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Props Slaps
 5 years ago '04        #8541
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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since Amar'e is expected to make his return Friday and i heard from at least one dude on here on how they should bring him back, just thught i'd ask the rest of yous

should he start or come off the bench (for at least the rest of the reg. season)
 5 years ago '04        #8542
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Cornroll Wallace a.ss n*gga
[pic - click to view]

 5 years ago '04        #8543
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Clyde Frazier

"Melo is balling !! Knicks with the knack, can't wait for Stat to come back!!"

that's my Dipset rapper
 5 years ago '04        #8544
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Based Hahn

When he merely rises from the bench and pulls off his warmup shirt, The Garden crowd begins to stir. When he simply catches the ball, the people urge him to shoot.

When it goes in, it is like a religious experience.

So the eight from downtown that he drained (on 10 attempts) against the Celtics in a 118-110 win on Tuesday night -- including a pair of clutch bombs that served as daggers late in the game as Boston was making a push -- had The Garden delirious on a night the Knicks hit 19 three-pointers.

"He is the best three-point shooter in our league, it's not even close," said J.R. Smith, who, himself, had seven and also seems to always know where Novak is on the floor. "People are starting to catch on to it, but not fast enough."

Smith is right. The NBA is now well-aware of the sharp-shooting prowess (and the "Discount Triple-Check" celebration) of a player that was starting to fade from existence five seasons into his career. Novak's emergence as one of the league's most dangerous shooters -- he currently leads the league in three-point shooting percentage (47.2 percent) -- has put him high on advance scouting reports.

The next step for him to make as he attempts to establish this season not as a fluke but a breakthrough is the ability to run off screens and like the game's top snipers do. Mike Woodson has inserted a few plays for Novak and we saw a few run very effectively against the Celtics.

"He had a lot of great looks and he knocked them down," Woodson said. "As we continue to flow and go along, those shots will become tougher because teams, they watch tape and they're not going to leave. So we've got to find ways to get him some looks."

The Heat, for one, stayed glued to Novak throughout Sunday's game and he struggled to get free. The Bulls did the same. Considering that these are the two most likely potential first round opponents for the Knicks, Woodson definitely has to create movement to help free up Novak.

And while his three-ball is what has everyone smitten, Novak is working hard to dispel the cynicism about other areas of his game, including defense. Coincidentally, Woodson is admittedly not a big fan of the three-pointer, but with a weapon like Novak, how could he not utilize him. But Novak can't stay on the court, especially in critical moments, if he is a liability on defense.

It's obvious teams will attack him on offense, so, to his credit (and Woodson's demand) he has put more focus on preparation on that end of the floor. And despite physical mismatches -- he was caught one-on-one with LeBron James and Paul Pierce several times in the last two games -- he has been determined to compete. Against Boston, Novak banged in the low post with the powerful Brandon Bass and came out of it no worse for the wear.

But there's no question this one-dimensional player has a hell of a dimension: shooting. And he has a chance to leave his mark in the Knicks annals with the greatest three-point shooting season in franchise history. Hubert Davis currently holds the all-time highest three-point shooting percentage for a season with 47.6 percent in 1995-96. Novak is right on his tail with five games to go.

He also has a chance to be the first Knick since Campy Russell in 1981-82 to lead the NBA in three-point shooting percentage.

As for threes made, he's far off the franchise season mark, but considering the compressed schedule and his late arrival to the rotation, he's not that far. Novak has 117 three-pointers made in 49 games, which is 2.4 per game and 100 shy of the franchise record for a season. John Starks had 217 in 80 games (2.7 per game) in the 1994-95 season. Consider that Starks played 34.1 minutes per game that season, while Novak has played a little more than half of that: 18.2 minutes per game this season.

OK, so now that we agree that Novak is a keeper, how do the Knicks keep him?

Novak was picked up on waivers from the San Antonio Spurs in December, who had signed him to a pair of 10-day contracts before he was locked up for the rest of the season in 2010-11 and, as a result, given a second year for 2011-12.

The Knicks don't have any Bird Rights on Novak, so he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. They will be over the NBA salary cap, so the only way to re-sign Novak -- with the understanding that his market value will no longer be as a veteran's minimum player -- is to dip into their two resources: the mid-level exception ($5 million) and, as long as the Knicks are below the luxury tax threshold, the bi-annual exception ($1.9 million).

