Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Two-Faced are the New York Sports Teams?

Last night, both the Knicks and Rangers had convincing wins over conference rivals. The Knicks have now won five straight, including last night's 100-85 dismantling of the reeling Celtics. The Blueshirts beat Philly 5-2 and, a bit less impressively, have now recorded points in four of their last five games. The Rangers have also looked much more cohesive offensively lately.

The problem for both New York teams? Before their recent hot streaks, the hoopsters suffered four straight hideous defeats while the icers lost three straight.

The bigger problem? A fan's realization that, like the New York Giants were last season, both teams are two-faced!

Many people know the meaning of "two-faced" from Seinfeld (link above), but Two-Face is a longstanding Batman villain. For those that don't know, Two-Face converted from good to evil when he had acid poured on half of his face. Afterwards, he looked like this:

Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever.

File:The Animated Two-Face.jpg
In Batman: The Animated Series, an after-school staple in the mid-1990s.

Now, obviously, all teams go through ups and downs throughout a season. However, what sets the Kincks and Rangers (and Giants of recent vintage) apart is their penchant for seemingly "flipping a switch," turning effort on and off.

At least the Knicks and Rangers each has a good face to go with its bad face, unlike the Mets and Jets (two hideous faces each). Still, after a blowout Knicks loss to Golden State (March 11) or a Rangers no-show against the Panthers (March 21), it's enough to make a fan want to poor acid on half of his own face.

Below are some Two-Face quotes to describe the seasons of the two-faced New York sports teams. (Sorry about the 1995 Batman Forever references. Yikes, it's been almost 20 years.) 

The Giants
The Riddler: Hey Two-Face, show me how to punch a guy!
Two-Face: Oh, it's dead simple, my boy.
Two-Face: [demonstrates] Ball up the fist, reach way back, and assert yourself.

In the middle of the season, the Giants absolutely embarrassed San Francisco, Green Bay, and New Orleans, giving fans hope of a Super Bowl repeat.

Then, during Weeks 15 and 16, they balled up their fists, reached way back, and punched Giants fans squarely in the collective crotch. Big Blue lost to Atlanta and Baltimore by a combined score of 67-14 to fall out of the playoff race.

The 2012 New York Giants, a.k.a, the Lindsay Lohans of the NFL:

Like the 2012 Giants, Lohan was beautiful in the beginning, then disgusting later on.

The Knicks
Two-Face: One man is born a hero, his brother a coward. Babies starve, politicians grow fat. Holy men are martyred, and junkies grow legion.

Despite Kavanaugh's glowing take on Carmelo Anthony, I still don't know whether the face of the Knicks is a metaphorical holy man or junkie. If he can ever bring a championship to the "Mecca of Basketball," he will be treated like a holy man. But if he continues his inconsistent performances, the Garden crowd will eventually treat him like a Times Square crack junkie. Time will tell.

As for the team as a whole, the Knicks have had winning streaks of 6 (to begin the season), 5 (three times, including the current streak), and 4. However, they've also had losing streaks of 3, 4, and 4 again. They played the Heat tough three times, going 2-1 against the defending champs. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended Miami's historic winning streak next week then got swept in the second round of the playoffs.    

One more note: J.R. Smith might be the most two-faced player in the NBA, a sort of Roundball Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. He scored 32 points last night, many on impressive slashes to the hole. (Three-pointers foil J.R. like Batman foils Two-Face.) But I'd be willing to bet he can't put up a similar performance against those same Celtics on Sunday. We can only wait and see -- that's the thing about two-faced players and teams.

J.R. Smith and his buddy The Riddler -- er, Carmelo Anthony. 

The Rangers
Two-Face: You have broken into our hideout. You have violated the sanctity of our lair. For this we should crush your bones into POWDER. However, you do pose a very interesting proposition: therefore, heads, we accept, and tails, we blow your damned head off!

And another two quotes, these from Rangers Coach John Tortorella:
"We sucked...We sucked at a time you can't suck."--Torts after a 3-1 loss to the Sabres on March 12

"We need to continue to do things we do well, and I think we've been defending pretty well. We need to stay with that. And I just think we have good people...We're in a sprint here, and I hope it happens quickly."--Torts after last night's dismanling of the Flyers

Yup, it's not easy to coach a two-faced team, just like it's not easy to be a fan of one. The Rangers do have a bunch of "good people," but it seems like they flip a coin to figure out how well they should play on a given night. We're looking at you, Brad Richards (beautiful goal last night, crummy year overall).

The Rangers are 10-6-2 at the Garden but just 6-7-1 on the road, including the loss at Buffalo after which Tortorella ripped his team. That defeat, like many of the other bad losses for the Blueshirts, came after a hot streak (five wins in six games) but preceded a slump (two more multi-goal losses). Even after an emotional win over the Devils last week, the Rangers dropped two straight. They sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference right now and just need to make the playoffs. Seeds matter little in hockey, as teams frequently ride a hot goalie and streaking stars to a title.

Let's just hope the right face shows up for the Blueshirts (and Knickerbockers) most of the time during the next few months.


  1. Right after I posted this, Al Trautwig (MSG) said that JR and Carmelo played "like Batman and Robin" before Steve Novak closed it out by going into his "utility belt" last night. Trautwig must have read How Blank and copied the Batman references. We'll see what happens with the two-faced Knicks against Memphis.

  2. Batman and Robin at it again! Looked like (from my gamecast)a two faced effort even within the course of the same game. Just glad they hung on and toughed it out at the end. Carmelo ten less shots tonight than last did he look overall?