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 5 years ago '04        #9761
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

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.
 5 years ago '08        #9762
AC_89 200 heat pts200
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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         #9763
bbiizzaa 
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Is it just me or does anyone else feel the knicks play better without carmelo?
 5 years ago '04        #9764
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Hahn

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.
 5 years ago '04        #9765
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Hahn

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?
 5 years ago '04        #9766
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

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 a.ss 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.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9767
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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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.
 5 years ago '04        #9768
Jae_Hood_354 135 heat pts135
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anyone seen this


[video - click to view]

 5 years ago '07        #9769
OG Perez 16 heat pts16
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^^
 5 years ago '04        #9770
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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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.
 5 years ago '04        #9771
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

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.
 5 years ago '04        #9772
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

BOSTON — J.R. Smith was suspended and not permitted inside the TD Garden yesterday. Carmelo Anthony’s jump shot was suspended, too, lost in some mysterious twilight zone.

Like Smith, Anthony failed to show up and the Knicks failed to sweep the Celtics.

Almost everyone but Anthony stepped up in Smith’s absence as the Knicks rallied from 20 points down to take the Celtics to overtime, but Melo’s shooting yips were too much to overcome. The Celtics are alive — at least until Wednesday — avoiding the broom and netting Game 4, 97-90.

They go back home to, as Tyson Chandler boasted, “Finish the job.’’

The Knicks didn’t finish it off yesterday on the parquet because Anthony couldn’t throw the ball into Boston Harbor, seemingly frazzled without his trusty sidekick, Smith, to take the burden off him. He finished a disastrous 10 of 35 from the field, including 0-for-7 from 3-point range, with seven turnovers.

Anthony wound up with 36 points as he sank 16 of 20 free throws. He resorted to driving the ball at all costs since he couldn’t find his jumper.

“As far as J.R. goes, we missed him, I missed him,’’ Anthony said. “But J.R. not being out there didn’t change how I shot the basketball today. Those shots I’ve taken all series. They weren’t falling tonight. My mama always said there were [going to be] days like this.’’

It was Anthony’s worst day since he returned in late March from a knee-drainage procedure. But not having Smith changed the balance of the offense, as Smith wasn’t there to play Robin to Anthony’s Batman. The Knicks shot 34.4 percent — 23.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line — and Anthony often tried to do too much without looking for his mates.

“I was trying to win the basketball game,’’ Anthony said. “It would’ve been a great feeling to close it out in Boston. I was trying to do whatever I could to win the basketball game. I was trying to be aggressive. I missed a ton of shots. I didn’t shoot the ball. Defensively we were still there.

“We look forward to Wednesday, I’ll tell you that.’’

Fittingly, Smith’s elbow victim, Jason Terry, became Boston’s hero, scoring the Celtics’ final nine points in the last 1:32 of overtime to close out the Knicks and set up Game 5.

Wasted were hearty efforts by Raymond Felton (27 points, three steals) and a big second half from Iman Shumpert (12 points, 12 rebounds, two steals).

“That’s where we’re comfortable at,’’ Felton said of the series returning to MSG. “We’re going back home to our comfort zone. We did our job, came here and got ourselves a win. We’d like to have both games, but that was our goal [a split].’’

Terry, who was clocked in the face by Smith’s elbow Friday in Game 3, broke the tie for good, pulling up on a fastbreak to swish a 3-pointer with 1:32 left to make it 91-88. Terry hit another pullup jumper to put the Celtics ahead 93-90 with 1:03 left.

Inbounding with 28.8 seconds left, down three, the Knicks weren’t dead yet. Anthony hit back iron on a 3-pointer. Steve Novak, in the game for his 3-point shooting, fouled Terry on the rebound battle and that was all.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to live and die with your go-to guy,’’ Felton said. “When the game was on the line, you’re going to give the ball to No. 7.

“They have a lot of pride. They didn’t want to get swept.’’

The Knicks didn’t have their first lead until 1:17 left in regulation, when Felton banged in a 20-footer. With a chance to win it in the final seconds, Anthony missed twice. He clanked a 3-pointer, but Chandler (11 rebounds) tapped it back. Anthony dribbled down the shot-clock and misfired again, making him 9 of 31. Garnett rebounded and the Celtics called timeout with 18 seconds left, but Paul Pierce (29 points) missed at the buzzer.

