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 4 years ago '04        #9761
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Jared Zwerling & Ian Begley

J.R. Smith recently said that if the Knicks win the championship, he will get a Knicks tattoo.

So should fans read anything into the permanency of that potential blue and orange addition?

Well, during a "SportsCenter" segment on Monday discussing his Sixth Man Award, Smith said that New York is where he wants to finish his career.

"Without a doubt," Smith said. "I was born in New Jersey, born and raised. I would love to retire a Knick."

This offseason, Smith could be tempted to leave financially. The Knicks can only pay him up to $5 million based on his Early Bird Rights -- 175 percent of his salary this season. But another team with significant cap space can offer Smith a higher amount, and the Knicks would be powerless to stop him from leaving. And since he's not restricted, meaning the Knicks have no control over his free agency, they won't be able to match any offer sheets to retain him.

In favor of the Knicks keeping Smith is his close relationship with Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson, who helped push the 27-year-old into one of the best shooting guards in the NBA down the stretch this season. In addition, Smith loves New York City beyond the court, from being close to home to the nightlife. He's also seen a recent spike in his sponsorship deals (for example, SK Energy).

MORE SHOTS FOR KG? Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that he'd like to get Kevin Garnett more involved offensively in Game 2. Kenyon Martin appreciates the coach's candor.

"That's fine, whatever. They've got to make adjustments," he said. "So if they're going to tell [the media] that's what they're doing, thank you, so we can prepare."

The Knicks big man helped hold Garnett to eight points on 4-for-12 shooting in Game 1.

DOUBLE TROUBLE? Anthony expects more double teams from the Celtics on Tuesday. He was single covered often on Saturday and scored 36 points on 13-for-29 shooting.

"I think that's an adjustment they will make; double teams. We're prepared for that," Melo said. "I have to make plays for [my teammates]; they have to make plays for me."

Anthony said that he missed a few open shots on Saturday, but he wasn't beating himself up over them.

"I'm not really worried about what I shoot from the field and things like that," he said. "I'm trying to win the basketball game."

On the perception that he's a shoot-first player after he had just one a.ssist on Saturday, Anthony said, "It really doesn't matter to me. I know what type of player I am. I know that I share the ball. We share the ball as a team. Sometimes me sharing the ball, I don't always get the a.ssist. It is what it is. I really don’t pay no attention to it."
 4 years ago '04        #9762
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Ian Begley & Jared Zwerling

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Some Knicks fans might be worried about Raymond Felton's Game 2 defensive a.ssignment. But Mike Woodson isn't.

The coach is confident that Felton can guard Paul Pierce, a plan if Pablo Prigioni plays.

Prigioni missed Game 1 with a sprained right ankle and he's probable for Game 2. If he returns to the starting lineup, he'd be matched up with Avery Bradley. That would leave Felton to guard Pierce.

"Ray's guarded a little bit of everybody all year," Woodson said. "Our team does that. It's OK. He'll be fine."

Pierce, the Celtics' top offensive threat, could have his way against Felton, who is six inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter. Pierce led the Celtics in scoring at 18.6 points per game during the regular season. He had 21 points on 6-for-15 shooting in Game 1 when he was guarded initially by Iman Shumpert.

Woodson said on Monday that he's comfortable with Felton guarding Pierce because the Knicks point guard matched up against the future Hall of Famer in the Knicks' last two regular-season games against Boston -- both wins for New York.

"It's nothing new," the coach said.

It will be interesting to see how Felton handles Pierce. The Knicks might need to send a help defender to slow Pierce, which could lead to uncovered shooters on the perimeter or open lanes in the paint for the Celts.

Woodson, again, isn't worried.

"He's got to be tough. That's all I can tell you," he said when asked about the height difference between Felton and Pierce. "Good luck. He's got to play."

FROM PIERCE TO ...: Jeff Green. That's who Shumpert will match up with on Tuesday -- the second game in a row the defensive specialist will guard a Celtics' main scorer.

Shumpert held his own in Game 1 against Pierce, who was 40 percent from the field. Shumpert's biggest challenge was working around pick-and-rolls with Pierce facilitating and Kevin Garnett setting screens. The additional size was something the Knick wasn't used to. But in several face-up situations, Shumpert's strong base enabled him to keep his footing and get up into Pierce.

There were a few times Pierce beat Shumpert to the basket and got fouled, but a few of those breakdowns were inevitable with the size disadvantage. While Shumpert is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Pierce is 6-foot-7, 235 pounds.

Green is two inches taller, and he's more athletic and a better low-post player than Pierce.

"Not only is he long and able to stretch out to make a lot of buckets, he's also very athletic, bouncy and making more and more shots as the season goes on," Shumpert said.

Green also excels in the open court. He occasionally acts as the point forward off of defensive rebounds to give the Celtics a quick scoring threat, which they miss in Rajon Rondo.

"He's great in isolation and he's great working the post, so a lot of different rotations, a lot of different schemes you've got to throw at him," Shumpert said. "But all in all, we've got to play Knick basketball and make sure we communicate and make sure rebound the ball."

