I am not proud to say this, but somebody has to: I am wholeheartedly hoping Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks can continue their impressive winning streak as the NBA’s regular season comes to a close.
Before I get into this, let’s get something straight. The Denver Nuggets are still my team. They are the team to beat in the Western Conference. They have speed, they have excitement and they have depth. I like their chances for making a strong run in the post season; hopefully, they can reach the NBA Finals this year.
If they do reach the NBA Finals, it seems like a foregone conclusion that they will face LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Most will tell you that the Heat are the best team in the NBA right now and I would be remiss to say anything different.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
As the Miami Heat has exhibited basketball greatness over the past few years, with the LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh trio, I don’t have a beef with the team. In fact, I’ve written here several times before of how impressed I am with them, and especially the super-hero powers that LeBron seems to exhibit, on the basketball court.
But my feelings about the Heat soured recently, when they were in the midst of their almost-record-breaking 27-game winning streak. It was an impressive winning streak, to say the least, even though it fell five games short of the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers record.
While that was going on, the Denver Nuggets were on a winning streak of their own, which eventually reached 15 games, breaking a franchise record.
Here in the western half of Colorado, you’d think the Nuggets’ winning streak would have been the talk of the town, and in some small circles, it certainly was. For the most part, though, the Heat’s winning streak dwarfed the Nuggets’ winning streak. Yes, 27 games is much more impressive than 15 games but we are talking about the Denver Nuggets here. The Nuggets’ winning streak was much more of a surprise than the Heat’s, especially because the Western Conference is so much better than the Eastern Conference.
Regardless, all anyone wanted to talk about was how damn good the Heat are this year.
“Hell of a winning streak for George Karl and the Nuggets,” I said to mustached man sitting at one of Telluride’s popular sports bars, simply making small talk.
“The Heat are crazy good this year,” he replied, completely ignoring my comment.
Believe it or not, I had similar conversations in Montrose and Ridgway, as well, and I was forced to ponder the reality of what was going on. When did western Colorado become so full of South Beach goons? All of a sudden, they were crawling around everywhere. I don’t know if there are a lot of basketball fans jumping on the bandwagon or if there is a huge influx of south Florida residents moving to western Colorado.
“Did you see LeBron last night? Dude does things I didn’t even know where possible,” said one goon.
“The Heat aren’t going to lose one game in the playoffs,” said another.
“It’s like they belong in a league of their own,” said another.
Give me a break. I mean, if I am forced to listen to all of this Miami Heat talk from people who seem to know Miami, at least they could serve me some good Cuban food while I’m forced to listen to it. Right? It’s like a new breed of Patriots fans.
Being forced to refrain from going anywhere near an establishment that might spark NBA basketball talk, I decided to take a break from sipping beers with others, and instead sought safety within the confines of my office. Better to work than play, anyway I thought. Nobody would mess with me there. It’s all business at The Watch.
Sure enough, there was another South Beach goon out to convert me, and he, too, wanted to talk about how great the Heat are this year. Now, Adam Smith may know his music, but I question his ability to properly critique an effective zone defense. There’s just no escape from the escalating South Beach madness.
So after one particularly long diatribe against our Denver Nuggets, I emailed our esteemed publisher demanding that we improve our hiring standards; no more South Beach goons slipping through the cracks.
And second, I decided to become a New York Knicks fan for the remainder of the season.
On Sunday, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Knicks went to Oklahoma City and beat the Thunder 125-120, marking their 12th straight win. Under any other circumstances, I despise the Knicks and really despise Anthony.
But the Knicks are the Eastern Conference’s only hope of knocking the Heat out of the playoffs, when the time comes. It’s a long shot, but the Knicks are all we have now, in what has turned out to be a weak, very weak conference. And rooting for the Knicks won’t be all that hard for Nuggets fans like myself because, well, the New York Knicks really are the Denver Nuggets of three or four years ago. With the likes of Anthony, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, and Kenyon Martin, it’s like taking a step back in time and cheering for the Nuggets anyway.
If my wishes were to come true, the NBA Finals would be a matchup of the Nuggets and the Knicks – a matchup of Nuggets both old and new.
The best part of this finals scenario is that it doesn’t contain the Miami Heat. And without the Heat in the finals, perhaps we can quash this recent influx of Heat lovers in the region.