Sunday, March 31, 2013

Open Mike Sunday: MLB Baseball Preview

In the first hour of Open Mike Sunday, the MLB Preview Show, host Michael Cohen breaks down the upcoming season for the New York Yankees with Triple Coverage host Daniel Feuerstein. They ponder questions about the Yankees durability, age, and injuries. Will the Yankees flame out this year as many fear?  In the second hour, Mike and Dan take a closer look at the Mets 2013 season plans, and make their bold predictions for both the American and National Leagues. 

LISTEN HERE!!! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

AARP Club: Yankees Begin 2013 looking old and battered

For seemingly the last six or seven years, baseball fans and writers alike have been asking the same question about the New York Yankees coming into each Opening Day: Is this team too old? And, when will age finally catch up with them?

For the better part of that time the Yankees have found a way to defy Father Time, winning a World Series in 2009 and playing in the postseason an astounding 16 times in the last 17 years.

However, this season injuries are starting to catch up with the Bronx Bombers, and, for the first time, the lack of depth on this team from the reserves on the bench all the way through to the minor leagues is starting to haunt the organization as well.

The list has been well-documented throughout spring training, but here it is again: Mark Teixiera - out 10 weeks with a wrist injury; Curtis Granderson - out 10 weeks with a broken forearm; Alex Rodriguez - likely out for the season due to hip surgery, as well as the unmitigated PR nightmare following the fallout from new steroid allegations. Derek Jeter will be out for a few days because of his barking ankle, while the catching situation doesn't look too good with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart (two back-up catchers) platooning for the starting job.

In response to the rash of injuries, the Yankees have tried everything to try to patch the holes in an apparently leaking ship, but, let's be honest, until some of these guys actually do come back, the patch work job by G.M. Brian Cashman may not hold for long, especially in a revitalized AL East.

Hence the reason for everyone jumping off the Yankee bandwagon like it's the Titanic. Because of the bold moves by the Toronto Blue Jays, and, based on last season's surprise team, the Baltimore Orioles, there are no more deadweights in this division.

For example, the Blue Jays added Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle among others, making them an immediate favorite to either win the division or completely implode; the Orioles feature one of the best offenses in the game, and the Tampa Bay Rays, even without James Shields, can still pitch with the best of them.

So, with so much age and so many questions about the health of their star players, the prospects for the Yankees this season do not look too good.

The Bombers are hoping that Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Eduardo Nunez and Kevin Youkilis can get the job done with so many of the Yankees' stars on the pine. Wells and Overbay just joined the Yankees this week after the team was unimpressed with the back-ups they already had in camp. Juan Rivera, inspite of hitting .295 this spring, was dreadful at first base and the Yankees had no choice but to bring in a defensive first baseman; enter Overbay who was released by Boston.

Overbay is not going to light up Yankee Stadium with his bat; in his best season, he hit 22 homers in 2006 with Toronto.

The outfield situation is more muddled. Aging, but still effective, Ichiro Suzuki, there is not much out there for the Yankees on which to depend.

Left field has been a mess all spring.

The Yankees were initially hoping that Brett Gardner would be their everyday left fielder, but once Granderson went down, Gardner had to move to center field, creating a black hole in left. Rivera tried and failed; DH Travis Hafner is no longer an outfielder; Brandon Bosche, whom the Yankees signed two weeks ago, got injured, and Ben Francisco is ... well ... Ben Francisco.

Enter Wells, who is coming off two poor seasons in Anaheim, and whom the Angels couldn't wait to get rid of, even if it meant eating most of Wells' remaining contract. Wells, however, could be a steal for the Yankees if he remains true to his word that he has changed his swing.

In a New York Post article, Wells said he is no longer going to the plate trying to hit homers. If he takes that approach, he will become a welcome addition to New York. Plus, Wells is very familiar with the division having once played for the Blue Jays.

If the Yankees are able to get Teixeira, Granderson and Jeter back in the fold and if they produce, the Yankees lineup doesn't look so bad, but that, of course, is a big IF. Jeter, as great as he is, is coming off a hideous ankle injury he suffered in last Fall's ALCS. He is still favoring that ankle, but knowing how tough he is, he should be fine.

Granderson's broken forearm and Teixeira's wrist injury will be tricky to manage on a day-to-day basis when they return.

As for the rotation, the Yankees offer plenty of experience with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. The Yankees should not be concerned with Sabathia and Kuroda -- they know they can get 15-17 wins out of both of these guys this season.

However, the rest of the rotation is a bit shaky. Pettitte suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for much of the season last year. He returns this year, grayer but still capable of getting outs. If Pettitte can avoid the injury bug that plagued him his last two seasons with the Yankees and prove to be durable at the age of 41, then he solidifies this rotation.

In addition, Nova and Hughes are both interesting cases.

Nova was terrible last year posting a 5.08 ERA. He lost the command that made him a break out 16-game winner in 2011, and, so far this spring, has struggled to find his mojo again, but he has made progress of late. In his most recent appearance, Nova gave up only a run on three ground ball hits and threw more than half of his pitches for strikes.

The Yankees will really need Nova to pitch well at the bottom of the rotation since Hughes is going to start the season on the DL. While he is no beacon of consistency, Phil Hughes has not pitched at all this spring because of a back injury that derailed the start of his 2013 season.

This is a huge year for Hughes.

He is a free agent at the end of this year and needs to impress if he hopes to get a big-time contract.

Dark-horse: David Phelps. The injuries and inconsistency of Hughes and Nova, have opened up a door for David Phelps. Phelps has been incredible this spring. He struck out nine Orioles the other night in five-and-a third innings and has struck out 27 batters in 28 innings this spring. Last season, Phelps struck out 96 batters in 99 innings and was very solid in spot starts. Phelps is going to get a chance to keep that number four spot in the rotation, leaving the five spot up for grabs between Nova and Hughes.

Another plus for this Yankees team is their bullpen. They have Mariano Rivera back and healthy, but in front of him, they've got plenty of solid arms from Boone Logan to David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, all of whom are capable of shortening a ball game.

While the expectations are low for the Yankees this year, this is not a team to sleep on. Jeter, Granderson and Teixeira will be back before too long. If the Yankees can hover around .500, or just above .500, and keep pace with the rest of the division until they all return, the Yankees could make a serious late season run, that is, if the old guard can hold up one more time.