Shumpert is appreciative of a difficult defensive a.ssignment once again.

"It give me a load of confidence, especially going to the other end of the court, getting that big stop and especially playing at home guarding those players," he said.
 4 years ago '04        #9763
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138

With deep emotions swirling around Boston, the Knicks want nothing to do with heading there in a deadlocked series.

With guard Pablo Prigioni ready to return tonight to make the Knicks’ starting lineup whole again, the Knicks talked of an urgency to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Game 2 is tonight at the Garden, with the series shifting to Boston Friday and Sunday for Games 3 and 4.

“We’re approaching this game as a must-win here on our home court,’’ Carmelo Anthony said. “We want to win this basketball game. We don’t want to go back to Boston 1-1. Game 2 is just harder than Game 1. Although we took care of business in Game 1, we still want to come back and not give away this game. This game is more important than Game 1 was.”

The Knicks, buoyed by the news of J.R. Smith winning the Sixth Man Award, should be in better shape tonight with Prigioni stabilizing the lineup and allowing the matchups they want.

Iman Shumpert gets series X-factor Jeff Green, Raymond Felton dogs Paul Pierce and Prigioni squares up with Boston point guard Avery Bradley. Prigioni’s insertion into the starting lineup last month in Utah coincided with their 13-game winning streak.

“It’s huge,’’ Game 1 hero Kenyon Martin said of Game 2. “You don’t want to go up there 1-1 facing that team and that crowd. I’ve been there.

“They know what they have to do. They’re going to come here and they’re going to scratch, claw, f!ght. They know it’s a big game. We’ve got to be prepared for whatever.”

The Knicks survived Green’s 20-point first half and bottled up the Celtics by holding them to a playoff-record low eight points in the fourth quarter. But the Knicks’ ball movement and pressure defense should improve with Prigioni, moving rookie Chris Copeland back to the bench.

“We want to play Knicks basketball,’’ Shumpert said. “We want to get out, we want to pressure, pressure early, we want to pressure in the full court. That’s something that Pablo loves to do, so having him back would be great.’’

The Knicks are also expecting a more ferocious Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, neither of whom imposed their will on Saturday’s game, especially down the stretch.

Garnett and Pierce combined to shoot 10 of 27 in Boston’s 85-78 loss as the starry duo combined for six points in the fourth quarter. The Celtics said the intent is to get Garnett more involved. Garnett actually seemed passive — even light on trash-talking.

“Yeah, they’re going to come back,’’ Anthony said. “They’re not All-Stars, Hall-of-Fame guys, for no reason. They’re going to make adjustments. We’ve got to be prepared for that.”

When told of Boston’s plan to make Garnett a bigger factor, Martin said: “They got to make adjustments. If that’s what they’re doing, thank you. We’ll be prepared for it.’’

“I expect him to get more shots,’’ center Tyson Chandler said of Garnett. “We have to do a good job defending in the paint. And make sure he doesn’t get open jump shots.’’

The Knicks also need to make adjustments on offense, which sputtered Saturday. The team shot 40.5 percent and totaled just 13 a.ssists on 32 buckets.

Anthony scored 36 points. Though he was just 13 of 29, he got hot late with a 4-for-5 fourth quarter. He expects to see more double teams and knows he has to do a better job moving the ball.

“I’m pretty sure that’s an adjustment they will make, double teams,’’ Anthony said. “We’re prepared for that. We’ve got to be prepared for thatGuys, when the ball comes to them, they’ve got to make plays. I have to make plays for them, they have to make plays for me. We have to make plays for each other out there.”

The Knicks will also need a more vibrant Chandler, who was benched in the fourth quarter for Martin. The center, who didn’t take a shot or record a single point, was returning from a two-week absence from a recurring neck injury and played just 20 minutes.

Chandler, with a bulging disk in his cervical spine, said he felt “a little stiff, sore’’ afterward. He said his poor play was a conditioning issue but he seemed tentative. He promises a better showing tonight.

“The more on the floor, the better condition I’ll be,’’ Chandler said. “I feel I’ll be better Game 2 than I was Game 1.

“Game 2 is just as important as Game 1. We didn’t do much yet. Game 2 is just as important as the first.’’“I feel I’ll be better Game 2 than I was Game 1.

“Game 2 is just as important as Game 1. We didn’t do much yet. Game 2 is just as important as the first.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9764
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138

J.R. Smith was ticked during training camp. The enigmatic yet supremely talented Smith wanted to finally be an NBA starter and was crushed when coach Mike Woodson sat down with him with the news he would be the team’s Sixth Man.

It couldn’t have worked out any better for Smith, who received the Sixth Man Award yesterday during a press conference at the Knicks’ Tarrytown facility.

“I’ve been known as a selfish player for so long, I wanted to show my teammates I could be a team guy and it’s all about the team,” Smith said. “[Woodson] always told me it’s not who starts. It’s who finishes the game and 99 percent of the time I’m finishing.’’

