Sunday, February 21, 2010

McGrady's Garden Debut

Last night at the Garden, there was no Jay-Z performance, no Alicia Keys in the building and no Empire State of Mind to get things jumping. And yet, the Madison Square Garden had great energy last. The reason? Tracy McGrady. Keep in mind though, one game does not make a season; and I’m not delusional enough to make the statement that T-Mac is officially back. However, should Knicks fans be excited about the rest of the season? Well actually, if you’re a fan of NBA basketball at all, you should start tuning in to see the Knicks play.

McGrady hadn’t played all season, therefore he wasn’t in game shape and might not have been as explosive as he needed to be considering he is  still retuning from microfracture surgery. With that said, can T-Mac still play? Allow me to use an analogy: McGrady’s past year has been like Dr. Dre’s career. He might disappear for a while and you might not know just what he is doing, but no matter what, he can still produce classics regardless of whom he associates himself with. Tracy McGrady has always been a gifted and willing passer; so despite his lack of playing time in the past year and lack of familiarity with his new teammates, McGrady was still able to make some great passes against the Thunder. He only finished with five assists but was able to initiate offense because of his willingness to pass the ball to the guy that made the next pass that led to the assist. With that said, those of you that missed the game [probably aren’t too concerned with his passing, you guys probably want to know if T-Mac can still score at a high rate right?

Well last night McGrady got into a great rhythm against the Oklahoma City Thunder. I wanted to see the game because I was curious to see if he would be willing to attack the basket or just be happy standing around and firing jump shots. Check out the message I sent to my friend Supreme last night at halftime: “T-Mac (in 17 minutes) has 19 points, 3 assists on 7/12 field goal shooting at the half. He’s scored with drives, put backs, threes, free throws, post ups, reverse lay ins and mid range jumpers. I can’t yet tell if he’s explosive enough to dunk on people though.” Does that answer your question? McGrady was really good last night, but I still have two questions that cannot yet be answered:
1. Will McGrady attack the basket and will himself to the free throw line if his jumper is off?
2. As the remainder of the season unfolds, will his knee become bothersome? Last night, McGrady only jumped twice off one foot; the rest of the way he kept jumping with two feet to avoid putting too much weight and pressure on his knee.

With that said, does McGrady stil have game left? His line last night was 26 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 10-17 FGs and 5-7 FTs. And yet, the box score fails to capture one thing, check out the last message I sent to Supreme: “McGrady is on the bench with 6:50 left in the game. He gets up and goes to the scorers table and the Garden crowd immediately raises out of their seats and starts clapping as their star is set to go back in the game.” Knicks fans are some of the most knowledgeable and die hard fans out there; and they embraced McGrady as their own on his first night. If this was the equivalent of a date, you better believe that Knicks fans would have put out last night. Despite the loss, Knicks fans felt a bit better tonight about their team. Perhaps we should start paying attention…

Photo from: NBA.COM