Prediction: Yankees finish in 2nd in the AL East at 88-74.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Johan Santana likely done for the 2013 season

Johan Santana's season is over before it started.

Already on the disabled list to open the season because of a setback in his recovery from back and shoulder injuries, Santana will not pitch again for the Mets this year, if ever again.

According to multiple reports, Santana tore the anterior capsule in his left shoulder, the same injury he suffered two years ago. The former ace, received the diagnosis while being reexamined by team doctors in New York City shortly after being placed on the DL.

This is a huge blow to the Mets' and Santana's plans for this year. Clearly, with New York in rebuilding mode and planning to move forward with younger, more talented arms in Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler, the Mets had hoped that a healthy Santana could solidify the rotation. The Mets had also hoped, that if Santana pitched well enough this year, they could trade him to a contender for prospects.

 Now the Mets are now on the hook for all of Santana's $31 million this season, with no injury insurance in the contract. Call it the parting gift from ex-General Manager Omar Minaya.

For Santana, missing the entire year means he misses out on showcasing his talents to a team looking to make a late season push. Even if Santana were to come back and pitch this year, nobody would want to gamble on him.

The Mets-Santana marriage is now officially going down as one of the worst in Mets history. Minaya had traded for and signed Santana to a seven-year, $137 million deal back in 2008, making him the highest paid pitcher in the sport at the time.

However, after a great 2008 campaign highlighted by Santana's gem against the Florida Marlins on the next to last day of the season, it has been downhill since.

 He soon suffered that initial torn anterior capsule in 2010 and had to be shut down at the end of that year. The injury lingered into 2011 causing Santana to miss the entire year.

 Last season, Santana tried to come back with a vengeance.  He got off to a great start, highlighted by his miraculous no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field, the first no-no of his career and the first ever by a pitcher in a Mets uniform.

Shortly thereafter, Manager Terry Collins blamed himself for letting Santana throw 136 pitches during that historic moment. Collins even cryptically wished it wouldn't come back to bite him. Collins must own a crystal ball because Santana was never the same after the no-hitter. By August, Santana had to be shut down because of an apparent back injury.

There has been rampant speculation that Santana may have caused this new injury to his shoulder out of sheer anger toward Sandy Alderson. Earlier in camp, Alderson questioned Santana's readiness for spring training saying the lefty looked out of shape.

Angered by the accusations, Santana took to the outfield to have an unscheduled long toss session with pitcher Pedro Feliciano; the Mets front office never objected to the session, according to the New York Post. During that session, Santana apparently flung a baseball off the orange homer demarcation above the wall just to the left of the 410 sign in center, which, Joel Sherman writes, had to be 250 feet away. The throw by Santana looked to be like a man putting all of his pent up anger into one throw as if to say to Alderson, "See. I feel great."

Later, Santana took to the mound for a bullpen session that he scheduled by himself. While he never faced any objection by the Mets front office or coaches, there is belief now that Santana rushed his own program in order to quiet the chatty General Manager.

If that is the case, the marriage between the Mets and Santana ends with an extremely bitter taste.

Now we are left with the possible end to Johan Santana's once brilliant career.

Yankees cut ties with Juan Rivera, Lyle Overbay now First baseman

After trying and failing to find a replacement for Mark Tiexiera at first base, the Yankees released Juan Rivera on the final day of camp, awarding the job to veteran Lyle Overbay.

Three weeks after Tiexiera was diagnosed with a wrist injury that will sideline him for seven more weeks, the Yankees search for his replacement is over ... for now.

Rivera never impressed much in camp especially in the field at first base. With the acquisition of Vernon Wells, Brendon Bosche and Ben Francisco as back-up outfielders, Rivera became expendable.

Earlier this week the Yankees signed Overbay, a guy who is a solid defensive first baseman, after he was cut by Boston. In three games, Overbay hit .429 (3-for-7) at the plate, and his glove is good enough that the Yankees want to keep him going into Opening Day.

Offensively, Overbay doesn't have the pop that Rivera has; his best season came in 2006 with Toronto when he hit 22 homers and drove in 92. Yet, when it comes to fielding he's only made 59 errors in his 12 year career at first base. By comparison, Rivera has made 9 errors at first in just 106 games at the position. 

Giants Lose Umenyiora to Falcons

After years and months of consternation over the contract of defensive end Osi Umenyiora, a once frustrated Giant is a frustrated Giant no more. Umenyiora signed with the Atlanta Falcons late Wednesday night, signing a two-year $8.5 million contract, with $5 million guaranteed.

For a couple years Umenyiora had been seeking a monster contract that the Giants could not afford. There was even speculation for a long time that he would bolt to neighboring teams like the Jets or Eagles if he was not able to get a deal with Big Blue.

Instead Umenyiora will fly south to join a Falcons team that was a 4th down conversion away from going to the Super Bowl last season.

There is reason for concern here for Atlanta, and you can understand why the Giants felt the need to move on from Osi. He is 31-years old, and really hasn't been the major impact player he once was. Last season, Umenyiora had only six sacks, and appeared to lose a step and depth on the Giants rotating defensive line.

Atlanta hopes that Osi can replace John Abraham, who is also a free agent, and is the Falcons all time leading sacks leader. Chances are, the Falcons are going to miss Abraham a lot.

Meanwhile, Umenyiora tried to pool cold water on the belief that he and Giants GM Jerry Reese have a poor relationship saying: " "Me and Jerry are cool, man," Umenyiora said. "We've always been cool. Jerry's my guy. Obviously if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't even be here, because obviously the team did a comprehensive amount of research on me and my background because of some of the things that have been reported. They wanted to know what type of person I was. So obviously they had to talk to Jerry Reese as well as my coach, and they had nothing but positive things to say."

In other word, he's cool with Reese, now that they are about 1,000 miles apart from one another. Let the rebuilding of the Giants D-line begin.

Open Mike 03-27-13 MLB Preview & NCAA Sweet 16

In the first hour of the Open Mike program, host Michael Cohen recaps last week’s round of 64 and 32 in the NCAA tournament, and previews the sweet 16 match-ups.

