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 4 years ago '04        #9781
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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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.
 4 years ago '04        #9782
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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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
 4 years ago '04        #9783
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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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
 4 years ago '04        #9784
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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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
 4 years ago '04        #9785
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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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?
 4 years ago '04        #9786
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Hahn

Nice job by J.R. Smith at least making light of black attire #Knicks wore. Bad job by Kenyon Martin for bristling at the questions, especially since he inspired the black movement. Was in poor taste and bad judgement all around, wearing black to the supposed #Celtics funeral. Surprised Woodson let it happen - or maybe he didn't really believe it would happen. #Knicks are an old team but that doesn't mean they are as mature as I thought. Shocked Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler went along with it.
 4 years ago '04        #9787
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

The Knicks and J.R. Smith faded … to black.

In nothing short of a choke, the Knicks allowed the Celtics to keep their season alive and take Game 5 last night in a 92-86 shocker at the Garden, staving off the anticipated Boston “funeral.”

Once ready to sweep the Celtics, the Knicks cling to a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series which is headed back to Boston tomorrow, echoing memories of 2004 when the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to shock the Yankees.

No NBA team has recovered from a 3-0 series deficit.

The Knicks got too full of themselves in the past few days, and it cost them. Smith bragged the series would be over if he had not been suspended Sunday. And following the lead of Kenyon Martin, all Knicks players had black jackets and black slacks hanging in their lockers before last night’s potential Game 5 closeout, anticipating the demise of the Celtics’ season. Embarrassingly, they were forced to wear their all-black garb afterward.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
UGH! After arriving dressed in black for what the Knicks thought would be the Celtics’ funeral, J.R. Smith, tangles with Boston’s Jason Terry for a rebound during the Knicks’ 92-86 Game 5 loss last night at the Garden.

“We were going to a funeral, but it looks like we got buried,’’ said Smith, who said he won’t wear black to a game anytime soon. “We got humbled.’’

There was shoving and words after the final buzzer, and it appeared on replays as if Boston reserve Jordan Crawford made a vulgar comment about Carmelo Anthony’s wife. Again. No blows were thrown, but Raymond Felton had to be restrained, going after Crawford, who claimed he wasn’t in the vicinity. Kevin Garnett allegedly made a comment about Anthony’s wife, La La Vasquez, in a January game, prompting a postgame skirmish.

“Just bickering. Acting like a bunch of schoolgirls,” Smith said. “We got to just play basketball.’’

Smith, who got a standing ovation when he checked in with 6:38 left in the first quarter after serving his one-game suspension for elbowing Terry, was not the returning hero but the goat. He missed his first 10 shots in a horrendous outing, finishing 3-for-14 for 14 points, doing his best John Starks impression from the 1994 Finals.

Carmelo Anthony hurt his left shoulder early in the fourth quarter and labored through a 22-point, 8-of-24 dud. Anthony was 2 of 10 — 0-for-5 from 3-point land — in the second half but said he believes his shoulder “is fine.’’

Martin said after Game 4 he would wear black yesterday after Jason Terry told him Sunday he wouldn’t let the Knicks dance at their funeral. Martin and his teammates did, in a presumptuous move for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2000. It also seemed in bad taste considering the recent deaths at the Boston Marathon.

Martin scolded a Boston TV reporter who asked about the all-black outfits the Knicks wore in the dressing room afterward.

“I’m just answering basketball questions,’’ Martin said. “If you want to talk about basketball, we’ll talk about basketball.’’

Asked if the all-black getup incited the Celtics, Iman Shumpert said, “I couldn’t care less.’’

When Jeff Green rolled to the hoop for a driving dunk with 8:00 left, the Celtics led 75-60 and the Garden became stone-cold silent. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce each scored 16 points and Jason Terry banged in 17.

“I just got too excited,’’ Smith said. “I couldn’t wait to play.’’

The Knicks offense collapsed without the spark from Smith or Anthony. They shot 5-of-22 from 3-point range — their bread and butter.

