CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
M.A.S.H., Big Apple Division
Normal 0NEW YORK (BASN) — You can call it “Carmelo-ized” or just the attrition of the NBA season, but the Knicks have been playing so-so ball at best for the past couple of weeks now.
Prominent scoring swingman Wilson Chandler seems to have been besieged with the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors as he’s been in slump of late. And his shooting woes couldn’t have come at a worse time if you’re the Knicks because that’s not helping his trade value.
Also Chandler’s left calf has been bothering him (he’s been wearing a protective sleeve on it after games in addition to band that he plays with) so that’s having a major effect on his lift on his jump-shot and his explosiveness around the basket.
That is probably one reason why he’s been missing so many easy buckets around the rim.
Coach Mike D’Antoni suggested that we “ask Wilson how he’s feeling,” but we all know the Chandler doesn’t talk much and he offered that he wasn’t bothered by the trade rumors and sullenly said “I just missed some shots that’s all.
Danilo Gallinari is another of the walking wounded that has missed time. Fortunately the Knicks still had a winning record without him, but he was still sorely missed.
The attrition part may come from Coach D’Antoni’s lack of a bench.
He has talent in Toney Douglas, Bill Walker and super find, Shawne Williams, although he will miss a game due to his fight with Atlanta Hawk, Marvin Williams (no said relation).
He also has Ronny Turiaf starting and not starting, depending.
Either way, the Knick need more troops. The signing of combo guard, Roger Mason Jr. hasn’t answered solved any problems the Knicks have in the backcourt because his shot has gone south for the winter.
Also the confidence of young forward Anthony Randolph seems to have taken a nosedive. He may be forced into action now the Chandler is gimpy and Williams is out for a suspension.
There was a bright spot in the midst of losing and bruising as the Knicks finally beat the much hated LeBron James and Dwayne Wade led Miami Heat, 93-88.
It was a game that didn’t lack for playoff intensity as the Garden rocked from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Stoudemire was his usual stud-like with 24 points.
Gallo came on late and 20 points, but the real star of stars for the night was rookie Landry Fields who continues to make the Knicks scouting department look like geniuses.
Fields played 40 minutes and had 19 points along with 13 rebounds.
Sure, Wade outscored him with 34 points (missed 7 shots in the fourth quarter after making 13 straight shots through the previous quarters) and out rebounded him with 16, but his team lost.
Coach D’Antoni said of Fields, “in every facet of the game…he’s just that great. He just keeps coming at you. He’s a pretty good player and he fills up those stats. He does everything right…”
The scare of the season however may have come in the Hawk game in the third quarter when Knick villain Marvin Williams fell and rolled into Stoudemire’s right leg.
He’s not expected to miss any time but you have to wonder if Stoudemire’s playing so much at the center spot will take its toll down the stretch. That’s of course if Anthony isn’t donning a Knicks uniform in the near future.
Stoudemire, who is still second in the League in scoring 26.1 PPG, was voted as a starter for the All-Star game in Los Angeles. He’ll be the first Knicks starter since Patrick Ewing in 1992. Point guard Ray Felton still has an outside chance but his recent slump due to tired legs and a bad wrist may have paved the way for Boston Celtic Ray Allen to overtake him in the coaches’ eyes. They get to pick the All-Star reserves.