Now, the Knicks will probably need most of their MLE to re-sign Jeremy Lin, but how much of it depends on what the market demands for the restricted free agent (the Knicks have the right to match). But there is certain to be some competition for Novak from contending teams, as well.

Novak has found a home at The Garden this season. Whether he keeps it a home -- remember, Shawne Williams took the money and ran, too (and who could blame him?) -- remains to be seen.

The team's core of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are locked up for at least another three years. Lin and Iman Shumpert are also expected to be around for a while. What the Knicks have to do is be creative to build, and maintain, a strong bench. Novak is a big part of that mission.

AMAR'E LOOKS CLOSE (AND DIFFERENT)

As he hit The Garden floor for his rigorous pregame workout routine, Amar'e Stoudemire pulled back his hoodie just a bit and grinned. Along with a clean-shaven jaw and a well-cropped goatee, Stoudemire had his hair in neat cornrows.

It was a throwback look to that of a 16-year-old Stoudemire we saw in a clever time machine ad by the NBA last season.

The Knicks would love to put Amar'e in a time machine, perhaps to December of 2010, when he was arguably the most dominant player in the NBA in a month that saw him break a franchise record with nine straight 30-plus point performances.

This time around, it's now Carmelo who is having a big month and as Stoudemire is poised to return to the lineup (perhaps as soon as Friday in Cleveland?), the talk is less about how Stoudemire will bolster the lineup and more that his presence could mess up Melo's game.

The two have managed to co-exist with mild success on the court, but more often than not the two have not equally thrived at the same time. Mike D'Antoni struggled to find the answer and now it's Mike Woodson's task as the playoffs near.

"I've got to see if this is going to work," Woodson said. "I got to make it work."

The fact of the matter is Stoudemire should not step into the lineup and disrupt the offense because he will be looking to get his body into game condition. The best mentality he can take into the game is to keep it as simple as possible and stick to fundamentals: run hard, box out, rebound and defend. Stoudemire, for now, should have the focus of a role player and, like everyone else, play off Melo.

Then as he gets more and more comfortable, and the injured back appears stable, the Knicks can start working him back in as a go-to option in the offense.

FIXINS

• What, you thought I'd lead with Melo's triple-double? Hey, you never read it in this space that he was dominating the offense too much. Melo is probably feeling as good as he has since training camp began in December and he has really found his game under Woodson. He also doesn't get nearly enough credit for his basketball IQ, which is something Mike D'Antoni used to tell me regularly.

The truth is, Melo sees the floor better than most think. He is mostly a willing passer, but he can be stubborn. When his mind is right, as it is now, he has tremendous court awareness. The Celtics, as Doc Rivers said, paid almost too much attention to him, which freed up the shooters around Melo and he found them. And when Boston defended him one-on-one, he recognized that and scored seemingly at will against whatever physical defenders (he seemed to enjoy the pounding from Sasha Pavlovic and Brandon Bass) they threw at him.

Hey, there's nothing new to Melo finding open shooters. He's been doing it throughout the season. But look back and consider how many wide-open shots the Knicks have missed this season? Would you keep passing to a guy in the corner who has bricked four straight?

"We just made shots tonight," he correctly noted. "Guys were open the way [the Celtics] were guarding me tonight."

For Woodson, the plan should be to find a way to set up Stoudemire as another outlet for Melo to find when double-teams come.

• Jared Jeffries played just 5:39 off the bench which shouldn't be a surprise considering he's playing through serious pain in his right knee, which will almost certainly need surgery in the offseason. In fact, Jeffries, who is wearing a brace to protect the knee, may be told to shut it down again once Amar'e returns to the lineup.

The season is almost over, but the Knicks are still keeping an eye out for potential big man help for the playoffs, be it via the D-League or elsewhere. A free agent is playoff eligible only if he appears in one regular season game, so Knicks would have to have the player in uniform (and on the court) by the season finale on April 26. Veteran Mikki Moore, who has been in the D-League, could be a name on the radar if just to provide needed depth and experience. Knicks would have to cut a player first.

• Baron Davis had a stomach flu in the morning and needed an IV to help him feel good enough to play against the Celtics. Then, he said, in the third quarter he tweaked his balky hamstring. With Jeremy Lin out of the lineup, Davis knows the Knicks desperately need him and therefore he is playing most nights when, in any other situation, he'd be sitting out. With Davis (18:24, scoreless, 1 a.ssists, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers) at barely a half-tank, the backup point guard situation is precarious, but credit veteran Mike Bibby for coming through against Boston. Bibby played 26:27 and though he recorded just three points, he posted six a.ssists with no turnovers and five rebounds.