“Everyone’s upset, everyone was frustrated,’’ Smith said. “ If anything they swung the pressure on us [to go to] their building. Worst comes to worst we have two more games. We have to get one more and move on.’’

“They did what they had to do,’’ Martin said. “They came here and stole one.’’

Anthony, whose voice was shaky afterward, said the Knicks still are in good postion.

“We’re good,” Anthony said. “We got two chances to close it out. We’ll see what we’re made of when we get out to Boston. We know they’d f!ght and they’ve thrown some punches at us.”

Smith was 0-for-10 until making his first field goal with 2:47 remaining — on a 3-pointer from the left wing. He made his next 3-pointer to bring the Knicks to within 88-83 with 1:05 left, but it was too late. Garnett (16 points) iced it with a 20-footer, pump-faking Tyson Chandler, to push the lead back to 90-83 with 48.3 seconds to go.

The Knicks looked primed to blow out Boston in taking an 11-0 lead before falling to pieces.

“We are missing shots we normally make,’’ Felton said. “There are a lot of things we have to clean up. Yes, we wanted to sweep them. We wanted to end it tonight. Things are not always the way you want it to be.’’

Anthony, who was 10-of-35 in

Game 4, missed badly on many of his jumpers and seemed tentative all second half.

“We’re just not making shots,’’ Anthony said. “Nothing Boston is doing.’’

“No need to panic,’’ Jason Kidd said. “We’re still up 3-2. We just have to win a game.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9788
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

Could Amar’e Stoudemire be ready for Sunday’s Game 7 if necessary? This series might go seven games and coach Mike Woodson was preparing Stoudemire for the second round, which still could begin Sunday if the Knicks put away the Celtics tomorrow. However, the focus has shifted.

This was supposed to be a nice week off for the Knicks, who were talking about sweeping or taking out the Celtics in five games. Stoudemire would be acclimated for the second round with some practices.

But now as the Knicks gather for today’s practice, the Celtics are the priority, not getting Stoudemire his scrimmages. There’s a good chance Stoudemire is saved for the second round — if they get there.

Stoudemire hasn’t played since March 7 vs. Oklahoma City and has logged just 29 games this season in which the Knicks were only three games above .500. Stoudemire has yet to be officially cleared for contact, but that’s imminent.

“He’s making progress,’’ Woodson said before last night’s horrible 92-86 Game 5 loss to the Celtics. “But he’s not ready to play in this series. Provided he doesn’t have any setbacks he’s looking pretty good. If we get this series [last night] we’ll have days to practice with him and give him an opportunity for contact. That’s what he needs more than anything. If we can do that, we’ll evaluate and see where he is and maybe he can play.’’

Woodson repeatedly has said he will throw Stoudemire right into the second-round fire — which could turn into a dicey proposition. Stoudemire was rusty upon his first return on Jan. 1 from knee surgery. It took him at least a half-dozen games to look sharp offensively.

“We got to help Amar’e along a bit too,’’ Woodson said, regarding the decision to practice most of the next few days. “Were going to have to have guys ready to play [scrimmage], guys who haven’t played a lot of minutes in the series. Set them up to play where he can get some contact before we make a decision to put him back in uniform.’’

➤ Jason Kidd was presented the NBA Sportsmanship Award last night before the game. It was his second straight year he had won the honor. He is the first NBA player to win the award, given to the player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” in consecutive seasons. It is voted on by the players.

➤ Chris Copeland received two second-place and two third-place votes to finish seventh in the Rookie of the Year balloting. Pablo Prigioni didn’t receive a vote. The award went to Portland’s Damian Lillard.

➤ The Knicks turned the ball over nine times last night and still lost. … Steve Novak suffered back spasms and wasn’t available for the second half.
 4 years ago '04        #9789
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Jared Zwerling

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Are the Knicks on the verge of a historic collapse?

This is the first time in franchise history the Knicks have gone up 3-0 in a playoff series and then lost their next two games.