“We obviously missed J.R., but we still had our shots,’’ Chandler said. “We had seven bench points, but all that said we had an opportunity to win.’’

Anthony was 4 of 14 in the fourth quarter and OT.

“We shot 34 percent from the field and still put ourselves in position to win,’’ Anthony said. “There’s an upside to that.’’

The Sixth Man Award winner is back on Wednesday. That probably is upside enough.
 5 years ago '04        #9773
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Jonah Ballow

#Knicks will return to MSG Training Center this morning for practice. GM 5 is slated for a 7 PM tipoff at the Garden on WED.
 5 years ago '04        #9774
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Berman

J.R. Smith’s tweet following Game 1 against Boston 10 days ago said, “#Happy4/20.” April 20 is the unofficial holiday for pot-smokers. As father of a high-school junior and a college freshman, I prefer my kids don’t get that sort of encouragement from the winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.

The league was aware of the “#Happy4/20’’ tweet, but could do nothing about it. It’s a date. The Players a.ssociation would have had a legal field day appealing.

Those who watch Smith knew better not to believe Smith’s alibi of trying to create space. He’s sneaky in delivering his cheap-shots through the guise of basketball moves. We’ve seen it before. He has been ejected three times this season.

If the latest elbow was an accident, Smith would have bent over to see if Terry was hurt. Instead, Smith marched away with no remorse. Terry had been hounding him, slapping hard at the ball, triggering the bad J.R.

Unfortunately, Smith’s behavior matters too much. It won’t cost the Knicks the Boston series, as they should take out the aging Cetlics tomorrow in Game 5 at the Garden with Smith back in uniform and Carmelo Anthony back to himself.

Anthony looked like he missed Smith like a cat misses his food dish in Game 4.

That is the alarming truism about the 2012-13 Knicks. Smith is not just the league’s Sixth Man Award winner, but the Knicks’ most indispensable player. He’s taken for granted, along with his career-high 18.1 points and menacing rebounding.

When Anthony missed games this season, the Knicks managed to win some, with Smith playing hero. Smith beat Phoenix with a buzzer-beater with Anthony out. Smith beat Charlotte with a buzzer-beater with Anthony out the second half with a cut finger. The Knicks also won in Miami sans Anthony.

Smith played the season’s first 80 games before resting the final two with Anthony. Sunday became the first time Anthony was on the floor all season without his wing man. And Anthony failed, proving part of his MVP-caliber season is having one guy he counts on as much as himself.

Smith has taken mounds of pressure off Anthony, whose equilibrium was altered Sunday. Smith was back home watching the game in New York. Anthony’s 10-of-35 brickfest (including 0-for-7 from 3-point range) was his most selfish game this season. Anthony said he has respect for Smith’s scoring and has no problems sharing the spotlight.

“Of course it put a damper into a lot of our plans,’’ Anthony said.

Smith’s dark side is tough to explain. He was raised middle class, in Lakewood, N.J., by two attentive parents in Earl and Ida Smith. Earl Smith, a former Monmouth guard, taught J.R. everything about shooting technique. Earl also doesn’t have a tattoo on his body.

Some in the league wonder if Smith’s tough-guy behavior is an act to relate to the NBA’s hip-hop crowd. He is such a vital cog to the machine that the Knicks organization accepts Smith for who he is and desperately wants to re-sign him.

As much as Mike Woodson has toned him down and got him to stop wearing “sagging jeans’’ to the arena, the Knicks coach hasn’t completed the job. Smith still is the most likeliest Knick to start a brawl in these playoffs.

Woodson loves Smith’s toughness, but there’s a difference between being tough and being a hooligan. Anthony loves Smith’s ability as one of the few Knicks who can carry the scoring load on his back, giving him a breather. When they are on the court as a tandem, the Knicks are a plus-7.4 points per 100 possessions.

Smith is indispensable. He also is a powder keg.

