|Prince at MSG for Knicks & Grizzlies|
Tuesday night after work I wound up meeting up with the King, his mother, Bryan Gilligan, Frank Anichiarico, Phil Butleman and Al Linderman for dinner at Donovan's Pub. Since there were no games again in the area we all decided to meet up so we could do our annual baseball picks. We all took turns reading off our division winners for all of the six different divisions, three in each league. In addition, we all ranked how we thought the American League East and National League East divisions would finish at the end of the season. Furthermore, we all picked the team we thought will win the World Series.
As for me, I showed off my Natitude. With Stephen Strasburg ready to go the full season this year with no restrictions, I firmly believe the Nationals have a realistic chance of getting back to the post season in October. In addition, I expect my boy Gio Gonzalez to continue his climb to stardom like he did last year. He finished his first season as a National with a league leading 21 wins. I don't think he'll duplicate that this year but he should win his fair share to help the team reach their ultimate goal. We'll see how it plays itself out over the next six months.
Wednesday night after work I went to Charley's Subs in Penn Station for dinner before I headed upstairs to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks host the Memphis Grizzlies who were making their only appearance at the World's Most Famous Arena this season.
With that being said, I got to catch up with my pal Eric Hasseltine who is the play by play announcer for the Grizzlies and he has been for every game since they moved to Memphis back in 2001. He was joined by former NBA player Elliot Perry who was does some of the games as the color commentator. Ironically it was the night before Elliot's birthday. I told him I hope the Grizzlies win so he gets an early birthday present. He said that would be nice. Socks as he was known during his playing days, is a great guy. I got to speak to both of them for a short time before they went on the air to call the game back in Memphis on 92.9 ESPN Radio. That station is also the home of the Eric Hasseltine Show which airs M-F 2-4PM Central time. In the Eastern time zone I tune in online from 3-5PM. I've become a regular listener since the beginning of January once I figured out that I could tune in and listen to him online at work. Eric does a tremendous job. He has me hooked every afternoon in the office. It truly is the best two hours of my work day. I try my best to pay close attention to the show hoping that my work load isn't too distracting for me because Eric really knows his stuff. I'm not just trying to toot his horn. I'm a tough critic. When I really like something, I like to give credit where it's due. I sincerely love his show. When I spoke to him I told him how much I enjoy it from his opening introduction with his producer Ben Hogan aka @notthegolfer on Twitter, the Analyst Tuesday segment each week to the rapid fire that he does in the last segment to end each show. In between, he usually has a number of guests that come on and when time allows he takes calls and he reads off tweets from his followers on Twitter. To follow him, go to @EricHasseltine. As for Socks, he can be found at @ElliotPerry34. Tune in for yourself and I think you'll become an avid listener like me.
As for the game we saw, the Grizzlies played with Marc Gasol who was a late addition to the line up. Unfortunately he didn't inspire his teammates who got off to a 3-0 lead but it was all down hill from there as the Knicks shot the lights out from all over the court especially from behind the three point arc where they made 13 treys for the game. Most of them came in the first half when they scored 69 points to go into halftime up by 28, 69-41. The Grizzlies were literally blown out of the building. Their grit grind style of basketball didn't exist in the first 24 minutes. In the second half, they finally woke up but by then it was too little too late as the Knicks escaped with a 108-101 victory. The Grizzlies cut the lead to 5 late in the game but they just couldn't overcome the hole they dug for themselves as they split the season series with the Knicks. The King and I were at the FedEx Forum back in November for that Grizzlie win. This was payback time for the Knicks.
J.R. Smith led the scoring assault as he lead all scorers with 35 points. Carmelo Anthony added 22 of his own. It should be noted that Iman Shumpert was the real difference maker especially early in the game as he hit six treys as he finished with 16 points that was pivotal in setting the tone for the night for the Knicks. It helped that the Grizzlies' defense couldn't keep up with the Knicks who had one open shot after another.
As for the Grizzlies, Mike Conley had a team high 26 points while Jerryd Bayless had 24. It should be noted Tony Allen played well in the lackluster team performance. Marc Gasol playing due being hurt finished with 13 points.
|Eric Hasseltine & Elliot Perry doing post game show|
After the game, I said my farewell to Eric & Elliot after the disheartening loss. Eric said they have trouble playing well on the road.
Thursday night after work I came home again. The timing was good because I needed to get ready for my weekend getaway.
Friday night after work I went back to the Garden to see the Knicks take on the Charlotte Bobcats. The King and our pal Bryan Gilligan drove down to Philadelphia. They went to see the Phillies play the Blue Jays in an exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park.
Bryan said and I quote "this was probably the best game I'll see all year." It's funny since the regular season hadn't even started yet. It's hard to argue with him. They saw a 1-0 Blue Jay win that took a mere 2 hours and 5 minutes to play even with numerous changes.
As for the game I saw, the Knicks played a game that was eerily similar to the game they played against the Grizzlies. This time they put up 69 points again in the first half as they lead by 22 at halftime, 69-47. They only made nine shots from beyond the arc for the game this time. In the second half, the Knicks slacked off as they knew they had the game in hand since the Bobcats aren't nearly as good as the Grizzlies. They were right as it turned out. The Knicks went on to beat the Bobcats, 111-102.
Once again J.R. Smith led all scorers. This time he poured in 37 points. Carmelo Anthony contributed 32.
As for the Bobcats, Gerald Henderson led the way with 35 points. Kemba Walker who's from the Bronx had 16 points in his homecoming.
Stay tuned for the special posts I'm going to do regarding our Easter weekend getaway. Please bear with me as I try to find time to do them.
Thank you for reading and following along.