While that rings up some uneasiness among Knicks fans, the bottom line is this: No team has ever come back from down 0-3 to win a series.

The Knicks are also in the driver's seat because Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have mostly played well in the series, and it's been rare for them this season to have a poor shooting performance two or three games in a row. But they're good scorers and find ways to adjust. That's a credit to their maturity, which Mike Woodson and their teammates have addressed this season. Another plus is that they're surrounded by several prolific veterans who have led their teams to deep playoff runs -- even the championship.

While the Knicks' funeral look before Game 5 exuded confidence, they shouldn't act too confident on the court in Game 6. That mentality got them into trouble on Wednesday night, and it showed in their lazy defensive rotations. The Celtics had some of the most wide-open looks they've had all series, and they finished at 45.7 percent from the field (the Knicks were at 39.5). The Celtics brought more of an intensity to the game.

The overall key for the Knicks in Game 6 is their half-court execution, on both ends of the floor. The Knicks are going to look to take advantage of their smaller lineups by pushing the pace, but the Celtics' transition defense has improved in the series. Therefore, when the Knicks are forced to slow it down and run half-court sets, they will need to be more clever and efficient than resorting to isolation play, like in Games 4 and 5.

The Knicks need to be more active offensively and defensively like they were when they took a 3-0 lead -- not active off the court. Enough with Smith saying things like the Celtics should be swept so he can play golf, or the team suggesting they're going to a Celtics burial with their black attire. That's only fuel for the Celtics.

The Knicks need to let their play on the court do the talking, but will it adjust well enough to stave off the Celtics?
 4 years ago '07        #9790
Funeral James 24 heat pts24
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whats goin on with the chemistry? last 2 games should have been easy wins..

imma need these dudes to get it together and make it to the finals




  16 - 22 STRK: 1 w in a row WIN PCT: 42% 464 (-9) 
  Career: | Aug 16: 47-24, Rank #82 | Aug 15: 53-44, Rank #135 | Aug 14: 155-91, Rank #48 | Aug 13: 64-32, Rank #54 | Aug 12: 212-123, Rank #30 | Aug 11: 333-187, Rank #38 | Aug 10: 1090-567, Rank #11 | Aug 09: 2-1, Rank #328 | Aug 08: 3-1, Rank #625 *
 4 years ago '04        #9791
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ego happened, plain and simple. dumbasses thought it was gonna be a cakewalk
 4 years ago '04        #9792
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Jared Zwerling

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- During Thursday morning's practice, Carmelo Anthony received treatment for his left shoulder, which he hurt in the fourth quarter of Game 5 after getting tangled up with Kevin Garnett.

Mike Woodson said he doesn't believe the injury will affect Anthony in Game 6 on Friday night in Boston.

"He's fine," the coach said. "Melo's a tough kid, he'll be back."

No player has had to grind more for his shots in the series than Anthony, who's been facing multiple matchups, constant double-teams and the physical nature of the Celtics' defense. Raymond Felton said the team needs to make things easier for him.

"Melo is taking a beating," he said. "Those guys are really being physical with him, beating him up. It's just one of those things where we have to give him some help, plain and simple."

The Knicks know they need to generate better ball flow, and Woodson said he'll likely give Pablo Prigioni more playing time in Game 6. The Argentine only played 13 minutes in Game 5.

In addition, Anthony might play more point forward to create easier scoring opportunities.

"Basically they've shrunk our offense by just staying at home on shooters," Woodson said. "So we've got to get the ball moving two or three passes more before we let it go, and not quick shooting as much."

Overall, Woodson doesn't take issue with his team's defense. After watching video of Wednesday night's loss, he thought his players contested the Celtics' shots down the stretch.

"If you look at Paul [Pierce], he hit a couple of 3s with a man right in his face, which he's capable of doing," he said. "And then [Jeff] Green hit two 3s deep in the corner. So those are big buckets -- even the shot that Garnett hit on Tyson [Chandler] at the top when it was, I think, about a four- to six-point game. ... I think defensively we're doing what we're supposed to do. We've just got to figure out offensively."