“J.R. is a big-time scorer for us, makes a lot of tough shots for us,’’ Iman Shumpert said. “He’s another guy who plays the passing lanes and rebounds. We’re losing a lot not having J.R. We got to figure it out.’’

Hopefully the Knicks won’t have to figure it out without Smith against Miami in late May.
 5 years ago '04        #9775
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

Sunday was quite a way for Iman Shumpert to celebrate the one-year anniversary of tearing his ACL.

The Georgia Tech product has been looking a lot like his rookie self, a menacing defender and rebounder, armed with a dangerous 3-point shot. He’s also putting the ball on the floor and attacking the basket.

Shumpert was impressive in the second half Sunday against the Celtics, finishing with 12 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. On April 28, 2012, Shumpert collapsed on the Miami court in Game 1 after pushing off the wrong way on a drive.

One year later, the one thing he still doesn’t do much is dunk. That may not happen until next season. Shumpert, who returned Jan. 17, acknowledged his athleticism isn’t the same. Not yet. Shumpert often will move in for the k!ll and lay the ball in like it was the 1950s.

“I feel fine,’’ Shumpert said. “I know I’m going to be able to jump higher. That’s going to come. They told me I’m not going to be able to spring like I usually do. But I know that’s coming back anyway. Something I’m not worried about right now. It’s about winning.’’

The Chicago native had taken a lot of pride in his explosive dunking ability, but now he’s just making the smooth basketball play and playing like a demon defensively. It’s a good thing Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald passed on Phoenix’s offer to trade Shumpert for Jared Dudley earlier this season.

“I’m not really thinking about my knee,’’ Shumpert said. “We’ve just got to win games. I’ve got the whole summer to work on things to get myself where I want to be individually, athletically. Right now with how my knee feels, it’s good enough to play and I got to go out there and make plays.’’

He is and is making Paul Pierce’s life difficult.

“Last year I feel he cooked me,’’ Shumpert said. “I had all summer and all year to study all the guys that really gave me problems and he was one of them.’’

* Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin were teammates of Jason Collins on the Nets.

Martin played four seasons with Collins. Kidd played 6 1/2 seasons with Collins, who is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week announcing he is gay. Collins played 32 games with the Celtics this season before being traded to Washington in the Jordan Crawford deal.

* The Knicks, with their late surge, won’t select in the first round until the 24th pick. They will be looking for a point guard. Pablo Prigioni told The Post recently he wasn’t sure if he’ll return to the Spanish League and Kidd is 40 going on 41.
 5 years ago '04        #9776
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Ian Begley

First thing's first: The sky is not falling.

Sure, the New York Knicks missed a chance to sweep the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

But no team in NBA history has rebounded from a 3-0 deficit. And Boston has given no indication that it has the talent to make that kind of history.

So the Knicks, by all indications, will lock up the series and advance to the second round later this week.

But a trend has emerged during the series that bears watching.

Carmelo Anthony has struggled in isolation in the postseason, particularly in Game 4. This is troubling because the Knicks have used Anthony in isolation at a high rate in the playoffs.

In the regular season, Anthony was in isolation on 26 percent of Knicks' plays that ended with a field goal attempt, free throw or turnover from the All-Star. He had a 41.8 field goal percentage on such plays, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Information.

In the playoffs, Anthony has been in isolation on 43 percent of plays that end with the ball in his hand and has shot just 31 percent from the floor on those plays.

The iso-heavy offense seemed to hurt the Knicks on Sunday. Anthony was in isolation 49 percent of the time in Game 4. He shot 10-for-35 from the floor.

Of course, J.R. Smith's absence affected Anthony and the Knicks on Sunday. Smith was suspended for elbowing Jason Terry in the jaw in Game 3. If he were on the floor, things would presumably open up for Anthony.

But his opportunities late in Sunday's game seemed to come at the expense of Raymond Felton. Felton scored 16 points on eight shots in the third quarter to help the Knicks rebound from a 20-point deficit. In the fourth quarter and overtime, he took a combined six shots. Anthony, on the other hand, went 4-for-14 in the fourth quarter and OT.

"He missed some shots," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "But as a team we couldn't make shots. We struggled."

