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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NBA REPORT

Miller's knock on LeBron senseless


NEW YORK — Tennyson, anyone?

With apologies to Alfred Lord, "Tis better to have made the playoffs and lost every game than to never have made the scene."

That reworded quote figures to serve as the spin-dry James Dolan's drones will put on the Knicks season, which figures to end with a whimper soon.

Accepting the fact there are no such thing as moral victories, Camp Cablevision's play for much of the series has been downright immoral — outscored by an average of 20 points per pounding and out-distanced in every other category except paramedics in the locker room and the ever-popular turning "interim head coach" to "interred."

As previously stated in this space, Mike Woodson needed the Knicks at least to be dimly competitive against the Heat in order to earn a promotion.

Unless he's recovering from one addiction or another, it's doubtful Dolan, even with Isiah Thomas whispering sweet nothings in his ear, can justify bringing back Woodson.

Jeremy Lin had knee surgery. Tyson Chandler had the flu the first two losses. Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in Game I. And after Stoudemire's self-inflicted mutilation, his mother denied three times they're related.

On paper, they look like valid reasons why the Knicks are down 3-1. On the court, the real reason is the Knicks are not good enough.

Beneath all this remains the fact, had they played hard in Cleveland they would be playing the gored Bulls.

Afterthought: Is it time yet for a Tony Douglas audition?

Aside from Melo and occasionally Baron Davis, he is the Knicks' only other player capable of creating off the dribble and infiltrating the Heat's hemline. If he sees daylight and plays well, Woodson will kind of get credit, the same as Mike D'Antoni sort of did for playing Lin.

* * *

Reggie Miller is sounding more and more bizarre.

In irrational TNT orations last week, the Mensa mentalist, who has as many championship rings as I do, torpedoed two-time NBA finalist LeBron James for consulting Hakeem Olajuwon, who helped him with his post game, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, ring bearers all . . . and transparently excused Carmelo Anthony for never attaining the Supreme Court.

"This is one of the most physically gifted guys in our league," Miller began lucidly. "He left Cleveland, and he had every right to join one of the top five players in the league in Dwyane Wade along with Chris Bosh.

"Now he's reaching out to Hall of Famers to see what it takes to win? Enough is enough. Go out and actually do it on your own. What do you need more help for?"

Surely pro basketball's sideline "insighters" have posed dumber questions since the useless job was created by Billy Hunter for one of his children, someone they married or a friend of theirs. Yet, I'm at a loss to remember one.

It's weirdly worrisome Miller, genius that he is, fails to grasp the concept of a player, any player, even one so multi-dimensionally dazzling as LeBron, wanting to improve his game and way of thinking.

In 18 seasons, of hiding out in Indianapolis behind granite picks set by Rik Smits, Dale and Antonio Davis and Jeff Foster, Miller racked up 25,279 points, which got him to the finals once and into the Hall of Fame the second year he was eligible.

Had Miller sought help regarding how to play defense from, say, Dennis Johnson, Joe Dumars or Dennis Rodman, maybe he wouldn't have given up more points than he scored and won a title.

So, out of one side of Miller's mouth, he knocked LeBron for daring to admit he has a lot to learn from the "been there, done that" crowd . . . for wanting to win, in other words.

Miller's Thursday night spiel out of the other side of his adaptable mouth was in defense of Melo. You can't blame Anthony for his teams in Denver and New York going nowhere worthwhile, he deduced, in essence, because the competition was stiff and he's been surrounded by stiffs.

My initial response: If it's too tough for Melo at the NBA level, he should join Stephon Marbury in China, team up with his clone, if necessary, if that's what it takes to get to the championship rung and perhaps win a title.

Upon reflection, I realized Miller wasn't truly making a case for Melo. He was, in fact, refuting criticism concerning his own career. His message was really self-serving. He was excusing himself.

* * *

So glad to read there's an open line of communication between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy. Repairing that rift and unifying the Koreas are all I live for.

How dare Jeff Van Gundy take a back-handed swipe at his brother on national TV!

Commenting on Ryan Anderson being voted Most Improved Player, he said, "It wasn't so much improvement but opportunity that improved Ryan's play." Ahem, last I looked Last Stan(d) was (the operative word) in charge of furnishing opportunities.

Props to the NBA, which again paid homage to Cinco de Mayo with its annual "Why I Want to Have a Beer with Dan Issel" essay contest.

More props for Paul Pierce from Ricky St. Jean: "He is a master at getting into the paint without a lot of quick moves. Some players shy away from contact. He almost makes defenders foul him, often putting the ball under their arms and drawing up, always leaning in."

Dirk Nowitzki is the all-time NBA and European leader in points scored off one foot.

Shouldn't Metta World War III warrant another game or two suspension for creating elbow room for Andrew Bynum to break Al Harrington's nose?

Peter Vecsey covers the NBA for the New York Post.


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