More than half of Smith’s teammates, entire coaching staff and general manager Glen Grunwald attended the press conference. Smith was cheered by his mates when he entered in a dapper gray suit. When he took the podium, he addressed his mates with a playful “Woot, Woot’’ and they chanted back.

Woodson said Smith accepted the a.ssignment “in grand style.’’

“I just thought for our team, we needed to establish guys coming off the bench to make plays,’’ Woodson said. “He bought in. He didn’t like it at first, but he accepted his role and walks away with the Sixth Man Award.”

While the award brought joy yesterday, it could complicate Smith’s return next season as he is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. His stock will only rise with this award. He is scheduled to make $2.8 million next season and Smith has long felt he has been underpaid.

The Knicks have his early Bird rights and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him. But they still can only go four years and as high as $5.2 million, under salary-cap rules. Teams with the full mid-level exception of $5 million can equal the offer. Teams under the cap can blow the Knicks out of the water.

Smith, who grew up in Freehold, N.J., was asked if he’d like to remain in New York, but declined to say. Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, his parents and brother Chris Smith, who should be on the Knicks next season, attended the press conference.

“I’m not really worried about it right now,’’ Smith said. “I’m worried about Game 2 versus Boston. When that times comes, I’ll worry about it then.’’

The Knicks will be desperate to have him back. He sizzled as the second scoring option (18.1 ppg, 5.3 rebounds) to Carmelo Anthony.

“I gave him a big hug and told him things have a way of working out,’’ Woodson said. “They do.’’

Woodson masterfully handled Smith, who has a renegade image. Earlier this season, Smith admitted he got caught up in the New York nightlife last season and had cleaned up his act in this, his ninth season.

“He’s figured it out,’’ Woodson said.

“I’m so proud of him,’’ Tyson Chandler said. “He dedicated himself this year and it’s paying off for him. He’s really focused and locked in this year. He’s more focused on his craft. He’s a professional this year, staying after, getting up shots. Something clicked.’’

“Big honor,’’ Anthony said. “I’m honored to be a part of it. To have him alongside me as my wingman.’’

The mercurial shooting guard gained control of the award with a huge March and April after adding a driving element to his scoring arsenal after being encouraged by Woodson.

“If you’re going to be a scorer in this league, you got to mix it up,’’ Woodson said. “If you don’t use the free-throw line in this league as your friend, it’s going to be a struggle. He went through a phase where he was just shooting jump shots and jump shots and finally a green light went off.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9765
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Hola Hahnito

JR Smith couldn't accept Landry Fields starting over him. Now he understands why Woodson wanted it that way. More:

Smith yesterday won an award he never thought he'd win. He had been a high-scoring reserve throughout his career and rarely got consideration for 6th Man of the Year.

But standing with the trophy, Smith fulfilled a prophecy made by his coach in October.

"JR and I sat down and we had a long talk before the season about his role," Mike Woodson said. "And it was JR who accepted his role in grand style."

Smith bristled at the idea of Fields starting over him last season. After Fields left for Toronto in the summer, Smith thought the starting role would be his. But Woodson had a different plan.

"Yes, he could start for a lot of teams in this league," Woodson said. "But he accepted his role, he's made the most out of it and we all benefited from it as a basketball team."

Smith admitted it was hard to accept coming off the bench for yet another season. But the veterans on the team -- he specifically named Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace -- encouraged him.

"They kept telling me, 'It's not about who starts, but who finishes'," he told MSG Network's Tina Cervasio. "It's not about me, it's the team. They really installed it in my brain.

"Once I got it," he continued, "it clicked and I was able to lock in and just play basketball."

Woodson, who pushed Smith hard all season, spoke like a proud parent after Smith won the award. Smith came to the Knicks with a reputation as a rebel and uncoachable. He's still had his moments, but Smith's transformation over the second half of this season is remarkable.

"I couldn't be prouder of a young man," Woodson said. "I saw where he started and I see where he is today and it's a beautiful thing, man, it really is."

Carmelo Anthony, one of Smith's closest friends on the team, added, "There comes a point in time in your life when you're almost forced to grow up. You're almost forced to mature . . . I think right now, this season, JR has done that."
 4 years ago '04        #9766
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Patrick Aloysius Ewing, Sr. will be providing Post-Game analysis tonight
 4 years ago '04        #9767
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Stoudemire, for first time since surgery, spoke to reporters in #Knicks locker room. He could start full-speed running later this week and go from there. But he said eight weeks from his surgery could be the timetable - not six weeks - which has just passed. "The blessing is we have such a great team,'' Stoudemire said. "They’re doing so well. If we continue to win, it gives me more time to heal up and be 100 percent. That’s the blessing.'' I asked Stoudemire if Round 2 is still on his mind. ’’If everything goes great I’m willing to play sooner than later if everything continues to improve,’’ Stoudemire said.
 4 years ago '04        #9768
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Ian O'Connor

NEW YORK -- Pablo Prigioni starts ahead of J.R. Smith, and you do not need a sixth sense to understand why the sixth man would be annoyed by that. By any measure of size, speed, scoring ability and athleticism, Prigioni does not belong on the same planet with Smith, never mind on the same team.