Surely, Anthony wasn't the only Knick whose shot was off in Game 4. The Knicks shot a combined 29 percent in the first half. But Anthony shouldered most of the blame after missing 25 shots.

"I just normally hit those shots. I’ve been taking them the whole series. They weren't falling tonight," Anthony said shortly after Sunday's game.

Maybe the Knicks would have been better served going with a balance between pick-and-rolls and isolation sets.

Felton thrived in the pick-and-roll in the third quarter on Sunday and the Knicks have had success on such plays in the postseason.

They are averaging 1.15 points per play on pick-and-roll plays and 0.67 points per play in isolation sets, per ESPN Stats and Information.

Of course, Anthony is at his best in isolation, not in the pick-and-roll. So it would be foolish to completely abandon Anthony's isolation sets and ask him to operate solely in the pick-and-roll. That would be like asking a world-class violinist to play trumpet.

So there's no need to overhaul the offense. Even though he was off on Sunday, the Knicks still had a chance to win the game. And Anthony still got a few key Celtics into foul trouble.

"At the end of the day, you're going to live and die with your go-to guy," Felton said after Sunday's game. "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."

Felton is right. There's no need to change anything. But maybe a less "iso Melo" would benefit everyone involved.
 5 years ago '04        #9777
Born_Loser|M 100 heat pts100
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Berman

.R. Smith is back tonight and ready to elbow the Celtics out of the playoffs.

The Knicks lead the Celtics, 3-1, in the best-of-seven first-round series and they expect to close out Boston in tonight’s Game 5 at the Garden after failing to do so Sunday.

Smith missed Game 4 because of a one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in the jaw. The Sixth Man Award winner claimed yesterday the series would have ended Sunday had he played — giving the Knicks their first playoff series win since 2000 — then the flaky shooting guard pretended he had never heard of Terry.

“I’m extremely [motivated],’’ Smith said in his first comments since getting suspended. “I can’t wait.’’

The Knicks don’t expect to revisit Boston Harbor until next season. Game 6 would be Friday in Beantown.

“It’s a must,” Smith said of Game 5. “We’re planning on not losing any games at our building. We’ve got to get this thing over as fast as we can so we can get [Jason] Kidd his rest, [Carmelo Anthony] his rest, and get prepared for the next series.”

The Knicks would face the winner of Atlanta-Indiana,which is deadlocked at 2-2. Smith believes the Knicks would have posted the Sunday sweep if he suited up in the 97-90 overtime loss.

“Oh yeah, it’d be over,’’ Smith said. “I would’ve been playing golf today.’’

The Knicks would have secured a week off if a pressing Anthony played a tad better than his 10-for-35, seven-turnover horror show. Melo has his wingman back tonight and no excuses.

“Oh, we want to end it,’’ Anthony said. “We came this far, did our job at home, got one on the road. We have an opportunity to end it here on our home court. It’s a special moment. It’s a very special moment for us as a team, for us as a city. As an organization, to do something special like that here on our home court. ”

Knicks coach Mike Woodson brimmed with confidence, too, yesterday.

“We’re in perfect position for our franchise and fans to get the job done so we can move on to the second round,’’ Woodson said. “I feel good about our chances. I’m hoping we can get everything finished off so we can get ready for Round 2.”

Smith, who played 80 of 82 regular-season games, missing only the final two to rest, has become the Knicks’ most indispensable player — the second sniper making it easier for Anthony.

The Knicks’ newest star claimed he didn’t know of the Celtics’ former Sixth Man of the Year, Terry.

Asked about Terry’s Game 4 overtime heroics, Smith deadpanned, “I don’t know who that is.’’

Is he concerned Terry might try to bait him tonight in his return?

“Who’s that?,’’ Smith said blankly. “I don’t know who that is. I’m sorry.’’

There have been suggestions on an earlier possession, Terry hit Smith in the groin area.

Smith seemed to confirm he took a low blow.

“I was [hit],’’ Smith said. “It don’t really matter. Me and my teammates were the only people who suffered from it. Nothing we can do about it now.’’