• After consecutive games on the exclusive national schedule, we return with the MSG Network broadcast Wednesday night (Knicks Game Night starts at 7 p.m.) when the Knicks play their final game in the state of New Jersey. Despite finding a usually very Knicks-friendly crowd when they cross the Hudson, the Knicks in regular season play are 31-48 all-time against the Nets in Jersey since the franchise moved there in 1977. The Nets played their first NBA season at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, where the Knicks were 2-0 in 1976-77 (yes, when the Nets are in Brooklyn next season, it won't be the first time the Knicks play the Nets as a New York-based team).

The Knicks have played the Nets in three different sites since the team moved to New Jersey in '77. The first four seasons were at the Rutgers Athletic Center, followed by 21 years at the Meadowlands Arena and then last season (and this one) at the Prudential Center in Newark.

For anyone keeping score, the Knicks are 84-82 in all-time regular season meetings against their rivals since the NBA-ABA merger.
 5 years ago '10        #8545
Blkboipurp 
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 Born_Loser said:
since Amar'e is expected to make his return Friday and i heard from at least one dude on here on how they should bring him back, just thught i'd ask the rest of yous

should he start or come off the bench (for at least the rest of the reg. season)
I'd like to see him come off the bench just so he can ease his way back instead of just forcing it.Its probably not gonna happen that way though
 5 years ago '07        #8546
Chief|m 53 heat pts53
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 Born_Loser said:
Clyde Frazier

"Melo is balling !! Knicks with the knack, can't wait for Stat to come back!!"

that's my Dipset rapper
 5 years ago '07        #8547
Chief|m 53 heat pts53
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damn we might lose novak after this season

mle or bi annual? hopefully we can keep the shooting gawd
 5 years ago '04        #8548
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Based Hahn

"Mathematically, the highest #Knicks can finish is 5th, catching the Atlanta Hawks. How: Knicks win out, including at ATL on Sunday, and Hawks would lose out, all home games vs BOS, DAL and LAC. Of course ORL would have to go 1-3 as well. Sixth still possible, too under similar scenario. Funny thing is, finishing 5th would mean facing Celtics in the first round. "
 5 years ago '08        #8549
AC_89 167 heat pts167
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^Thats not happening
 5 years ago '04        #8550
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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putting it out there...Ray Allen next season?

 5 years ago '04        #8551
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Based Hahn

"Bucks lose 118-109 to Pacers, #Knicks clinch playoff berth with four games to play. Mathematically could finish anywhere from 5-8 seed."
 5 years ago '04        #8552
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Amare Stoudemire will return to the Knicks' lineup before the end of the regular season, he told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday.

According to Yahoo!, Stoudemire will return Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Knicks have said they want to see him take part in a shootaround before clearing him to play.

Stoudemire has been out since March 24 with a bulging disk in his lower back. The Knicks have gone 9-4 in his absence.

"We're just trying to strengthen my back," Stoudemire said in a video on the website. "... I have no doubt that I'll be back 100 percent."
 5 years ago '04        #8553
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Woodson says Amar'e WILL start and trying to get confirmation but it appears that Landry may be coming off the bench
 5 years ago '04        #8554
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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DAMN!

Knicks are trying to make one more move to set the roster. Knicks are trying sign Dan Gadzuric and the sacrificial lamb will be Skywalker 2.0. Fields WILL come off the bench and My Toys R Us spokesperson will not playing tonight
 5 years ago '04        #8555
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

"Woodson claimed Gadzuric would be available for playoffs. Walker will be waived and didn't make trip."
 5 years ago '04        #8556
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Based Hahn

There should be no celebration this time. Let's just acknowledge what was supposed to be the result of this season all along: The Knicks are in the playoffs again.

It became official when the Milwaukee Bucks dropped a 118-109 loss in Indiana on Thursday night, which eliminated any chance of them catching the Knicks (33-29) in the Eastern Conference playoff standings by virtue of the NBA tiebreaker format.

Just think only nine days ago, the Knicks were trailing by eight points in the fourth quarter in Milwaukee and faced the reality of falling out of the East playoff bracket. They rallied to win that night, 111-107, in a game that now stands out as the most important victory of the season...to date.