It doesn't matter that Celtics coach Doc Rivers practically put Prigioni in Bob Cousy's class before Game 2, calling him "brilliant, another Jason Kidd-ish type guy." It doesn't matter that basketball people are forever reminding us we should focus on who finishes games, not on who starts them.

Deep down, J.R. Smith wants to start just like every basketball player from Biddie Ball on up wants to start. It's a basic human desire. If a coach is sending out five guys for the opening tip, you don't want to be No. 6 on his depth chart.

Tuesday night, after he held high his NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award before a standing, cheering Garden crowd, after he scored 19 impactful points in an 87-71 victory over Boston that gave his New York Knicks a 2-0 series lead, Smith was asked if he struggled with the fact his coach, Mike Woodson, was putting less talented teammates on the floor before summoning him from the pine.

"I've gotten over that situation," Smith said. "There's a reason why guys are out there on the floor, a reason why Coach Woodson is doing what he's doing. It's been effective. If we were losing, I'm sure it would be a different story, but we're playing great right now, so I can't complain."

Yes, if the Knicks were losing, it would be an entirely different story -- that was the open window on Smith's soul. If the Knicks were losing, Smith might be lighting up reporters' notebooks, and he might be tweeting things about Woodson he'd later regret. If the Knicks were losing, Smith might be voted this year's Knick Most Likely to Punch a Fire Extinguisher Case, if only because Amar'e Stoudemire isn't around to beat him to it.

But the Knicks aren't losing, not yet, anyway. They're making the Celtics look small and slow and remarkably limited on the offensive end, where Paul Pierce, the great Paul Pierce, stumbles and bumbles to the basket and looks older than Uncle Drew.

It's hard to picture the second seed losing four of five to these Celtics, unless, of course, Rick Pitino was wrong and Bird, McHale and Parish do indeed walk through that door. The Knicks outscored Boston 32-11 in a third quarter that saw Carmelo Anthony score 13 of his 34 points, and that was that.

Anthony is too young and hungry right now for Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who desperately need a healthy Rajon Rondo to create plays that the Avery Bradleys and Jordan Crawfords and Courtney Lees simply can't create. But the Knicks aren't out to merely beat Boston in the first round. Melo will score 35 just about every postseason night, but if they want to beat Miami and win their first title since 1973, they'll need a Robin for Melo's Batman.

J.R. Smith has to be that Robin. He shot 50 percent or better from the field in 25 regular-season games, and the Knicks won 22 of them. Tuesday night, Smith finished a tick below that standard by going 7-for-15, and nobody was moved to complain. He put on a show by making all four of his attempts in the first quarter, including a wild 36-footer to beat the buzzer, a basket that inspired him to drop to a knee and swing his right arm in windmill form three times as if he were a rock star ready to jam on his guitar.

"He needs to play like that all the time," said Kenyon Martin, whose own stunning rebirth (11 rebounds and four blocks in 23 minutes) has made Tyson Chandler's injury a lot less relevant.

"It's a great feeling to have the Sixth Man of the Year on your team. That's the way we need him to play at all times, not just tonight. We need him to be on his game in order for us to be successful."

Martin said what Melo wouldn't. Asked if he was confident Smith could a.ssume the role of consistent complementary star during a championship run, Anthony said he's focusing solely on Friday night's Game 3 in Boston and didn't say a word about his super-sub. No sweat.

The significance of Smith is obvious, precisely why Woodson has talked in the past of making him more responsible, more professional, even more presentable. Woodson has urged Smith to pull up his pants and act the part. There's been slippage; the league fined Smith for his tweeted photo of an almost-bare-nekkid lady. But all in all, despite a few unforced errors on Twitter, most agree the 27-year-old Smith has grown up some under Woodson.

"I'm not surprised," Smith's high school coach at St. Benedict's of Newark, N.J., Dan Hurley, said Tuesday night by phone. "He was drafted by New Orleans when they weren't a good team, more of an expansion-type team, and then in Denver there were all those personalities around J.R. Now he's finally in a place with some real professionals like Kidd and Chandler, and that's helped him."

Now the head coach at the University of Rhode Island, Hurley met with Smith at the St. Benedict's gym every morning at 5:30 for two hours of work before classes, and again after school was out, to prepare him for the 2004 McDonald's All-American game (Smith would be named co-MVP) that got him drafted in the first round.

"He never cheated me or himself one day in the gym, ever," Hurley said. "You'd question shot selection, but never his passion or intensity. He's one of the most talented athletes and players in the history of the state, and every time you went to see him play, he gave you your money's worth."

Smith was worth the price of admission again Tuesday night after he received his award and his ovation. "It was an out-of-body feeling," he said of the pregame ceremony. "I never really thought I would get a standing ovation at the Garden the way I did."

He later admitted that he didn't want to come off the bench to start the season and that he eventually came to terms with his role. So far this postseason, so good. The Knicks are winning, and J.R. isn't whining.