Later, Michael invites “Passed Ball” producer and host, John Pielli to talk Mets baseball. In the second hour of the show, Bleacher Report and Giants101.c0m sports writer Doug Rush joins the program to talk Yankees baseball.

To listen to the podcast version of the show, click the following LINK. Hit the play button next to the file to play it. Remember on Sunday, March 31 at 12 p.m. there will be a LIVE Open Mike MLB Baseball Preview Special on MTR!!! The link for the special on Sunday is http://streamdb2web.securenetsystems.net/v5/MTRRADIO

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 NY Mets Preview: Future is Now for Metroplitans

Believe it or not Opening Day is just around the corner.

The grandiose de-facto national holiday is finally upon us, bringing back the Boys of Summer, and with it, ending another puzzling off-season by the New York Mets' front office.

Puzzling by the fact that Fred and Jeff Wilpon continue to say that they are out of the financial doldrums of Bernie Madoff and that bright days are ahead, yet GM Sandy Alderson continues to do the best he can pinching pennies to keep the cash-strapped franchise afloat.

Sure Michael Bourn may not be worth the money he is getting in Cleveland, and Nick Swisher is not worth $14 million a year, which he got from the Cleveland Indians.

But, the Mets could have made a deal happen to bring in a veteran presence to help out the kids on the current roster, and give David Wright a bit of a break, but chose not to.

Those potential deals are now water under the bridge, and the Mets enter 2013, like last year, with a roster of players who make us ask, "Who are these guys?"

As a talk radio host, I have heard many Mets fans say that 2013 doesn't mean anything since the front office is preparing for 2014 and beyond. Who cares about sagging attendance? Who cares about who does what on the field? Who cares about playoffs, or contending? It doesn't matter this year, according to a few fans that I have spoken to.

I don't believe that.

There is something to play for in 2013 for this Mets team, a lot to play for.
 
Understood the Mets don't have the horses to keep up with Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta, but that doesn't mean this season is pointless.

It certainly doesn't mean they can't make the NL East's Big Three sweat a little.

If the Mets are indeed looking to build a team that can really contend in 2014, and puts butts in the seats, they better start proving it now. There are jobs to win, names and reputations to make.

The Mets have a core group of players who are going to carry this team going forward.

Matt Harvey looks like the real deal, and by all accounts will be the Mets' ace down the road. Zach Wheeler is not far behind as he works his craft in the minors, and Travis D'Arnaud, the highly touted catching prospect, was excellent in his stint with the big club this Spring, hitting .343, driving in runs and showing veteran-plate discipline.

You add these three players with David Wright and Jonathan Niese, and the Mets have their core.

Now, who is going to join them?

Let's begin with the guys who need to prove something this year. There are a number of players on this year's roster who have a lot to prove.

Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell and even guys like Justin Turner and Jordany Valdespin, are a handful players who have to prove not only to Mets' fans, but to the front office that they are more than a bunch of fringe major leaguers and stop gaps who happen to make up the bulk of the roster.

In short, there is room for improvement.

Take Duda as a example.

Here is a guy with raw power to both fields, and when he gets hot, can hit home runs in bunches. However, Duda is very inconsistent, and my label of him last year that he reminds me of both Adam Dunn and Mike Jacobs stuck last season.

In a 30-game stretch in 2012 he hit at or below .200 with just two homers and was demoted to Triple-A, not only because of his offense, but because of his glove. In the outfield he was charged with minus-18 defensive runs saved, according to ESPN.

This spring, however, Duda has hit four homers and has had a very solid camp. He is going to need to play a much better left field if he has any plans of keeping that job this year.

The same can be said for Ike Davis at firstbase. A lot of Davis' early season struggles were attributed to Valley Fever. Once he got past the bizarre disease he was one of the top hitters in the sport, batting .257 with a .344 OBP and .549 slugging, highlighted by 27 of his 32 homers in the second half of the season.

Still, Davis needs to show that he can be a much more consistent hitter.

Another campaign of numbers close to the .227 batting average and 141 strikeouts he had last year will almost certainly make his seat warm. Davis is a career .252 hitter, but if the Mets can get a solid .260 - .270 out of him this year, and add in the power and run production numbers, then New York could win even more games.
Hi-res-153174830_crop_exact Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Another player to highlight is Tejada. The light-hitting Ruben Tejada had the hardest job on the team last year in replacing Jose Reyes. While Tejada will never be Reyes, he still has to come into his own and start producing in order to keep his job.

His Spring Training will not quell concerns about his future with the team. He hit .100 (4-for-40) this spring, and according to his player profile on ESPN, if his struggles continue into the season, the likes of Omar Quintanilla and Brandon Hicks could see some playing time at short stop.

Let's hope it was just Spring Training, and Tejada comes out on fire when it counts. Tejada needs to see improvement in the RBI department (25 last year), and BB-to-K ratio. Last year he had a 1-3 BB-to-K ratio. He needs to become a more patient hitter, especially if Terry Collins plans on having him lead-off as many have projected in their 2013 MLB previews.

Finally, the last player to mention is Bobby Parnell.

Parnell is expected to become the Mets' full-time closer this season, which could be scary if you look at Parnell's career in the ninth inning. In 31 save opportunities, Parnell has blown 17 of them. It seems that whenever given the chance, he starts to overthrow his pitches and fails to locate properly.
The word potential is still listed next to his name, mainly because Parnell can throw in the mid to high 90s, and has developed a two-seam fastball and curve-ball to go with repertoire.

Bottom line: We need to see Parnell actually go out there and develop that "Game Over" mentality that seems blocked whenever he's on the mound in a crucial situation. Parnell had a good spring. Now he has to make the transition to the real deal.

My dark-horse player to watch this year is Jordany Valdespin.

No disrespect to Cowgill, who looks like the real deal after his torrid Spring Training, but at least we have seen Valdespin's raw talent on the big stage of the regular season.

Cowgill was regulated to bench duty in Oakland last year, because they already had Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick. He will finally get that chance to start in center field, since Kirk Nieuwenhuis has missed three weeks with a bone bruise on his knee. He might be great, then again, he might be a case of Spring Training Gone Wild.

Valdespin, however, has a chance to be an impact player for the Mets this year. Last season, he developed a knack for clutch home runs late in games, but his impatience at the plate prevented him from being anything more than a bench player.