Let's re-emphasize: The Knicks were supposed to make the playoffs. So what they've accomplished so far -- though this 15-5 run under Mike Woodson is impressive -- is merely to meet expectations. Going into Friday night's games, the Knicks still were mathematically in play to finish as high as the fifth seed, but they could finish as low as eighth.

OK, with all of this acknowledged now (we'll save the potential matchup conversation for a later date), let's take a moment to point out something that is worth celebrating: The official end of an era.

The Bucks loss clinched a second straight postseason trip, which will mark the first time in 11 years that the Knicks earned consecutive berths. It was during the Patrick Ewing era that the team made 14 straight trips to the playoffs, from 1987-88 to 2000-01. Coincidentally (or not), once the Ewing era ended, the run of playoff appearances quickly came to an end, too.

Ewing was traded in 2000, the team made the playoffs in 2000-01 and then saw the postseason only once (2004) in a nine year span from 2001-10.

That is the second-worst drought in franchise history, after a 12 season run from 1955-56 to 1965-66 saw just two playoff appearances.

But perhaps Wednesday's victory in New Jersey, which provided the 33rd win of the 66-game season, provided an equally important accomplishment. It clinched at least a .500 finish, which may be a modest result, but not when you consider recent history.

The Knicks haven't had consecutive non-losing seasons since, again, 2000-01, which was the last of nine-straight winning seasons.

After that season, the Knicks had posted nine straight losing records, including the 2003-04 campaign (39-43) that resulted in a playoff berth. That run ended last season when Mike D'Antoni's Knicks finished 42-40. Mike Woodson has the team four games over .500 and aiming for more.

The Knicks are also 21-11 at home, which is their best winning percentage (.656) at The Garden since the 2000-01 season. One of the most important missions in creating a new era was to re-establish The Garden as a home court and not a personal showcase stage for visiting stars (see: LeBron, Kobe, Paul Pierce and, when he arrives next week, Blake Griffin), which is what it became in the 2000s.

Much like losing became the ugly stain of the past decade, winning is what establishes not only the end of that era, but the beginning of a new one. But it takes more than just one season, one playoff berth, to put separation between the eras. And before Woodson took the helm, this team looked destined for a losing record and there was a very real potential to miss the playoffs.

So we can now call this a new era. One that will have stars Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler here for at least another three to five years. One that has some intriguing young talent, such as Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert, as well. One that has major decisions to make at head coach and in the front office this offseason, as well.

This is still the beginning of this new era. But the good news is, it also is the end of the old one.

What this new era needs now is another long-awaited achievement: Winning a playoff series, which hasn't been done since Ewing left.

Actually, winning a playoff game would be a good start. It's been 11 years.
 5 years ago '04        #8557
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Mikki Moore was the other option to sign, Dan was picked cause he's eligible for the playoffs. the obvious reason why is insurance for both Amar'e & My Toys R Us spokesperson
 5 years ago '04        #8558
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Berman

"Mike Woodson doesn't like rookies and not going to rely on Harrellson in playoffs. So here comes Dan Gadzuric, 6-11 journeyman center who played 14 games for #Nets last season. Woodson is worried Jeffries won't make it back from his chronic knee pain. Jeffries will sit out tonight and may rest until playoffs. Woodson had no use for Billy Walker, a D'Antoni guy. Gadzuric played in China & in D-League with Texas Legends this season. He was with Bucks for 8 seasons. Guy out of UCLA via Netherlands. "
 5 years ago '04        #8559
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Moke Hamilton

NEW YORK — Old guys are resting, young teams are angling, and Kobe Bryant is dreaming of another championship. It’s that time of year: the NBA’s playoffs are upon us!

And thanks to the Milwaukee Bucks losing to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, the Knicks (33-29) officially clinched a berth in the NBA’s postseason party. At the very least, Knicks fans can be a.ssured of four more games after the Knicks conclude their regular season in Charlotte on April 26, even if we’re yet to learn whether they will square off against the Celtics, Pacers, Heat or Bulls.

This time of year is renowned for playoff discussion but considerable time is also spent on arguments as to which of the league’s elite deserve accolades in the form of the NBA’s annual season-ending awards.

You’ve probably read accounts about how Tyson Chandler has changed the defensive culture of the Knicks. As Jamie O’Grady pointed out in the New York Times’ Off the Dribble Blog, the Knicks are 11th in the NBA in points allowed per game – up from 27th last season. And speaking of last season, the ‘Bockers were ranked 26th in points allowed in the paint; this season, they are a much more respectable ninth.