But this time last year, after his dreadful performance in the first round against Miami, Smith tweeted that he wasn't sure he wanted to return to New York, this after some fans had blamed him for the loss. Now he's talking about retiring happily ever after as a Knick.

So be it. If Smith can be as hard to decipher as some of his tattoos, this much is clear:

The sixth man has to play like the second man from here to June, or the entire season will end up on the bench.
 4 years ago '04        #9769
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Fresh off his Sixth Man Award, J.R. Smith is almost certain to opt out of his contract and become a free agent July 1. The Knicks are praying they are not outbid.

At Monday’s press conference, Smith evaded a question on his contractual future, saying he will “worry’’ about it when the time comes. However, in a TV appearance later, Smith said he hopes it works out here.

“Without a doubt. I’m born in New Jersey, born and raised,” Smith said. “I would love to retire a Knick.”

Smith made $2.8M this season. With his Early-Bird rights, the Knicks are permitted to raise a new contract to $5.2M for a maximum four years. However, teams under the cap in search of a prime-time scorer can blow the Knicks out of the water.
 4 years ago '04        #9770
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138

Amar’e Stoudemire said Tuesday night he will begin full-speed running by week’s end and if all goes “great,” he could suit up for the second round of the playoffs — if the Knicks make it.

Stoudemire, who has spoken rarely since right knee debridement surgery March 11, said a patient approach is still being used.

“The blessing is we have such a great team,’’ Stoudemire said in the Knicks’ locker room before their 87-71 Game 2 victory over the Celtics at the Garden. “They’re doing so well. If we continue to win, it gives me more time to heal up and be 100 percent. That’s the blessing.”

Asked whether the second round is still on his radar, Stoudemire said, “Yeah, if everything goes great, I’m willing to play sooner than later if everything continues to improve.

“I have to get stronger. Once I start moving at full speed, we’ll check the reaction.”

Stoudemire’s initial prognosis was a six-week recovery time. Six weeks passed yesterday. Stoudemire said eight weeks — which would come up in the second round — might be more realistic. Stoudemire waited eight weeks to return after his first knee debridement surgery in October.

“It may take the same time,’’ Stoudemire said. “Hopefully it heals sooner than eight weeks.”

Stoudemire said initially there was hope of postponing the surgery until after the season, but the pain did not go away after he played heavy minutes in four games in five nights in early March, twice surpassing his prescribed 30-minute max.

“It wasn’t improving, so we had to take care of it now,’’ Stoudemire said. “Hopefully I’d be ready for the postseason kickoff.’’

* Former Knicks coach and president Isiah Thomas, working for NBA TV, said his vote for Coach of the Year went to Mike Woodson, Thomas’ college teammate at Indiana.

“I’m not in it for Coach of the Year,” Woodson said. “I’m in it to try to get this team to a championship and win a title. If it happens, it happens. But I’m not sitting here holding my breath about it.”

Woodson was asked whether Thomas, who lives in Westchester, has called him to congratulate him earning the second seed.

“Isiah and I are friends,’’ Woodson said. “We talk all the time. Absolutely.’’

* The Knicks committed just 11 turnovers.
 4 years ago '08        #9771
AC_89 147 heat pts147
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Its funny hearing the c's fans talking about how they miss rondo like hes gonna magically make sure all those shots they missed go in and yea not gonna lie we couldve used amare last night def might need him 4 da pacers
 04-24-2013, 10:20 PM         #9772
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Is it just me or does anyone else feel the knicks play better without carmelo?
 4 years ago '04        #9773
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138

Pablo Prigioni admitted his ankle was "maybe 75 to 80 percent". Why he said he had to play in Game 2:

"I can't stay one more game out," Prigioni said after playing 17:35 and posting five a.ssists with 0 turnovers. "I want to play."

Prigioni rolled his ankle in the final game of the regular season a week ago today.

"Normally, I recover fast from injuries," he said, but the ankle swelled up on him. It caused him to miss Game 1 of the playoffs, which was last Saturday.

The spread out schedule so far -- three days off between games -- has allowed Prigioni healing time. He said he expects to feel "much better" for Friday's Game 3.

Prigioni doesn't log a lot of minutes in Mike Woodson's rotation, but he has emerged as an important player that helps promote ball movement on offense and hustle plays on defense.
 4 years ago '04        #9774
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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The Game 2 issue that no one is talking about, but Mike Woodson addressed at halftime. Changed everything. More:

Transition defense.

The Celtics were beating the Knicks with easy baskets simply by running the floor. Jeff Green caught an impressive alley-oop on one and Paul Pierce outran Carmelo Anthony for a layup on another. At halftime the C's were outscoring the Knicks in fast break points, 11-0.

The Celtics, without a true point guard, got 11 easy points just by running.

"A lot of that has to do with the fact that we weren't matched individually," Woodson said. "They had us on our heels attacking. We eliminated that in the second half."

The Celtics managed just six more fast break points in the second half as the Knicks defense went to another level for a second straight game when it mattered most.