He has become more disciplined at the plate this spring, hitting .322 with four homers, nine RBI and a couple of walks to five strikeouts. While it is a very small sample, Valdespin reminds me a little bit of a young Jose Reyes.

Why?

When Reyes came up, the biggest issue with him was plate discipline. In his first 122 games (2003 and 2004 combined) he drew only 18 walks to 67 strikeouts. In his first full season, he had a .300 OBP. Yet, we all knew how valuable and good Reyes was. He had power, produced runs and stole bases.
Hi-res-152051638_crop_exact
Valdespin is very similar. He had 10 walks, 10 stolen bases, eight homers and a triple in his first season with the Mets. If given the chance, and if he does become more discipline, Valdespin could produce 20 plus steals, and double-digit homers and triples.
As most Mets fans, I hate the word "potential."

In New York it is very difficult to field a team with guys who are mostly minor leaguers, and probably, over the long term won't be here. I want to see this team win and win right away. But, the 2013 Mets have plenty of issues from lack of lineup depth, to concerns about the health of their rotation (Johan Santana and Shawn Marcum).

If the Mets want to get their fans to truly believe, then the guys who comprise this roster better step it up a notch and make the case that the 2013 season was the beginning of the Mets' turnaround, and not another year lost in the land of Wilponville.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yankees make deal for Vernon Wells

In desperate need for a bat before opening day, the New York Yankees have swung a deal with the Los Angeles Angels for outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells, 34, is another aging player added to a Yankees roster full of aging and breaking down players.

In a way, the Angels trade of Wells is a throw away. He has been producing poorly the last two seasons, and has not lived up to the enormous seven year $126 million contract he has with LA. Currently this is the sixth year of the deal, and the Angels are expected to pick up a big chunk of the remaining contract.

While Wells is coming on the cheap for the Yankees, the fact that the Bronx Bombers are adding him is another example of how desperate this franchise has become for any offensive player who can produce. It is also a condemnation of the Yankees minor league system which is bereft of major league ready talent. Those involved with the Yankees, continue to say that the Yankees have solid kids on the farm who are coming up the system, but most of them are years away.

Such is the sacrifice a team makes when they spent a better part of the last decade spending big money on big name players.

The Yankees will already be without Derek Jeter on Opening Day, who is still recovering from the ankle injury that keeps barking. Mark Tiexiera and Curtis Granderson are out 10 weeks, and Alex Rodriguez is likely lost for the season.

They added Brendon Bosch a week ago, and have been auditioning Ben Francisco in the outfield to take Granderson's place. Meanwhile, Travis Hafner, Dan Johnson and Juan Rivera have been auditioning for first base. None of these guys will make it happen. Anyone expecting Wells to fill the void admirably better check the stats sheet. 

While Wells will hit homers in Yankees Stadium, he will suffer the same fate that Juan Rivera, and Travis Hafner are likely to face this year as well; they will not produce consistently enough.

Wells productivity dropped significantly the past two seasons. He hit a combined .222 with 18 homers and 48 RBI in 2011-12, and missed 116 games due to injury. This is not the same player who was an All Star in Toronto; that guy disappeared years ago.

Wells is the same kind of player the Yankees have been adding over the years, a big name who has nothing left. Unfortunately for New York this is another desperate move by a front office not used to making desperate moves -- the Yankees can sense the division, which had been theirs for so many years starting to slip away as Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa continue to get younger and improve.

So enjoy the occasional homer by Mr. Wells, but don't expect him to be a clutch performer for the Bombers this season. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Santana placed on DL to start season

No surprise here, Johan Santana will begin his 2013 season on the shelf.

The Mets ace hasn't thrown a bullpen session since March 3, is struggling to return from his latest injury, imflamation in his back, which he suffered last summer, and as a result will start the season on the disabled list.

Santana was never the same after a 136 pitch performance in a no-hitter on June 2, the first in Mets history. After that no-no, Santana struggled the rest of the way until the injury was disclosed. Manager Terry Collins, even blamed himself at the time for the injury, because he let Santana throw so many pitches.

Collins wouldn't call Santana's DL stint a set back in his return:  "It's hard to say it was a setback," Collins said. "I just think he wanted to prove his arm was OK, that his arm was healthy. Now we need to get him ready to pitch. I told him, `I don't care about yesterday, I care about now. We've got to move forward here. What happened six weeks ago has absolutely no bearing on what we need to do moving forward."

It is not surprising that Santana will start the years on the shelf. Not only has he not lifted a baseball this season, he has watched the Mets' younger pitchers step it up. Jon Niese will get the nod on Opening Day, April 1 against the San Diego Padres. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey is having a big camp and is making a case to be the future ace of this franchise moving forward.

For Santana and the Mets, the former Cy Young winner needs to get back onto the mound. This is the final year of Santana's contract, and the lefty needs to prove that he is back to form if the Mets are able to trade him for prospects come July.

This season provides plenty of incentives for Santana if he wants to end up on a winner come August and September he is going to have to get back as soon as he can. If Santana can come back from this DL stint and win 8 or 9 games and look good doing it, he can find himself in a pennant race.

While the Mets and Santana are ready to part ways, they need each other for the interim.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rangers beat Devils, jump up to 8th seed in East

RANGERS 3
DEVILS 2

In a battle of the Tri-State area's inconsistent hockey teams, the Rangers found a way to hold off the New Jersey Devils in Newark on Tuesday, 3-2. After some recent struggles, the Rangers have now won two in a row, and have leapfrogged the Devils for the last playoff spot in the Eastern conference.

While there is still a lot of games to play before the postseason, the fact that New York finally has the edge on New Jersey is big news.

The Blue Shirts got big nights from Michael Del Zotto (three shots on goal), who scored the games first goal of the game, and Carl Haglin (five shots on goal), who scored his eighth goal of the season on an assist from Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan to give New York a 2-1 lead in the first period.

The Devils answered each of the Rangers first period goals. Travis Zajac tied it at one on a power-play with six minutes to play in the period. Finally, Anton Volchenkov scored his first goal of the season, tying the game at two, just second after Haglin's netter.

The Rangers took the lead for good when Rick Nash netted his 10th goal of the year a little more than midway through the second period.

