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Knicked Up

The Knicks will have to wait yet another game to have the chance to end their decade long playoff win drought. New York unraveled down the stretch as the veteran bunch from Beantown took down the upstart Knicks 87-85 at TD Bank Garden. New York was outscored 48-34 in the second half, squandering a twelve point halftime lead. Questionable shot selection was abound as the main culprit, Carmelo Anthony, settled for perimeter shots throughout the majority of the game.

New York’s backcourt of Anthony and Chauncey Billups shot a putrid 8 of 29 from the field while combining for eight turnovers. Point man Chauncey Billups went down with an apparent knee strain with 59 seconds remaining in the game and his status for Tuesday night’s Game 2 is listed as doubtful. Amare' Stoudemire percolated tallying 28 points 11 rebounds overwhelming the Celtics post defenders. Inexplicably, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni did not ride Stoudemire’s hot hand down the stretch as Amare’ did not touch the ball on the Knicks final five possessions of the ballgame. D’Antoni failed to save a timeout for New York’s final possession as Anthony was forced to throw up a deep three point that clanked off the front rim as the final seconds passed.

Boston’s furious comeback was fueled by Ray Allen who scampered around screens freeing himself for open jump shots. Arguably the purest shooter in the NBA, Allen stayed true to form connecting on 9 of 15 field goals for 24 points with 18 coming in the second half. The Celtics were able to control tempo and stagnate the Knicks high octane offense limiting New York to two fast break points. The Knicks will need to unleash their transition game
and secondary break if they hope to square the series Tuesday night. If Billups is unable to give it a go in Game 2, second year point man Tony Douglas will likely get the nod. Douglas knocked in eight points in Game 1, none larger than his go ahead step-back three pointer to give the Knicks a one point lead with 37 seconds remaining. The Knicks will need Douglas to replicate his late game performance if “Mr. Big Shot” (Billups) is sidelined with a knee strain.

Game 1 is in the books, but Knicks fans are hot and bothered by what has been called shoddy officiating down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony was charged with an offensive foul as he extended his arm to fend off Paul Pierce with the Knicks leading 85-84 and 27 seconds remaining. Pierce’s performance was Broadway worthy as he learned the art of flopping from fellow teammate Glen Davis who leads the NBA in charges taken with 42. Kevin Garnett’s hip check on Tony Douglas went unnoticed culminating in Ray Allen’s cold-blooded game winning three pointer.

New York has voiced their displeasure with Sunday night’s officiating, but has moved on and set their sights on Game 2. If New York hopes to exact revenge they will need to execute better down the stretch and play up-tempo forcing the geriatric Celtics into a track meet. “The City that Never Sleeps” will remain sleepless yet another night until their beloved Knicks end their playoff winless streak.


Bart "CAN'T WAIT" for 2011 Season

The New York Jets emotional leader and walking sound bite Bart Scott shared his thoughts on Gang Green’s 2010 season. Scott echoed head coach Rex Ryan’s Super Bowl proclamations while acknowledging the buzz his Jets generated despite falling shy of capturing that all-elusive title.

“That’s the goal every year,” declared Scott. “Every year we think we can win it. One year we’ll be Nostradamus. But, you can’t say we haven’t been must see TV. You can’t say we haven’t been exciting or we haven’t backed him {Rex} up. It’s not like we’ve had a cataclysmic failure or meltdown.”

Speaking of “must see TV”, although Scott was not ready to commit to an encore performance on HBO’s Hard Knocks; he boasts the Jets fun culture as an enticing factor in wooing free agent talent.

“It gave people an inside look at how do things,” admitted Scott. “We operate different and we showed that. Our meetings were not just for television. I guarantee you that everyone in that room mastered their position and their job. We laugh and joke and put a whole new defensive system in and people laugh and think that no one is paying attention and we know it like the back of our hand. I think all the free agents watching took notice.”

As the Jets defensive signal caller, Bart Scott serves as Rex Ryan’s voice on the gridiron. Scott revealed that the Jets can play freely and keep things light because their preparation uncovers all the answers.

Scott offered, “If you study for the test what do you have to be scared for?” “You’re only nervous when you don’t study for the test. You get uptight if you don’t think you’re prepared for the test or you don’t believe in the plan.”

Scott waxed poetically on Rex Ryan’s creative defensive schemes as well as his charismatic way with words.

“I know Rex is a genius because he’s been my coordinator,” stated Scott. “People pay attention to Rex’s talk, but they don’t realize that he is probably one of the few coaches to have a winning rec
ord over Bill Belichick. One day you guys will figure it out that schematically, especially on the defensive side of the ball we have the best coaching staff in the league.”

Scott is adamant that the Jets chatter and swagger have been instrumental in their success, while critics contend that Gang Green’s incendiary remarks give opponents added incentive to win. New York’s linebacker is candid and outspoken, traits likely adopted from his head coach.

"It’s just how I operate, noted Scott. I’m an emotional person you know exactly where you stand with me. I’m not going to sugar coat anything. It’s the same reason I express my affection for Rex in the media."