But still, to be outscored 17-2 in fast break points by the Celtics is alarming. Shouldn't the Knicks be the team pushing the pace against a Celtic team with an ailing Kevin Garnett and a worn-down Paul Pierce?
 4 years ago '04        #9775
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Earl Smith, J.R.’s father who served as his first coach growing up in Central Jersey, gave all the credit to his son’s grand emergence this season to Mike Woodson and took a swipe at his former coach in Denver, George Karl, during a wide-ranging interview yesterday.

Smith won the Sixth Man Award on Monday, capping his career season in which he became Carmelo Anthony’s star sidekick, averaging a career-best 18.1 points. Before Game 2 against Boston, Smith, long known as an underachieving renegade, received a thunderous standing ovation at the Garden when presented the trophy.

“I got to give all the credit to Knicks organization and Coach Woodson,’’ Earl Smith told The Post yesterday. “When you got a coach like that, anything’s possible.

“I noticed it from the first game,’’ Earl Smith added. “When you have all the potential in the world, there’s a certain way you have to approach him. There’s just different ways to approach different people. Woodson had the patience. The other coaches didn’t have the patience.

“If you’re a basketball player, you either can shoot and pass or you can play defense,’’ Earl continued. “Not everyone can do everything. I’m not saying this because he’s my son, but J.R. basically can do everything.’’

Earl felt Karl had it in for Smith during their five seasons together in Denver.

“The a.ssistant coaches loved him there but they couldn’t say anything,’’ Earl Smith said. “There was negativity from Day 1. I was at the practice arena just sitting around and George comes by while J.R. is shooting. I heard George say to the a.ssistants, ‘J.R. Smith, I’m going to bust his this year.’ ’’

Earl expects J.R. to opt out of his contract and become a free agent July 1. The Knicks can be outbid since the most they can offer him under the salary-cap rules for Early-Bird rights is a four-year deal starting at $5.2 million per season. Teams under the salary cap can blow the Knicks out of the water.

Earl said his son has already taken less to be a Knick, claiming the Lakers had a superior offer last summer.

“It depends on what’s on the table,’’ Earl said. “He’s already taken a lot less the last two years to play here. Whatever the decision, I support. I would love for him to be here but I have my other two sons here.’’

Chris Smith, a point guard, tore his patella tendon at Knicks training camp last October and has been rehabbing at their facility. He is a favorite to make the team next season.

Earl Smith, who lives in Millstone Township, N.J., has attended every home game this season with his wife, Ida. Earl, after a stop at a junior college, played at Monmouth University, where his youngest son, Demitrius, is now a standout nose guard and NFL prospect.

(Earl won’t be attending Game 3 in Boston tomorrow because of Demitrius’ spring football game.)

“The fans are great and it’s been an unbelievable feeling,’’ Earl said of Tuesday’s Garden serenade. “I was excited to see him succeed and everyone’s not bashing him. The announcers say it’s a good shot now. Looking back, it’s the same damn shot. It’s the same shot he’s taken for nine years.’’

Earl said J.R.’s recent admission he partied too hard in his first season in New York was spot on. Smith signed with the Knicks last February after spending the lockout playing in China.

“Coming from China he didn’t do anything for three, four months over there but eat and play,’’ Earl said. “There was no clubbing in China. Of course a young kid comes back and he got caught up with it. That whole experience humbled him, seeing how they lived.’’

The turning point for this season came in March when Smith made it his mission to attack the basket and not settle for his patented step-back jump shot that occasionally failed him.

“He’s so athletic, he could go to the basket anytime he wanted it,’’ Earl said. “But he got fouled and referees never called it. He was getting beat up and getting tired of it. I’m not bashing referees. But they get caught up watching and not reffing. I always thought that about him and Melo, too. There’s some guys you can’t even touch. Not them. Maybe it’s because everybody hates New York.’’

Earl doesn’t see Smith as a sixth man forever, especially if he leaves the Knicks.

“Every player wants to start, right down to the 15th player,’’ Smith said. “But in Woodson’s chemistry, it was different and it was working. I don’t know what it will be next season.

“He bought into the system and realized what he had to do to make this team successful,’’ Earl added. “The older guys bended his ear. When coaches, the owner, GM, Allan Houston is on your side and everybody’s pulling for you, it makes a big difference.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9776
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Stephen A. Smith

As much as we would like to believe otherwise, let's stop fooling ourselves.

No matter how good the Knicks have looked, or Carmelo Anthony has looked, or two victories in the first two games of this first-round battle look to a legion of fans unaccustomed to such advantageous circumstances, a 2-0 lead in this playoff series is not simply a product of what the Knicks are doing.

It's about the regression of the Boston Celtics, a franchise disintegrating before our very eyes.

So long, Paul Pierce. We appreciate all you and Kevin Garnett have meant to this league, the championship-caliber moments you've provided. Because no matter what happens the rest of this series, it is clear your time is up.