Henrik Lundqvist had 29 saves on the night for the Rangers, while back-up goalie Johan Hedberg struggled on the night, recording only 19 saves on 22 shots on goal.

The Rangers (15-12-2) are tied with the Devils (13-11-6) with 32 points, but because of head-to-head, New York has the advantage for now for the eighth seed.


Tim Tebow Not Free of Jets' Nightmare Yet

If John Idzik and Rex Ryan stay true to their word, the nightmare for Tim Tebow will continue into mini-camp.

Unable to find a suitor for the dilapidated back-up quarterback, whose career the Jets single-handily destroyed this past season by riding him on the bench and on special teams, could be back next season.

That's right, Tebow Time is set to continue for Year 2.

The Jets are still looking for someone to acquire Tebow for a sixth or seventh round pick, but the likelihood that the Jets will find someone who wants Tebow is highly unlikely. Thus, New York will be forced to release him at some point. Already, the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League said they would sign Tebow if released.

However, Rex Ryan said that Tebow should make plans of contributing to Jets practice this May, when mini-camp opens up. Ryan even said that Tebow will compete for the starting job, as if he hasn't heard that before.

Tebow is now fourth on the depth chart behind Sanchez, oft-injured veteran David Garrard, and Greg McElroy. Tebow never got the chance to start a game for the Jets, because of Ryan's weird devotion to Sanchez, the "golden boy" he drafted back in 2009. While Sanchez stunk it up on the field, Ryan never budged when the calls to put Tebow in the game grew louder each week.

Oddly enough before the Jets contest against Arizona, the Jets deactivated Tebow, and inserted McElroy under center after Sanchez made the Cardinals defense look like the '85 Bears. A clear sign the Jets never believed in Tebow, even though owner Woody Johnson wanted him.

Johnson has stated recently that it was not he who wanted Tebow, but ex-GM Mike Tannenbaum. Whatever you say Woody. Who was that who said Tebow would be a Jet for three-years? Oh wait it was Woody Johnson.

One has to feel for Tebow. The guy is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and his career is going down in flames thanks to the Jets. The sooner he gets out of town, and can go somewhere else, the better off he'll be. But, the Jets don't seem willing to let him go. Maybe the Jets are paranoid about the idea that Tebow would end up in New England and become a superstar again? With the Jets anything is possible.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dustin Keller Leaves Jets, Signs with Dolphins

Another Jet bites the dust!

Dustin Keller has signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, ending his tenure with the Jets.

Keller, who spent much of last season injured, joins a Dolphins team that is looking to make a big leap forward in 2013. Miami already signed linebacker Darnell Ellerby and wide receiver Mike Wallace this week. While, they still have to prove it on the field, the Dolphins are winning the off-season right now.

Keller leaves a Jets team that is in total disarray from the front office all the way down to the quarterback situation. The Jets are now considering bringing in Kevin Kolb in to battle Mark Sanchez, and David Garrard for the starting job.

Keller had a solid career in New York, hauling in 241 receptions for 2,876 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was Sanchez's favorite target before the quarterback went backwards both physiologically and physically on the football field.

Now Keller gets to catch passes from a much more solid quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

Open Mike 3-13-13 NFL Free Agent Frenzy

In the first hour of the Open Mike program from March 13, 2013, host Michael Cohen welcomes in the "voice" of MTRradio.com, Mike Sanfilippo to help breakdown the latest news coming out of the NFL as free agency heats up!

In the second hour, Michael goes head to head with Mr. Sanfilippo in a battle of the Mets' fans. Did David Wright throw the Wilpon's under the bus with his comments following a 5 RBI performance in the WBC? Will the Mets ever spend money to help him out? Michael also welcomes Karen Vankat to discuss the latest with the Yankees.

To listen to the show, click on the link to NJNYSports.com!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Take that Brady & Belichick: Welker signs with Broncos

Here is some news that is sure to make a lot of Jets' fans smile: Wes Welker is leaving the Patriots to play with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

In the most shocking twist of free agency, the long time Patriots wide receiver is taking his 100 plus receptions a year to Denver, making the Broncos the odds on favorites to play in East Rutherford in February for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Welker inked a two-year $12 million deal with the Broncos, a contract offer that, apparently, Welker took back to New England and asked them to match. They never did.

The fact that the Patriots were not willing to match a two-year deal to keep Tom Brady's favorite target speaks volumes about how coach Bill Belichick burns ties and bridges with people who help him to the top. Just ask the Jets about how Belichick burns bridges.

Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady was plenty PO'ed that the Patriots front office didn't keep his favorite target. He should be. Welker caught 561 passes from Brady during their six-year stint together, including an additional 69 receptions in the playoffs.

It is fair to say that maybe the Patriots grew tired of Welker after he failed to come up with a key third down reception in Super Bowl XLVI that gave the ball back to the Giants with time to drive and win the game. Welker had a similar drop in the AFC title game this season that seemed to turn the fortunes in favor of the Ravens.

Now in Denver, Welker will join a receiving corps that has Eric Decker, Demarious Thomas, and Brandon Stockley. He will likely take a lot of targets away from Stockley this season, but no matter, with Peyton Manning dishing out the football the Broncos offense will be very hard to stop this season.

As for the Patriots, they settled for oft-injured wide receiver Danny Amendola to a insane five-year $31 million contract. Amendola, while his is a slot receiver who can put up big numbers, he never stays healthy.

In 2011 he dislocated his left elbow, and, later tore his tricep muscle and never saw the field that year. Last season he missed five games after injuring his collar bone. He is brittle, and will be a big risk on plays that were natural for Welker. 

In short, the entire AFC is laughing at the New England Patriots. 

Jets Lose Greene, Bell and Landry to Free Agency

What once looked like an off-season bent on retooling a broken team, is now a total rebuilding project for the New York Jets.

The Jets lost three more players to free agency on Wednesday, making GM John Idzik's job that much harder as he tries to piece together a football team in his first year as general manager.

The Jets watched Mike D'Vito sign with Kansas City earlier this week, a loss that the Jets won't regret. D'Vito, while he was a nice clubhouse guy was not a great defensive tackle, and a bit undersized for the position. The Jets can replace his. New York then watched running back Shonn Greene bolt for the Tennessee Titans.

