I almost didn’t make it to Wednesday’s Knicks-Hornets game. First, I had it down on my calendar for Thursday. Then there was the massive sinus attack that had me spending most of Wednesday afternoon lying flat on my back to keep my head from spinning. At 5:30, I was convinced my immune system had betrayed me. Luckily, the decongestant finally kicked in about half an hour later and I began to feel, if not perfectly healthy, at least capable of sitting upright and watching basketball for a few hours.
It was definitely worth it. I had been to Madison Square Garden before, but never for a basketball game. And particularly not a basketball game featuring Amare (over there on the left), Chris Paul, the newly arrived Carmelo, and a surprise mystery guest. More pictures and details after the jump!
There was one small glitch once my boyfriend and I got to MSG: we couldn’t find our seats. The signage in MSG is all about gate numbers; if you print your tickets online, like we did, you don’t get a gate number on your ticket, just a section. We had to just guess whether we were high enough to be near the right section. Luckily we hit on the right section the second time we ventured onto the floor. (Then we may have sat in the wrong seats twice before figuring out our row was actually the elevated wheelchair access row, but that was more our fault than the signage’s.)
The game looked like it was going to be pretty even for most of the first half; every time the Knicks looked like they might go on a run, they’d botch a few offensive possessions (to the disgust of the crowd) and the Hornets would score to stay within 2 or 3 points. (May I just register a side objection about the Hornets’ yellow road unis? I realize they are pandering to the LSU fans in their base, but yellow with teal pinstripes is probably not the way to do that.)
The MSG crowd has taken to Carmelo Anthony in a big way. Every time he had a free throw there were chants of “Mel-o, Mel-o.” Of course, for Amare’s free throws there were chants of “M-V-P,” but I don’t think Carmelo minded.
The halftime show was an exhibition game of 2nd and 3rd graders from the Knicks Instructional League. The game ended in a 0-0 tie since they were all too tiny to get accurate shots off on a regulation height goal (though a few came close); the biggest cheer from the crowd came when the point guard of one team called a play (with pro-style hand gesture) coming across mid-court. I think the Super Bowl should consider just having a Pee-Wee football game at half next year — who wouldn’t want to watch that?
In the second half, the Knicks seemed to get over their offensive dysfunction and slowly but surely pulled to a 20 point lead. Granted I am not an obsessive NBA watcher, but the Knicks have had some really bad years since I moved to New York — this was, by far, the most competent I’ve ever seen them look in a full game. Chris Paul, by the way, didn’t have a particularly flashy day, but did get off a couple of sweet no-look passes and one behind the back dribble that drew “Ooohs” from even the Knicks fans. And yes, there were a few attempts at “We Want Paul” and “CP3″ chants towards the end of the game, but since the steady 20 point lead meant a lot of fans drifted out early, they didn’t really last long.
Since it was a mid-week game against a mid-level opponent, we were a bit light on celebs. Spike Lee was there, of course (in a Landry Fields jersey), as was Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Strahan (who obviously got a big cheer), former Knick Anthony Mason, and ….. Darelle Revis! I may have actually squealed for that last one.
Even though the game didn’t end up being that exciting, I’m glad I fought my sinuses and went. I had forgotten how much fun live basketball is to watch, and it was great to see so many of the Ladies… favorites in person. Also, bonus Revis is never a bad thing.