that the final product would be a realistic likeness of the 25-year-old point guard," according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times . I bet if you ask him, though, he'll say that the figure should probably be a little more muscular; this is the offseason, after all, and everybody's putting on 15 pounds of muscle. (Shouts to Lang .) Lin joins such luminaries as Hall of Fame San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, tennis superstar Serena Williams, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and noted golf enthusiast Tiger Woods in the ranks of sports figures on display at Madame Tussauds' Fisherman's Wharf museum , which is neat. He should savor the flavor of the celebratory unveiling, though; if the introduction of his former New York Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony's wax figure is any indication, folks are about to start cracking on Lin's defensive shortcomings pretty darn quick. (Then again, maybe folks will direct any like-he-was-standing-still goofs toward another Lakers point guard .) As Pincus notes in his report, Lin's just two days shy of his 26th birthday, which makes the Madame Tussauds honor a decent little pre-birthday present. It also, however, means that he's two days closer to potential retribution for his recent unkindness to his mom, whose birthday celebration included an uncalled-for trip to Dessertinthefaceburgh: Hey, Jeremy Lin? Can you be cool to your mom for like a second ? Come on, dog. If you don't start shaping up, you're going to have to answer to Grandpa , and I know you don't want that. Apparently, young Mr. Lin made amends at Madame Tussauds: "Thanks to the SF Madame Tussauds Wax Museum for helping me patch things up with my mom hahah," Lin wrote in the caption to his Instagram post . "Fyi she wasnt actually upset when she got pied," he added, before wrapping up with the hashtag #itsfamilytradition. A likely story, Jeremy. We'll let it slide this time, we suppose. (Glad they put the ball in there, too.) - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- LeBron James and Cavs Open vs. Knicks August 14, 2014The N.B.A. on Wednesday released its schedule, which begins on Oct. 28 with the San Antonio Spurs hosting the Dallas Mavericks in one of three games.
- From Metta World Peace to 'The Pandas Friend' August 11, 2014Metta World Peace, the American basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest, is changing his name once again as he joins the Sichuan Blue Whales.
- Knicks Trade for Kings Forwards August 7, 2014The Knicks acquired forwards Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw from the Sacramento Kings for guard Wayne Ellington and forward Jeremy Tyler.
- Knicks Sign Cleanthony Early August 2, 2014The Knicks signed forward Cleanthony Early, their first draft pick under Phil Jackson.
- Beyond Looking Out for No. 1, Always Putting the Team First July 15, 2014There is a clear distinction between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in how they have balanced the art of playing a team sport with the equally tricky but more desensitized business of professional basketball.