Like D'Vito, Greene will not be missed. Greene had an underwhelming career in green and white. Even though he ran for 1000 yards in each of the last two seasons, watching Greene was like watching someone try to run through cement. He was awful; only averaged 3.9 yards a carry in those two years, and his longest run was 36 yards. That's it. He never truly developed into the breakout back who lit up the playoffs back in 2009. Greene will now be a career back-up running back behind Chris Johnson in Tennessee.

However the bigger lumps for the Jets this week has to be losing their two safeties, Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry. A year ago, the Jets were desperate for safety help and acquired Bell from Miami and Landry from Washington. Both players had a big hand in keeping the Jets secondary one of the best in the NFL, even with Darrelle Revis on the shelf. Both players will be missed -- and New York will be hard pressed to find players as good as them in both free agency and the draft.

Losing Bell, who signed with the Cardinals, and Landry, who went to the Colts, should change minds in the Jets front office about dealing Revis. The Jets are in serious talks with the Buccaneers about dealing the corner. If New York gets rid of Revis, they will have lost 3/4 of their starting secondary. That is totally abysmal, and absolutely ridiculous.

 The Jets are now $15 million under the cap with the losses they have already taken in free agency; if the Jets are smart, they take that as a chance to give Revis what he wants, and pay the man! If the Jets are without Revis next year, this team will be a total disaster, and could be the worst in the NFL.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Buccaneers emerge as favorites for Revis

A new leader has emerged in the Darrelle Revis sweepstakes, and they are ready to pirate the Jets of their best player. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have over $30 million in cap space for 2013, are the new favorite to land the Jets corner.

The Bucs make some sense. Revis' former coach at Pittsburgh University, Dave Wannnstedt is back in the NFL as the Bucs' special teams coach, and Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik has had success in the past working with Revis' agent representatives.

That is huge, because whomever acquires Revis will most likely want to complete a sign and trade with the Jets. Nobody wants to trade away a first and/or second round draft pick for a player who will leave to sign elsewhere. The Bucs will need an assurance from the Revis camp that he wants to play in central Florida for the next seven years.

This won't be so easy to pull off. Revis is coming off an ACL injury that cost him the final 13 games of the season, and there is a plethora of free agent cornerbacks - meaning that the Bucs, or any suitor, could save their draft picks and money, and sign a cheaper corner.

The fact that the Jets are still aiming to trade Revis inspite of saying they are thinking of keeping him to their season ticket holders speaks volumes about how the Jets front office thinks its own fanbase is stupid. The Jets are making a big mistake getting rid of the best player on this team, and they are going to regret with an empty stadium next season.

In other news: former Jet Mike D'Viton signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, he is no great loss. The Giants lost Martellous Bennet to the Bears, but re-signed cornerback Aaron Ross.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Giants gearing up to possibly lose Victor Cruz

The New York Giants feel they made a substantial offer to keep Victor Cruz in blue for life, but there is a chance that the Giants could still lose their speedy wide receiver on the market this off-season.

The Giants put a first round tender on Cruz, meaning he will be a restricted free agent, and can make $2.9 million this season if he doesn't come to terms on a long term deal with the Giants.

Teams now have the right to negotiate with Cruz and give him the contract that he wants. If the Giants do not match, Cruz will be in a different uniform come training camp 2013. Co-owner John Mara was calm about the idea of possibly losing one of his best players: "Certainly we’re taking a risk,’’ Mara said. “He is an exciting, dynamic player. It’s not going to shock me if somebody makes him an offer.”

The Giants have two things going for them: 1) Cruz changed his agent to Tom Condon, the same agent for Eli Manning and Mathias Kiwanuka. Condon is a deal maker, and has a solid rapport with Big Blue. 2) It has been nearly a decade since a restricted free agent has been lost to an offer sheet.

Still Cruz is a unique case. There are a lot of people who would be happy to go out there and swing a deal to bring a talent like Cruz into the fold. Cruz was third in the NFL in receiving in 2011, and 15th in 2012. He is still 26, and hasn't even hit his prime. Someone will play $10 million per season for a talent like him.

The question is can the Giants afford him? They let Chris Canty and Ahmad Bradshaw go in salary cap dumps, and more moves could be made. They already signed aging defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to a three-year deal, a contract that I guarantee the Giants will regret after year one of the deal.

Cruz is a guy the Giants can ill afford to lose. He is Manning's favorite target, and his ability to stretch the field is something this team didn't really have before he arrived on the scene as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Plus, Cruz is a local kid, a Paterson NJ product, and an fresh ambassador to the game (he's already appeared a few times on Campbell Soup commercials). If he stays in New York, he could become an even bigger star.

 The Giants know this. Cruz knows this. Now they have to come together and get a deal done.

Jets ink ex-Jaguar David Garrard to compete with Mark Sanchez

Well the Jets have a new quarterback to compete with Mark Sanchez, and no, he not one that is going to get fans pumped up for the 2013 season.

Late Monday the Jets agreed to terms on a contract with former Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback David Garrard. Garrard, 35, who has not played in an NFL game since 2010, has battled injuries in recent years. Last season he was in line to be the Dolphins opening day starter before a knee injury ended his season in training camp.

The Jets are banking that going with cheaper quarterbacks will pay big dividends. So forget about New York going after Seattle quarterback Matt Flynn, it will not happen; not with Mark Sanchez still set to make $8.25 million this year.

The Jets are still considering bringing in Brady Quinn as well to the mix, according to the reports. Tim Tebow is still a member of Gang Green, but the Jets are likely to release him in the next couple weeks.

Clearly the signing of Garrard means that Sanchez will remain the starter for the Jets this season, which is not exactly a good thing for Gang Green. Sanchez has proven to be nothing more than a mediocre quarterback at best; and most of the time he is just plain awful at that.

Rex Ryan, John Idzik and company are hitching their wagons to Sanchez for at least one more go-round. If he fails, the Jets can release him in exactly one year without a significant salary cap hit. 

Garrard is a total wild card. He hasn't played in two years, and who is to say that he has fully recovered from the knee problems that have plagued his career of late. He is not an answer, not at the age of 35. He will be a back-up and nothing more. Maybe he makes a cameo here and there. Maybe if Sanchez is brutal once again, and if Ryan doesn't opt to go to Greg McElory, maybe Garrard could see a start or two.