Smith left Boston Sunday morning and watched the game from New York.

“I wasn’t on the golf course,’’ Smith said. “I watched the game to see what happened. I wasn’t pleased with it. My teammates weren’t either. We got to make up for it [tonight].”

Anthony said he is thrilled to share the spotlight with his former Denver teammate. Anthony shrugged off criticism he shot too much Sunday because he refused to trust his teammates.

“We missed him,’’ Anthony said. “We miss his play off the bench. We miss him just being out there on the court with us — what he’s brought to our team this year. No lie, we missed him.”

Asked what he’s learned from the experience, Smith said, “Don’t throw elbows.’’

The Celtics view Terry as key to extending the series. The dueling sixth men appear primed.

“He’s going to come out and obviously be tough, aggressive, looking to be the spark for them,” Terry said. “But we’re just resilient, and it’s going to be a great game. I can’t wait to go.”

Woodson said he had a “major discussion’’ with Smith before he left Boston.

“It’s very important to have him,’’ Woodson said. “We missed 18 points the other night and still put ourselves in position to win the ballgame. J.R. is still a big piece to the puzzle. I hope he’s learned his lesson.’’

— Mark Hale contributed to this report
 5 years ago '04        #9778
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Berman

Jason Kidd won his second straight NBA Sportsmanship Award yesterday, becoming the first back-to-back winner.

Kidd, who won his first Joe Dumars Trophy last season with the Mavericks, received 91 first-place votes of a possible 355 from NBA players.

The annual award is said to reflect the ideals of sportsmanship: ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.

In between winning the two awards, Kidd was arrested last July for a DWI after allegedly smashing his SUV into a telephone pole in the Hamptons days after signing with the Knicks as a free agent.

Kidd’s lawyer, Edward Burke, said the case is still pending in Southampton Town Court after the latest court date two weeks ago was adjourned. Burke said he expects to have the case resolved by the end of summer.

Kidd, who turned 40 in March and has been extremely apologetic about the incident, bounced back from that rocky start and has been exemplary as a Knick, providing leadership, intangibles and defense.

“I’m trying to show them that you can win the Joe Dumars Award, too,’’ Kidd said yesterday. “You don’t just have to win the scoring title or the Sixth Man [Award]. It’s a great honor anytime you get recognized. I’ve won it twice, so hopefully I’m doing the right thing.’’

* Boston’s Jason Terry has been talkative lately, saying he is tired of the Knicks’ “showboating” and mocking J.R. Smith’s return from a one-game suspension, saying it’s not as if the Knicks were getting back Patrick Ewing.

Terry also told Kenyon Martin he wouldn’t let the Knicks dance at the Celtics funeral Sunday. Martin responded by saying the Knicks would wear black for Game 5 tonight.

“I don’t need any more motivation,’’ Martin said. “But he did add a little fuel to the fire. But I’m not fittin’ to go back and forth with him.’’

* Ewing returns to the MSG Network postgame show tonight.

“[Boston] is f!ghting for their lives and our guys are trying to finish it,’’ Ewing said yesterday. “The Knicks just have to stay focused. J.R.’s elbow to Jason Terry hurt the team. Getting J.R. back will be important, and the Knicks need to stay focused. They can’t get caught up in all of the hype if someone hits them.’’

— Additional reporting by Brian Lewis
 5 years ago '04        #9779
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Berman

A day after Jason Collins came out as gay, former teammates Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin said his decision will make the world a better place. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony gushed over Collins’ courage.

“It was a huge step for him to come out and make that statement,” Anthony said Tuesday before Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Celtics at the Garden. “For him to come out right now, be the first athlete to do so, it takes a big set to do that, especially in the society that we live in and knowing that everybody’s going to have something to say.

“For him to step up to the plate and do that, I’m pretty sure that will open the floodgates for a lot of other people.”

Collins came out in a first-person Sports Illustrated story published online Monday as the first active openly gay player in one of the four major U.S. leagues. While the Knicks generally applauded Collins’ courage, Anthony was proven right in that there were still those that had “something to say.’’