Feel free to credit the Knicks' defense and another Herculean performance from Melo all you want, but there was something far more conspicuous that contributed to the Knicks' 87-71 win in Game 2 of this best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Just 23 second-half points for the Celtics, tying an all-time low for a half in the playoffs, would be one factor. A combined 48 second-half points in 48 minutes spanning Games 1 and 2 would be another.

The Celtics shot 26 percent from the field in the second half of Game 1; a horrific 19 percent in Game 2. If they've exhibited any kind of fluidity to their offense, we haven't seen it. Add in the five fouls called against Garnett in 24 minutes, the insufficient play from Pierce and the fact that it occurred when the future Hall of Famer was primarily defended by a miniature Raymond Felton, and it's clear these are not the Celtics most everyone expected to see by this time of the year.

"You feel free to have that attitude all you want," Woodson said Wednesday afternoon, "but I'm not about to. They are still the Boston Celtics. I've got a lot of respect for those guys. Winning will never be easy against them. They're not a team to take lightly and I can a.ssure you, we're not about to do it. We know what challenge lies ahead of us."

Pierce did say after Game 2, "I think if we're able to turn the offense around a little bit, I like our chances in this series," but one has to question how legitimate a possibility that is.

Rajon Rondo, an elite point guard, especially during this time of year, is out after having season-ending knee surgery. Avery Bradley is no true point guard. The same can be said for Jason Terry. Courtney Lee, somehow, was called upon to contribute just four minutes in Game 2, and the combination of it all has left the ball in the hands of Pierce, who looks slower and slower as the games have progressed.

Combine that with Melo's a.ssertion that "I'm missing shots I normally make ... I have to make shots," and that doesn't seem like good news for Boston, at all.

Melo's already averaging 35 points on 45.3 percent shooting (60 percent from 3-point range), even as Rivers finds himself switching between Jeff Green, Pierce and Brandon Bass defending him. J.R. Smith is putting up 17 points per game in the first two outings. Felton is not only averaging 14.5 points and four a.ssists but is running the show, at times, the way Rondo customarily does for the Celtics.

"In the second half, no one did anything for us," Celtics coach Doc Rivers deadpanned. "They threw a knockout punch. Several."

Rivers didn't fail to add: "I thought the fouls on [Garnett] were horrendous. That had a huge effect on us. He never got his rhythm when you could see he was going to have a game. It hurt us."

Rivers was absolutely right in saying what he said. The fouls were horrendous. They did hinder Boston. But who cares.

As much as we know that Rivers was correct, we also know that doesn't address the bigger problem plaguing Boston right now.

They are old, slow, defensively deficient and devoid of a floor leader. The combination of it all leaves them ill-equipped to fend off these Knicks, who've managed to turn on their motors in the second half in ways the Celtics used to do defensively when they were competing for -- and winning -- a championship.

As a result, they could very well be on the brink of elimination once Friday night is over.

"We've got to play better," Rivers told reporters. "Plain and simple. We know what we're capable of."

Sadly, we're all starting to wonder what the Celtics are capable of anymore.

Even a victory Friday won't change the reality.
 4 years ago '04        #9777
Jae_Hood_354 91 heat pts91
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$7,461 | Props total: 1189 1189
anyone seen this

[video - click to view]

 4 years ago '07        #9778
#NETSLOST 15 heat pts15
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$39,897 | Props total: 3086 3086
 4 years ago '04        #9779
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138
Ian Begley

BOSTON -- Carmelo Anthony's dream didn't come to fruition on Sunday. Not even close.

In fact, Game 4 turned into a bit of a nightmare for the Knicks' star.

Anthony missed 25 of his 35 attempts on Sunday, including several in crunch time, and the Knicks lost in overtime to Boston, 97-90.

Leading up to Sunday's game, Anthony said it would be a "dream come true" to complete a first-round sweep of the Celtics on Sunday. Now the Knicks have to win a home game on Wednesday to finish off their longtime rivals.

Early in Sunday's game, it looked like the Knicks would have no such shot.

New York hit just 29 percent of its attempts in the first half and trailed by 19 at the break. Anthony went 3-for-15 and turned it over five times. But he didn't have much help. The Knicks clearly missed J.R. Smith's scoring in the first half. All Knicks not named Anthony shot a combined 8-for-23.

It seemed like Anthony at times was trying to compensate for the absence of Smith, who was suspended for his Game 3 elbow to Jason Terry's chin.

"I missed him out there," Anthony said. "But J.R. being out there doesn't change the way I shoot the basketball. I just normally hit those shots. I’ve been taking them the whole series, they weren't falling tonight."

Shots started to fall in the third quarter. Not for Anthony, though. For Raymond Felton.

Felton poured in 16 points in the third as the Knicks cut a 20-point deficit to just three entering the fourth quarter. Anthony seemed to get on track, hitting three of six shots to supplement Felton.

But he lost touch in the fourth quarter and overtime, misfiring on 10 of his last 14 shots.

"He missed some shots," Woodson said of Anthony, who entered play Sunday averaging an NBA playoff-high 32 points per game. "As a team [though], we couldn't make shots."