Either way, it is shaping up to be a total rebuilding year for New York, as they are still content with the idea of trading Darrelle Revis, and because of their salary cap constraints, the Jets will not be a major player in the free agent market this month. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Knicks drop heartbreaker to Thunder

THUNDER 95
KNICKS 94

This will go down as a game that the New York Knicks should have won. Forget about moral victories, because after three quarters of play, the Knicks had the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team considered the second best team in the NBA behind the Miami Heat, on the brink.

After an inspiring third quarter that saw New York scratch and claw its way to a lead, thanks to big time shooting by J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks held an 81-75 lead. They had out played the Thunder; they had kept Kevin Durant somewhat silent through three quarters, and played with a brand of physical play on defense that we haven't seen in a long time.

But, as has been the case for much of this season, the Knicks were a one quarter wonder. Like their second quarter against the Heat that proved to be a footnote in a 99-93 defeat, the Thunder rolled over the Knicks in the fourth thanks in part to the fact that New York couldn't shoot worth a damn.

The Knicks managed only four points in the first 6:02 of the fourth quarter, yet still found themselves with a chance to pull the game out, down only 87-85. New York missed eight open shots in the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter, while the Thunder did just enough to take the lead thanks to a handful of baskets by Durant, and a three by Reggie Jackson.

But it wasn't like the Thunder were running away with this game. They were missing their shots, and still struggled against the Knicks pressure. The problem was that when the Knicks needed baskets to fall they couldn't get them. If New York had nailed even two or three of these shots, they would have won going away.

Smith, who led both teams with 36 points, was the biggest culprit in the fourth. He went 2-for-9 in the fourth quarter, while his teammates, Jason Kidd, and Raymond Felton couldn't even hold on to the basketball.

Yet, here were the Knicks, after forcing a bad shot by Durant with a chance to win the game, down by only one point, with :07.9 ticks left on the clock. For whatever reason, coach Mike Woodsen decided to leave the ball in the hands of his coldest player, Smith, even though he had Stoudemire and Steve Novak on the floor. Smith, in Carmelo Anthony fashion, hogged the ball in the final seconds, and took an off-balance shot that was practically impossible to make, and watched the ball hit the back of the board and roll off.

What if Smith had passed the ball to Stoudemire or Novak? What if he decided to flip to Jason Kidd when he was near him? So many questions that will remain unanswered. But, the fact remains this was a gold opportunity for the Knicks to beat one of the NBA's elite on a national stage, and they came up snake eyes. Instead New York once again teased their fans with a moment of brilliance, followed by another moment of pure ineptitude that makes it harder and harder to believe this team can advance even past the first round of the playoffs. Shame on them.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Exit Sandman: Mariano Rivera to retire after 2013

2013 is already shaping up into a transition year for the Yankees, and if the Bronx Bombers need a bigger symbol for that transition, this will be the last season for legendary closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera, who is best known for his trademark entrance at Yankee Stadium, as he is for his incredible cool in the games toughest moment, the ninth inning, will call it quits after the season.

Rivera hinted this could be it a couple of weeks ago in an interview with WFAN's Sweeney Murti, telling the Yankees beat reporter that he would let everyone know soon about his future, and, that he felt blessed to be back on the field for another season.

Rivera will exit baseball as the games greatest closer in baseball history. He enters the 2013 season with 608 saves, and if he can reclaim some of that ole' magic for one more season, he will more than pad those credentials. He is also the best postseason closer in the game, with 42 saves, which is nine more than the next two guys on that list combined.

He will go down as one of the all time greats, and will be the last player not named Jackie Robinson, to have the number 42 retired. Rivera is vastly credited as being a part of the core that won five World Series championships since 1996. The others being Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams. Williams and Posada are retired, Pettitte retired twice before returning; he will pitch again this year. Jeter is trying to come back from a horrific leg injury he suffered in the ALCS last year.

Of all the great Yankees to come through the Bronx the past 17 years, it was Rivera who was the constant; a man who seemed like so much more who stood as an indestructible wall between a win and loss for each Yankee opponent. Whenever the Metallica song, "Enter Sandman," rang through the cannons of the House that Ruth Built, and later, in the House that Jeter and Rivera Built, you knew one thing: Game Over!

It is easy to forget that Rivera began his Yankees journey as a starter for Buck Showalter's Bombers in 1995, the year that many consider was the beginning of the Yankees dynasty. He eventually moved to the bullpen in 1996, as a set up man for John Wettland, and by 1997 took over as the full time closer; a job he has held ever since.

It is sure to be an emotional year for Rivera and the Yankees. With a team that is not certain for any postseason this season, every moment Rivera trots out of that Yankees bullpen will be a moment to cherish; it's not often we get to see living legends perform at the top of their game for one more ride.

Open Mike 03-06-13, Yankees Lose Tex for 10 weeks

In the first hour of the Open Mike Program from March 6, 2013, host Michael Cohen analyzes the recent inconsistencies of the New York Knicks basketball team. Can this team really compete in the East, or are they a paper tiger? Michael welcomes in Dovid Dobin to discuss.

In the second hour, Michael welcomes in Dan Feuerstein of Triple Coverage and Feuerstein's Fire to discuss the hit the Yankees will take after losing Mark Teixeira for 10 weeks. The boys then have a bone to pick with a certain website that claims Robbie Cano and Curtis Granderson took steroids.

Listen to Hour One

Listen to Hour Two 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

49ers deny interest in acquiring Revis

For a few weeks it has been assumed that the San Francisco 49ers would be suitors for Jets All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis; however published reports have now surfaced stating that San Francisco is indeed NOT interested in acquiring the corner.

"The 49ers' interest in Revis is ".001 on a scale of 1-10," the source said via text message. That remains consistent with the same team source who previously stated the 49ers were not inclined to pursue a Revis trade" (ESPN).

This is a huge contradiction from a report by the Daily News that cited the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons as likely destinations for Revis.

The reservations for the Niners are obvious. They will own as many as 15 draft picks in this years draft, once their trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for Alex Smith is approved by the league next week.

The 49ers would likely have to cough up as many as 3 draft picks to the Jets, and many have speculated New York would want the Niners first round and second pick in his years draft, (31st and 34th overall).