Although Nostradamus himself may have trouble prognosticating the outcome of the NFL’s labor dispute, it’s apparent that Scott is chomping at the bit to toe the gridiron and help fulfill Gang Green’s championship dreams.

Gang Green’s Lean and Mean Machine

Vladimir Ducasse is a man on a mission. With the release of veteran Damien Woody this offseason, the competition for starting jobs along the offensive line is wide open. A second year left guard out of UMASS, Ducasse has shed eight pounds this offseason working his way down to a spry and limber 317. Ducasse was quick to credit the training program developed by trainers at TEST.

“I’m doing everything: working on strength, speed and agility and trying to gain more flexibility,” said Ducasse. “We are doing exercises over and over again until it becomes muscle memory.”

Ducasse saw action in two games during his rookie campaign with Gang Green. He understands the key to securing a starting job will rest with his ability to live up to the team’s mantra and “Play Like a Jet.”

“I want to be more physical and play faster,” declared Ducasse. “The most important part for me is to be more confident in my game."

Ducasse is motivated and ready to actively contribute in 2011. The man they call Vlad reflected on New York’s superb 2010 season giving special notice to the fact the Jets have some unfinished business.

"The whole season was enjoyable, noted Ducasse. "Starting in training camp and then at the end of the season coming so close to meeting our goal. Right now, I’m trying to amp up my workout to get ready for this upcoming season and help us reach our goal."

Courtside at MSG

A couple sights courtside at MSG: include fans' favorite Knick, Walt Clyde

Giants Barry Cofield: Yoga Master

The heart and soul of Big Blue’s vaunted defensive line in 2010, defensive tackle Barry Cofield is working feverishly this offseason to rehabilitate his surgically repaired shoulder and bicep. Cofield seems pleased with his progress as he plans to amp up his upper body workouts with his sights set on OTA’s and minicamp this summer.

“I feel great,” said Cofield. “I had my shoulder surgery and biceps surgery a couple days after the last game of the season. I got it done early to give myself as much time as possible to recover. I’ve been down here at TEST working hard. Rehabbing four to five times a week. I was really able to up my workouts this past week doing upper body and stuff like that. By the time OTA’s start and minicamp I’ll be able to go.”

Standing a towering six foot four inches tall and tipping the scales at 306 pounds, Cofield’s herculean strength enables him to bulldoze blockers and slam halfbacks to the turf with ease. This offseason, Cofield has worked with yoga instructors at TEST to improve his flexibility and develop his core strength.

“I’ve always been a strong guy,” admitted Cofield. “I can bench a lot and I have strong legs. I have been working on all the small muscles that big guys don’t normally focus on. I’ve played five years and started every game, that’s a lot of tread on my tires, a lot of wear and tear. So I’m working on all the small things that can help prolong my career. “

When asked to provide his impressions of his newly incorporated yoga regimen, Cofield quipped:

“It’s as close to torture as I’ve experienced.” “I’d rather bench press 225 pounds 30 times than do yoga for 30 minutes. It exposes you. You think you’re strong and you think you’re athletic until you get in some of those poses and you do about an hour of core strength and flexibility and you realize you have a lot of work to do.“

With so much uncertainty surrounding the NFL’s labor dispute, Cofield’s free agent status is in limbo. Cofield is considered an unrestricted free agent under current rules, but if the league decides to revert back last year’s rules Cofield would become a restricted free agent this offseason.

"Hopefully we win the injunction and everyone gets back to work, said Cofield. "It depends on the rules. Hopefully I’ll be an unrestricted free agent and go from there. But if I’m restricted I’ll have to w
eigh my options there too. The Giants told all their free agents a months ago they don’t want to engage in any big contracts until they know what the salary cap is going to be and all of this gets ironed out. And they stuck to it."

With five NFL seasons under his belt as a member of the New York Giants, Cofield made it abundantly clear his preferred return destination is with Big Blue. If Cofield is able to secure a long term fair market deal with New York, he seems ready and willing to sign above the dotted line. With the decertification of the union, imminent salary cap changes and the Giants desiring to secure several other big contracts, Cofield understands he may have to expect the unexpected.

“I would love to re-sign with the Giants,” exclaimed Cofield.” I would love to have a fair deal based on the way I played. If they offered me that, that would be the ideal scenario. I love this state, I love the coaches I love my teammates. I feel like we have the best defensive line in the NFL. There’s nothing to make me want to leave. At the same time, if the economics don’t work out based on the money they’ve already paid the guys then I understand that and I’ll start a new chapter.”


Fans' Favorite Rick Laughland and Kristian R. Dyer of the Green and White Report traveled to Test Fitness in Martinsville, New Jersey to check in on the Jets offseason workouts. Rick and Kristian caught up with Jets: Vladmire Ducasse, Bart Scott and chatted with free agent Bary Cofield who started all 16 games in 2010 with the Giants gathering four sacks and a forced fumble. Interviews to be posted shortly.

Yankees Opening Series

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