Woodson was diplomatic in deflecting the blame from Anthony. But it was hard to ignore the way Melo struggled in crunch time.

All seven of his misses in the fourth quarter came with the Knicks trailing Boston by five points or fewer. Anthony missed three straight shots with the score tied at 82. He also went 2-for-5 from the free-throw line in the fourth, including two misses with 1:50 to play that could have snapped the 82-all tie.

"I was trying to do whatever I can to win the basketball game. I was just trying to be aggressive, but I missed a ton of shots," Anthony said.

Melo's Place

Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks' biggest star. He's also one of the all-time greats.
ESPN NY's Top 25 Knicks Photo Gallery Vote
Credit goes to Brandon Bass, who bothered Anthony all afternoon. But you also have to wonder if the Knicks forced Anthony into too many isolation sets, or vice versa.

New York had great success with Felton running the pick-and-roll in the third but seemed to lean on isolation plays in the fourth quarter and overtime.

For the game, Anthony operated in isolation on 49 percent of his possessions, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats and Information. It's worth noting that the Knicks were outscored by 10 points with Anthony on the floor.

Compared to Game 2, when Anthony was in isolation on 26 percent of his plays and the Knicks were plus-22 when he was on the floor, Sunday's ratio seems counterproductive.

Especially when you consider that Anthony's isolation sets late in the game seemed to come at Felton's expense. Coming off of a brilliant third quarter, Felton attempted just six shots combined in the fourth quarter and overtime. He had 16 points on eight shots in the third.

"At the end of the day you're going to live and die with your go-to guy," Felton said. I was able to get in the paint and hit some big shots, but when the game is on the line you're going to be getting the ball to No. 7. That's what we've been doing all year. There's no need to change it now."

The Knicks went to No. 7 again and again in overtime, but to little avail. Anthony missed three of his four attempts in the extra session, including a 3-pointer with the Knicks down three and 20 seconds to play.

"We as a team didn't shoot the ball well. I didn't shoot the ball well. But we look forward to Wednesday. I can tell you that," he said.
 4 years ago '04        #9780
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,636 | Props total: 2138 2138

BOSTON — Mike Woodson’s mysterious handling of rookie Chris Copeland took on another level yesterday.

With J.R. Smith out because of his one-game suspension, it was the perfect opportunity to let Copeland and his dreadlocks roam free on the parquet. Instead, Copeland, a Knicks fan favorite but occasionally a resident of Woodson’s doghouse, went from a starter in Game 1 to a DNP in yesterday’s 97-90 Game 4 overtime loss to the Celtics.

Woodson chose wily but rusty veteran Quentin Richardson for a 2:46 stretch of the first half, and the move backfired. Richardson’s stint was so ineffective — the club was a minus-6 — that he didn’t see time in the second half. However, Woodson still didn’t go with Copeland despite the Knicks’ sickly shooting (34.4 percent).

If Copeland proved anything in his regular season is he can score at will — with an inside and outside game.

Copeland, April’s Rookie of the Month, started Game 1 because of Pablo Prigioni’s ankle sprain and struggled. Copeland played garbage time in Games 2 and 3.

“I don’t want to say the wrong thing — sometimes you play, some you don’t,’’ Copeland told The Post. “You never know.’’

Woodson, who has ridden Copeland hard all season in practice, didn’t debrief Copeland before the game. Richardson, in his second Knicks stint, is completely out of rhythm after sitting out all regular season until the Knicks’ desperation signing in the final days of the regular season.

Richardson was 0-for-2 with his lowest moment coming on a driving layup when he failed to get it up to the rim. Woodson hooked him after that. Since yesterday was a gravy game, Woodson might have just wanted to see if Richardson can help in the future.

Copeland, the former Belgian leaguer who will be sought as a free agent, had his shoulder pop out in the regular-season finale vs. Atlanta. But he’s fine now.

“It’s not 100 percent but I was ready to go,’’ he said.

* Woodson gave a very firm “I’m not going to comment, not at all’’ when asked what he thought of Smith’s suspension.

Woodson, however, added, “He’s a little down. He’ll rebound from it. We’ll all rebound from it.’’

* Tyson Chandler continues to get better after looking lethargic in the first two games after dealing with flu-like symptoms during his six-game absence to close the regular season.

Chandler told The Post he dropped 10 pounds because he couldn’t eat, and Woodson said he needs to regain strength.

Chandler had only five points but was tough on the boards with 11 rebounds and a couple of trademark tap-outs, and Woodson kept him in down the stretch over Kenyon Martin as he logged a series-high 31:24.

“Each game he’s gotten better from Game 1 to now,’’ Woodson said. “He’s playing much better. We’re not burning him in terms of minutes.’’

* Marcus Camby and James White were also DNPs. ... Prigioni had another four steals but shot poorly — 1-for-6.

* Paul Pierce seemed confident before Game 4.

“I wanted to call some friends in New York and tell them I’d be out there for dinner,’’ he said.


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