Larry Johnson, who played five years with the Knicks and is now a basketball and business operations representative, tweeted “don’t [know] Jason Collins personally but he seems like a great guy. Me personally gay men in the [locker] room would make me uncomfortable,” adding “Ppl! this is nothing against Jason or homos3xual’s, all I’m saying is this don’t belong in a man’s locker room.”

But Martin and Kidd, who played alongside Collins in New Jersey, both praised Collins’ courage and remain steadfast friends to this day.

“It takes a great man. I commend him for having the courage,” Martin said. “I have no problem with him. He was my friend before, he’ll still be my friend. He was a great teammate, helped us get to two Finals. ... Like he said, somebody had to be the one to raise their hand. He was the first to do it, so you have to take your hat off to him.”

Collins spoke with Kidd on Monday morning, hours before his revelation went public.

“Jason’s a good friend of mine and he was also a teammate in Jersey. He’s a true professional on and off the court,’’ Kidd said. “It takes a lot of courage what he did, but it’s just going to make the world a better place.’’

Woodson, who coached Collins in Atlanta in 2009-10, also spoke with his former player Monday.

“The decision that he made, we got to live with it. That’s his personal life. Life moves on. We got to move on,’’ Woodson said. “It’s something we can’t hide. It’s out there. He was man enough to step forward to express his feelings about it. We all know now. He’s going to live his life. I’ve got a game to win.’’

That game is against the Celtics, who traded Collins to Washington on Feb. 21. Collins is a free agent and it remains to be seen whether he will find work next season. Boston coach Doc Rivers — whom Collins already had confided in — said his s3xual orientation shouldn’t matter.

“I wasn’t surprised by the article or the statement because we’d talked about it recently,’’ Rivers said. “He told me he was coming out and I told him great. Good. Let’s move forward, and I jokingly said ‘I wish you could’ve got me more rebounds, because that’s all I care about, really.’ ”

— Additional reporting by Mark Hale, Marc Berman and Fred Kerber
 5 years ago '04        #9780
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Begley

Today's Burning Question: How important is J.R. Smith to the Knicks, and to Carmelo Anthony in particular?

Anyone who watched Knicks-Celtics on Sunday knows how much New York missed J.R. Smith. With Smith out due to suspension, the Knicks shot a shade under 29 percent in the first half and scored just seven bench points in the Game 4 loss.

"We missed him," Carmelo Anthony said on Tuesday. "We missed him just being out there on the court with us, what he’s brung to our team this year. No lie, we missed him.”

Anthony might have missed Smith more than any other Knick. He went 10-for-35 on Sunday without Smith, who was serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry in Game 3.

And there's evidence that Anthony's struggles with Smith out were no coincidence.

Statistically, Anthony does not fall off of a cliff with Smith out. His field goal percentage and the Knicks' offensive efficiency remain relatively consistent.

But there are some metrics that show Smith's presence has a positive impact on Anthony.

Plus-minus, though an imperfect measurement, hints at Smith's affect on Anthony.

The Knicks outscored opponents by 237 points when Anthony and Smith shared the floor in the regular season, according to NBA.com

They outscored opponents by 60 points when Anthony was on the floor without Smith.

Of course, those numbers are also influenced by the other Knicks on the floor, not just Smith and Anthony.

There is also evidence, though, that suggests Smith's presence helps Anthony's shot selection.

Thirty-four percent of Anthony's field goal attempts in the regular season came within five feet of the rim when he shared the floor with Smith on the floor, per an analysis run by NBA.com

That number dipped to just 21 percent when Smith was on the bench.

Forty-four percent of Carmelo's regular season shots were midrange jumpers when Smith was on the bench; just 35 percent of his shots were taken in the mid-range (between 15-23 feet) when Smith was on the floor, per NBA.com.

So Smith's return in Game 5 could provide both a boost to the Knicks' bench and a better boundary for Anthony's shot selection.

"It’s very important to have him back," Mike Woodson said of NBA's top sixth man. "J.R. is a big piece to the puzzle."

A big piece to the Knicks' puzzle, and, maybe, to Anthony's.

Today's Burning Question: How important is J.R. Smith to the Knicks, and to Carmelo Anthony in particular?
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