That might be too much to give up for a player, whom will be a free agent at the end of the season.

If the 49ers were to acquire Revis, logic dictates that they would ask for a sign and trade; meaning they would acquire Revis IF and only IF he were to sign a long term extension with them.

There is no indication that Revis would wave being a free agent in order to sign a long term deal with San Fran. He is already having a difficult time getting the Jets to give him a deal.

Plus he is coming off a season where he missed most of the season with an ACL tear.

Therefore the Jets, if they are so intent on trading Revis, will have to look elsewhere.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles have also been rumored, but again, will Revis wave his free agency and sign a long term deal with any of these teams.

Does Revis even want to play in these cities, since he likes New York?

The Jets have to make a decision. The best case scenario is Revis resigns with the Jets, and this discussion comes to a halt.

The worst case is the Jets never resign Revis, and he goes free agent and ends up with the Giants or Patriots in 2014.  

Yankees lose Teixeira for 10 weeks with wrist injury

An already shaky start to the Yankees season is starting to develop this very disturbing trend: injuries.

Mark Teixeira is the latest in a long line of Bronx Bombers who have hit the DL this spring, after the first baseman was diagnosed with an ECU tendon strain in his right wrist that will sideline him for the next 10 weeks.

Teixeira hurt the wrist while batting off a tee during a practice for the World Baseball Classic in Arizona. The Yankees practice in Florida, so Tex was 3,000 miles away from his real team when the injury occurred.

The injury will likely bring into question, once again, the legitimacy of the WBC, which is in its third installment since 2006. Like 2006 and 2009, all 30 major league teams reported to camp early, and required their players to get into shape a lot quicker because the classic would take two to three weeks out of spring training for players who decided to participate in it.

While it is fair to say that this injury could have easily happened in spring training at the Yankees facility, the fact that it happened in Arizona, just days after Teixeira left the team to join "team USA" for the WBC is another reason why this exhibition needs to be moved out of Spring Training, if not canceled all together.

The WBC does nothing to contribute to the baseball season; it is another opportunity for players to overexert themselves in what amounts to meaningless games, and risk injury.

Eventually the WBC was going to ruin a teams season, and right now it has taken Teixeira away from the Yankees for 10 weeks. They will now be without him until late May. The Yankees are already without Curtis Granderson, who is out 10 weeks with a forearm injury. Alex Rodriguez is done for the season, and Derek Jeter has yet to play a preseason game.

So now, the Yankees have to go out and try to find help. It won't be easy, because teams will ask for a lot in return, and the season hasn't even started yet. It is easy to point out Kansas City, Minnesota, and Colorado as possible trade partners for the likes of Billy Butler, Justin Morneau or Michael Cuddyer; but these teams can't assume that they are going to lose 90 plus games at this point in the season, and wave a white flag just to help the Yankees.

2013 is starting to feel like a grind for the Bronx Bombers, something they have not felt in a long, long time.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Second half meltdown dooms Knicks against Heat

HEAT 99
KNICKS 93

For one quarter the New York Knicks looked unstoppable. For one quarter, the Knicks actually played sound defense, handled the ball crisply on the offensive end, and watched veteran Jason Kidd reclaim that old pizazz that helped New York get off to a sizzling 18-5 start this season.

One quarter, doesn't make up for the rest of this game, and it doesn't make up for the Knicks' season of late, as costly turnovers, terrible shooting, and daggers by LeBron James killed New York's chances against the Miami Heat at the Garden on Sunday.

The Knicks had a lead as many as 16 points in this game, thanks that explosive second quarter. After New York struggled behind the arch in the first quarter, they turned it on like a light switch; and they shut it down just the same later on.

Jason kidd provided the early jolt for the Knicks; he connected on three consecutive three-pointers to help build a 39-34 advantage for the Knicks, and with the veteran waking up from his two month slump, it appeared New York would be on its way.

New York was feeling it. Miami started to make their mistakes; a bad pass by Dwayne Wade, an errant shot by Mario Chalmers, and a quiet LeBron. That set the stage for another Kidd three-pointer at the top of the arch to make 42-37.

Soon the other Knicks followed suit. Carmelo Anthony hit a couple jumpers, Tyson Chandler hit a couple shots and J.R. Smith hit an open 24-foot jumper as the Knicks built their lead to double digits.

When it mattered the most in the second half, the Knicks defense disappeared, and their offensive play was ... well ... offensive. Through the first eight minutes of the third quarter the Knicks only had four points, and missed nine shots. Raymond Felton and J.R. were the biggest culprits. Felton missed two easy layups, and Smith rushed a couple of three pointers where bounced off the rim.

The Heat pulled within four, 63-59, before Carmelo Anthony stole a pass and scored on the turnover, and Smith hit his last three of the day to build the lead back to 70-59; but that was the final time the Garden would go nuts.

Instead the game turned into the LeBron James and Dwayne Wade show as the duo brought the Heat back to within 77-68, before Shane Battier brought Miami all the way back with a huge three-pointer o cut the Knicks lead to four.

After Battier's clutch shot, James played an entire fourth quarter with the kind of killer instinct we have only seen from Knicks' opponents of the past, a la Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan. James was unstoppable in the fourth. He nailed back-to-back three's to tie the game at 79.

After Battier gave the Heat a slim 82-81 lead, James nailed two clutch layup's on his own rebounds late in the quarter to give Miami a 95-91 lead.

The Knicks went into a total panic offensively. Smith started missing three pointers every time he touched the ball for New York, and the Knicks started to turn the ball over at a rapid pace. Nowhere was Kidd or Anthony to be seen.

The Knicks did have a chance to do something, down 97-92, but for some reason New York never put the ball into the hands of either Kidd or Anthony. Instead it was Felton and Smith who touched the ball and both of them turned it over in the final minute killing the Knicks hopes. 

Why didn't Kidd or Anthony touch the ball at the end of the game?

Who knows, but this is an example of what has plagued this team all season -- no structure. Nobody seems to know when they are supposed to touch the ball. The Knicks made a zillion mistakes in this game because they couldn't figure out whom to get the ball to; when they had guys open, they never touched the ball either. While some will point to the fact that the Knicks gave the Heat all they could handle, this was a game, if better executed on both ends of the floor New York could have easily won.