New York's Knicks are proving you just can't win at basketball.
Back in the days when I could be bothered arguing the toss about stuff, I once had a long argument with a former colleague who was a huge basketball fan.
My argument when it comes to basketball is that a match can only be lost - and not won.
The basis for this stance is that the rules of basketball weigh heavily in the favour of the team in possession of the ball and, given that it is a nocontact sport, to my way of thinking that means a team should score every time they have the ball.
It is all well and good to argue about the merits of defence and tactics to prevent a team scoring, but to me the entire premise of the game is that 'you shoot, you score' - if you don't you lose.
Strangely basketball is a sport at which I represented both my school and university, though obviously not too often as my towering five feet seven-and-a-half inch frame essentially provided my team with an unfair advantage and that I could only be played in special circumstances - at least that's what they said at college!
In fact those team selection discussions always included the use of the word 'short.'.
If it applied to numbers of available players I was in, but if they had a strong squad it was the reason I was out.
Anyway back to my theory of basketball and, whether it is true or not that a game can only be conceded, there is no doubting which NBA team are masters of the art - New York Knicks, who take on the Milwaukee Bucks in tomorrow's televised clash.
The Knicks are bottom of the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division with a win-loss record of 5-35 - the worst in the NBA.
The Knicks haven't won since mid-December and have not put together two straight victories since the second and third games of the season.
They are also on a run of 15 straight defeats and have now lost seven straight games by double-digit margins and, while injuries have been a factor, even when the Knicks have been at strength at various times this season their form has reportedly not been much better.
In fact so bad were the Knicks in their 120-96 defeat by Houston Rockets, televised across the States last Thursday night, that a section of their supporters took to wearing paper bags over their heads.
Hometown hero Carmelo Anthony, who has been named an All-Star seven times, is reportedly set to be fit for the game at London's O2 Arena but even the presence of the 30-yearold star turn has not been greeted with too much optimism by some of the Knicks followers.
US sports columnists have suggested that perhaps parting company with Anthony, who is credited with holding the creaking ship together the as best he can, may prove the only way forward for the Knicks.
Whatever those steps forward may turn out to be, the first of them will be taken tomorrow night on the banks of the Thames when the Knicks face the Bucks.
It is not as though the Knicks have been sent over the pond with any weight of expectation that a change of scenery will bring a change of luck by the fans back home.
The New York Daily News have previewed the game by paraphrasing The Clash's classic 'London Calling' changing the lyrics to: "The ice age is coming / The sun's zooming in / Meltdown expected / The wins are growing thin".
The Knicks will be hoping they will see a repeat of 2013 when Anthony inspired New York to a comfortable 102-87 win over Detroit Pistons at a sold-out O2 Arena.
However, it would seem that not too many people can see anything but a Bucks victory - even those in the Big Apple - so it could be well worth viewing just for the shock value of a Knicks win.
| Carmelo Anthony will |carry the hopes of the New York Knicks as they look to cause an upset at London's O2 Arena
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|Title Annotation:||Sport; Opinion Columns|
|Publication:||Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)|
|Date:||Jan 14, 2015|
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