The improvement is a result of a team-wide effort to defend. But anyone that follows the Knicks knows that Chandler is the diesel engine that motors the Knicks’ defense.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Chandler about his defensive contributions to the team and what winning Defensive Player of the Year would mean to him.

“It would be huge for me,” he told me. “It would signify a lot of hard work being recognized as well as the hard work of my teammates.”

Over the past decade, the NBA’s awards have been dominated by players on winning teams. Most voters subscribe to the notion that only the league’s most successful teams (e.g. top four seeds in each conference) “deserve” to have any individual award winners.

Rubbish, I say!

And that’s the same way I felt back in 2002 when Jason Kidd lost one of the NBA’s closest MVP races to Tim Duncan. Duncan led the Spurs to a 58-win season and won the award over Kidd, whose arrival in New Jersey was the primary reason the Nets doubled their win total to 52, one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in NBA history.

After the ballots were cast, Duncan’s Spurs lost in the second round while Kidd’s Nets made their first trip to the NBA Finals. Maybe it was poetic justice.

Even still, to me, that was a travesty, and I’ll always remember it. But I can’t necessarily say it was unfair. “Most Valuable” is a subjective term. And as the years have gone by, the question as to what it means to be MVP has not become any clearer. Kevin Love will probably receive some votes this year, and he’s headed to the draft lottery. That’s simply because some voters value individual statistical production while others care more about wins and losses.

At this point, I do not think that Chandler is going to win, and I can understand why. Although he may not be Defensive Player of the Year (especially since Chris Sheridan himself confided to me that he does not plan on voting for Chandler for first place), he’s probably the NBA’s Most Valuable Defensive Player.

If those two things seem like they’re the same, they’re not. Unfortunately, due to an overall dearth of responsible accounting and metrics, the NBA’s statistics do not lend themselves to accurately portraying defensive dominance.

That’s something Chandler and I agree on. “I think people get caught up so much with blocks and statistics and what a person averages.” He said. “To me, that’s not necessarily the best defender.”

And therein lies the problem. This new era of statistics and advanced metrics have revolutionized the way we watch and think about the game. Too often, we seek to resolve arguments as to who “can” and “can’t” do something based on averages or percentages. Easily accessible box scores and running numbers gives anyone a voice in any argument.

For example, LeBron James is shooting 53.3 percent from the field while Kevin Durant is shooting 50.1 percent. Does that make James a better shooter than Durant? Of course not.

So forgive my refusal to anoint Serge Ibaka with the defensive distinction merely because of his league-leading 3.6 blocks per game. Chandler, ranked 16th in the league, blocks only 1.5 shots per game.

But here’s the difference: Ibaka usually has Kendrick Perkins beside him. Ibaka is free to roam and come off the weak side in an attempt to block shots. Going after those blocks is a risk and it’s one too great for Chandler to take as often as he’d like.

“To me, a lot of the time when you go after blocks, you take yourself out of position,” he said. “I’m a little different, I like to not take myself out of position and just challenge shots, make ‘em miss, and let my teammates get the rebounds.”

It’s just another example of how everything Chandler says and does while on the court is about the team. He once famously said “You don’t just play with your teammates. You play for your teammates.”

So no, I don’t think this is all a coincidence.

But what I do think is that the NBA needs to redo and rethink the way in which it officially keep track of individual players’ defensive statistics.

I’d like to see the following :

Forced Misses: When a defender is guarding an offensive player who misses a shot
Forced Turnovers: When a defender causes an offensive player to turn the ball over via a bad pass, traveling violation or offensive foul
Deflections: When a defender separates the offensive player from the ball without causing a turnover (in other words, the defender pokes the ball away but the offensive team retains possession)

I want to know who leads the leagues in those categories. Because I think they’re more telling than steals and blocks. And I also happen to believe that Chandler would be among the league leaders in all three.

In the Knicks’ last three wins (at Nets, Celtics, Wizards), based on my count, Chandler had 21 forced misses, seven forced turnovers and nine deflections. I tracked those stats because I knew that a lot of the effort plays he makes – plays that ultimately make a huge difference – are invisible in box scores.

As basketball fans, we are trained to watch the ball. Very few of us are interested enough in the intricacies of the game to watch a particular player for five consecutive minutes when that player doesn’t get the ball or when that player’s activity causes the player he is defending to not get the ball.

