Bing Bong! Knicks and Nets Tip off their Seasons


Photo courtesy of Justin Williams

The NBA is back in full swing. Both the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan have been packed with New Yorkers and visitors rooting for their favorite teams. It is only a few months into the season, but the Knicks and Nets show promise for exciting seasons.

     The Nets, who started off 2-3 in their first five games, have done almost a complete turnaround and are now 19-8. The Nets have been strong, with superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden firing at all cylinders. At the end of the NBA’s ninth week, the Nets are fourth in ESPN’s power rankings, below the 21-4 Phoenix Suns, the 21-5 Golden State Warriors, and the 19-7 Utah Jazz. 

      The Nets have fixed many of the problems that they struggled with early in the season, and the only dull spot in the Nets’ organization is the fact that superstar Kyrie Irving continues to hold out on being vaccinated. The Nets as a team are thriving; however, Harden said he has been struggling a bit with the absence of Irving. After a loss to the Phoenix Suns where Harden had seven turnovers, he told CBS Sports, “I’m trying to figure out when to score, when to be a playmaker, when to run the offense, when to do a little bit of everything.” He spoke about how hard it is for a guard to run a team without help from another guard, especially one of Irving’s skill level. Harden has been averaging over 20 points and nine assists per game.

     Across the river, the Knicks have had a rollercoaster start to their 75 season. They started off the season with a bang, winning 140-136 against the Celtics in double overtime. They exacted revenge on Trae Young and the Hawks, beating them in Atlanta. The Hawks will get a chance to even out the series, as the two teams will face off at MSG on Christmas day. 

     Of course, there have been some kinks for the Knicks to work out; the team removed their biggest off-season acquisition, Kemba Walker, from the starting lineup rotation. Walker averaged a career low 11.7 points before he was removed from the rotation in late November. Early in the season, the team was dealing with some serious defensive issues, and its main problem was maintaining leads in the second half.

     There is, however, one more bright spot to the Knicks’ new season, and it comes from some of the most passionate, devoted fans in the world. The popular YouTube channel Sidetalk has an unmistakable intro on all its videos: “bing bong.” Inspired by the sound signaling the closing doors on the New York City subway, the two-word phrase has caught on with Knicks’ players and fans. Evan Fournier tweeted, “Great TEAM win tonight!! Bing bong!” After forward Julius Randle made a three-pointer, Knicks announcer Mike Breen exclaimed “bing bong!” on the MSG broadcast. Madison Square Garden even took it a step further and played the iconic chime on the stadium speakers after Fournier made a 3-pointer. 

     Knicks’ fans are particularly excited about how this season has started. Freshman Sean Strohofer, who has been watching the NBA for eight seasons, was impressed by the Knicks’ willingness to sign new players and bring back old players. Strohofer said, “The free agent signings of Walker and Fournier, along with being able to get Noel and Rose back, were the main things I was surprised at, and being the fourth seed in the playoffs [last season], they have to fill the expectations.” 

     Strohofer, however, was not shy to address the Knicks’ struggles as of late: “I feel that the main reason the Knicks aren’t succeeding is because of how the starters have no chemistry together. The second rotation has way more chemistry than the starters, which is saying something that probably isn’t good to hear.” 

     This was evident when the Knicks removed Kemba Walker from the rotation and promoted Alec Burks to a starter. Like most Knicks’ fans, though, Strohofer was optimistic: “They aren’t doing the best as of right now, but it was like this last season,” he said. “I hope we can come back from the problems that we are facing as of right now, and that the Knicks can just keep winning games.”

     Knicks superfan Brian Williams has been watching the team since the early ‘90s. Like Strohofer, he pointed out the chemistry on the Knicks’ bench. When asked what stood out to him about this team, he said two things: “The defense and good team ball.” Williams, however, had some criticism on what the Knicks need to do to become a legitimate playoff contender: “They need to take better shots, and always get up for every opponent, don’t just get up for the good ones.” 

     The mindset of the Knicks taking bad teams lightly has been evident early in the season. They were able to beat the Chicago Bulls, who are seen as one of the powerhouses of the Eastern Conference; they were even able to go blow for blow with their crosstown rivals until the final buzzer, losing 112-110. However, they lost to rebuilding teams such as the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers.

     Math teacher and seventh grade basketball coach Michael Franklin, who has been watching the Knicks for 30 seasons, has been relatively pleased with the work of head coach Tom Thibodeau. “I think the offense is moving the ball well,” Franklin said. “They’ve got a good combination of size and shooters, and they really haven’t had that combination in the past.” 

      Franklin seemed to be most impressed by the performance of the point guards and shooting guards. “Fournier’s huge. Just having that threat from the three-point line, it opens up the whole game,” Franklin added. Like Strohofer, Franklin felt that some of the Knicks’ bench players deserved more playing time. “Immanuel Quickley is just incredible. He needs to get more minutes. His vibe on the court brings everyone up and gets the crowd into it. He’s just an all-around player,” Franklin said.

With the Christmas slate of games fast approaching, the Knicks are hopeful of finally finding some consistency in their play. If they can continue to build chemistry with both the starters and backups, they have the potential and talent to put together a long playoff run. If the Nets can continue to produce without Irving and Harden can find his role in the offense, they can continue to be one of the most feared teams in the NBA and become legitimate championship contenders. For now, Knicks and Nets fans will have to wait and watch the season unfold for their respective teams.