Los Angeles Clippers (27-15) @ New York Knicks (22-22)
Madison Square Garden
4:30 p.m. PST
January 22, 2015
Fox Prime Ticket
1. Does DJ’s return (and Griffin’s imminent return) mark the end of Cole Aldrich’s recent dominance?
Robert Silverman, KnickerBlogger, (@BobSaietta): A wondrous, otherworldly creature like Cole Aldrich is not bound by the artificial construct that we mortals call “time.” By that I mean that he’s always been a PER 36 beast and he’ll continue to be effective in limited minutes. Even though he’s not a Knick, as one of the earlier known Cole stans, I’m glad that you fine West Coasters can experience the profound beauty of his molasses-slow, possibly powered by a butter-churn hook shot. Long live Hollywood Cole!
Brandon Tomyoy (@dingyu): He won’t get the minutes to put up the bulk numbers, but given his size and finesse around the rim — not to mention being the best rebounder in the reserve unit — he’ll continue to be a valuable contributor on the roster. His per 36 numbers of 18.3 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game don’t stray too far from what he did in his two starts, so it’s looking more like big Cole is here to stay.
J.D. Evans: Clips’ record when Cole plays 9 or more minutes a game: 11-2. When he plays fewer: Dear God, Cole Aldrich turns out to be Bill Russell! But yes, dominance over, no more 19 point games. But he should keep playing, because Josh Smith is not and never has been a small ball five; he is a small ball four, and nobody wants to see more from lineups with Smith in the middle (not, by the way, Smith’s fault).
2. Are Kristaps & Carmelo the ultimate NBA odd-couple?
Silverman: Of all the surprising things about Yung Lurch (or the Latviathan, if you will), the speed at which he’s meshed with Anthony ranks pretty high. And Melo’s newfound love of whipping crosscourt heaves and deft shuffle passes off the dribble fit oh-so snugly with Porzingis’s deft shooting touch. More to the point, these dudes just plumb dig each other.
— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) January 21, 2016
Tomyoy: In the present, there is perhaps no duo in the NBA that has coalesced to become as unexpected, yet effective of a pairing. But that also has to be due to Porzingis’ status with Knicks fans as he’s gone from the draft pick they never wanted to the sensation they’re ready to crown as the second coming of Nowitzki. It seems early to call them the ultimate, but they’ve already won more games at this point in the season than they did the previous year, not to mention returning League Pass watchability status to the Knicks.
Evans: Yeah, that seems fair. More importantly, Porzingis has been great for Melo: the Knicks are worth watching now, and Melo looks like a great guy for embracing the newbie. And Melo’s been good for KP, who would have floundered as a first option, but makes a fabulous second. A nice story all round.
3. Forbes collectively ranked these two teams at $5 billion dollars earlier this week. Thoughts?
Silverman: Well, there’s a much longer conversation to be had about the “sports franchise bubble.” In brief, I do think it’s gonna pop. But that valuation doesn’t represent the actual sale price, should either Dolan or Ballmer decide to cash in (and neither is, to be clear). If Guitar Jimmy ever decided to wash his hands of the Knicks, he’d pocket four-five billion easy. What a time to be alive.
Tomyoy: The numbers are indeed gargantuan, but don’t come as a surprise. It helps to hold a zip code within the two largest media markets in the country. Plus, in a league where regional sports markets are king, it also helps that the Knicks have their own network and that the Clippers are up for a new deal in the immediate future.
Evans: I think professional sports is becoming more like the contemporary art market than it already was. These valuations suggest that some people have nothing to do with their money other than buy prestige, and “buying prestige” just means buying things that nobody else can own. Pro sports is even better than art, because there are only 30 NBA teams. Whereas there are so many animals cut in half and displayed in a giant case filled with formaldehyde smeared with poo.