Worse, NBA stats that are supposed to prove defensive superiority are flawed. For the most part, steals result from playing passing lanes and shooting gaps. Blocks often come from the weak side, and rebounds (considered by some to be a defensive stat) can be poached by a point guard when his power forward does a good job of boxing out an opposing big.

Too many of us judge “good” defenders by how many steals and/or blocks they average per game.

Defense is more about team, and the stat-conscious might jeopardize valuable points in the hunt for numbers. Chandler, however, is the antithesis. He is content with playing his position on the court and doing a lot of his defensive dirty work behind the scenes when nobody is watching. It’s not about individual glory.

“Coach Woodson and his staff watch tons of game film and I try to do my own scouting and watch teams,” Chandler told me. “He throws out the game plan and if I saw something I’ll kinda pull him to the side and we’ll talk about it and we might try to find a way that we know will make the team understand it.”

And scouting opponents prior to games isn’t all Chandler does to make the Knicks’ defense click. During games, he’s actively coaching defense on the floor.

“I want my teammates to feel comfortable out there,” he said. “I want to let them know where they’re supposed to be and what’s coming. I feel like if your teammates constantly hear you talk and they constantly hear a voice, they won’t feel like they’re out there by themselves.”

For a championship-starved city, Chandler is a breath of fresh air. The big money, riches, and the championship ring he won with the Dallas Mavericks haven’t affected his desire to win. He knows that it takes a team to win, and both team and winning are more important than any individual accolades.

“Bill Russell was one of the great position defensive players. He got a lot of blocks but he kept a lot of blocks in play,” Chandler told me. “But I think he was even better at just challenging shots and making guys miss. That’s what I want to do most.”

From scouting to coaching, playing, and idolizing, Chandler is there for his teammates.

And while those attributes might not be quantifiable from a statistical standpoint, Chandler is probably the NBA’s Most Valuable Defensive Player, even if he’s not Defensive Player of the Year.
 5 years ago '04        #8560
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

CLEVELAND – Amar’e Stoudemire said he is “pain-free’’ and doesn’t understand what the fuss is about regarding how he and Carmelo Anthony will mesh.

Stoudemire will start tonight vs. the Cavs but Mike Woodson will limit his minutes to about the 20-minute range in his first game since March 24th.

The Knicks are 9-4 in Stoudemire’s absence.

“When Mike took over when I was on the court, our record was 6-1,’’ Stoudemire said. “I don’t see what the big deal is. We’ll get back to doing what we did before. We were 6-1 with me, Carmelo and the full team with Woodson taking over. We’ll get back to that.’’

Stoudemire’s back injury first occurred vs. Boston in the playoffs last April but the bulging disk did not appear to be a big deal when first discovered.

Stoudemire, in making his first extended interview since his injury, said his bulging disk became more noticeable after an MRI in late summer that extended his lockout rehab.

Stoudemire blames the lockout on his continued woes. He felt he wasn’t able to properly rehab with the same Knicks medical staff that treated him last April. Once July 1st began, he was unable to use the Knicks medical staff and felt he wasn’t prepared when training camp opened. Stoudemire, though, said he didn’t feel symptoms from his bulging disk until the Detroit game last month.

“I wanted to use the guys who were working on me but I couldn’t,’’ Stoudemire said. “This rehab we took was much more aggressive. The problem with the lockout, you can’t use the Knicks training staff. When the injury first happened in Boston (last April), I couldn’t use the same training staff here that knew about the injury,. I had to go out and find other specialists to work my back. It was somewhat displeasing thing for me. I wanted to use guys that I was working with .’’

Stoudemire underwent a steroid epidural injection three weeks ago as the central thrust of his rehab and he said he felt better in two days.

“I’m actually pain-free. I’m doing a great job attacking the injury and making sure everything around the injury is secure,’’ Stoudemire said. “I responded to (the epidural) great. It was the first time I ever heard about it so I did my research on it and it worked out great for me. It took me about two days. Once that procedure was done, I took more time to strengthen the injury. ‘’

Stoudemire admitted to being worried his season was over. “I was definitely worried about the rest of the season,’’ Stoudemire said. “I didn’t know about the procedure. I was concerned, very concerned. It was nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what to expect.’’

Stoudemire nearly played in Newark but pushed it back two days. “I wanted to get in better shape,’’ Stoudemire said. “So I did more work in the weight room, more cardio. I wanted to make sure I was totally healthy.’’
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