NOVAKAINE SHOT? Woodson said Steve Novak (back spasms) is doubtful for Game 6. The sharpshooter only played three minutes on Wednesday night. He was pulled out early in the second quarter and never returned to the game.

STAT UPDATE: Amar'e Stoudemire continued to participate in some team drills on Thursday, but he's still not scrimmaging. That will be the big test for his return, which will likely be in the second round if New York beats Boston.

"He's great," Felton said. "He's working hard to try to get himself back. If we can close this thing out in this first round, get on to the second round, hopefully we can have him back by then. ... Any time you've got a big-time scorer like that down in the post, it's always good to have him back on the court for sure."
 4 years ago '04        #9793
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

BOSTON – Carmelo Anthony said his wife La La Vazquez has a right to be “upset’’ that her name is reemerging during the Celtics series.

Boston reserve Jordan Crawford, according to amateur internet lip-readers, shouted a vulgar remark at the Knicks star about Vazquez after the final buzzer of Wednesday’s Game 5.

Vazquez instagrammed her disapproval Thursday.

“ I would be upset too if I was her,’’ Anthony said at the Knicks’ shootaround at Suffolk University this morning before the crucial Game 6. “She’s always getting thrown into the mix of the Boston Celtic series. I would be upset if I was her. She’s her own person at the end of the day.’’

The Knicks resume their series with Boston ahead 3-2 but after holding a 3-0 bulge.

“It’s nonsense to me,’’ Anthony said. “I don’t pay attention to it. I told you the other day it wasn’t worth you all typing that.’’

La La posted on her Instagram page: “STRONG WOMEN only intimidate weak men,” in a dig at Crawford.

She also wrote in a comment, “Try again. You on the bench for a reason.”

According to replays, it appears Crawford may have mouthed “That mother-.. “bleeped’’ your wife.’’ Carmelo Anthony (right) and wife LaLa Vazquez at the Jordan Brand National Game.Carmelo Anthony exchanges words with members of the Boston Celtics after Game 5.

It was in reference to Kevin Garnett, who allegedly set off a firestorm Jan. 7 at the Garden in which he may have said to Anthony that Vazquez “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.’’ Anthony tried to f!ght Garnett at the Celtics' team bus after the contest.

Wednesday, Anthony remained relatively calm after the remark but Raymond Felton tried to get at Crawford and needed to be restrained.

“As far as anything, basketball is the first priority,’’ Anthony said Friday. “No disrespect to anyone else. I’m trying to win this series. I told you all year long I’m not letting any negativity into our locker room or circle. That’s the way it’s going to be.’’

Unfortunately it hasn’t been that way in recent days. The Knicks have been pilloried for wearing all-black to Game 5 in honor of the Celtics “funeral.’’

Some guys on the team brought it up as a team,’’ Anthony said. “As a team we all followed through with it. We stuck together as a team. I don’t think any correlation to how we went out there and played. Being too overconfident , c*cky or arrogant. I know that didn’t have anything to do with game 5 at home. I thought we’d come out with a little more energy,’’
 4 years ago '08        #9794
AC_89 172 heat pts172
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$36,523 | Props total: 9192 9192
No more 1st round or series win jokes onto indy i think the boston series is gonna help us out alot against the pacers i like us in 6 again
 4 years ago '10        #9795
Blkboipurp 
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$14,229 | Props total: 5484 5484
I loved the way Felton and Shumpert played that series....you can tell those dudes really took it to heart
 4 years ago '04        #9796
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Mark Hale

There is so much that Jason Kidd offers apart from scoring. He brings calmness, wisdom and experience, he’s active defensively and, as the backup point guard, he’s a facilitator for his teammates.

But over the course of the season, Kidd still delivered some scoring — especially when it mattered. He beat the Nets with a game-winning 3-pointer. He sank two from long distance against the Celtics in Game 1.

In the last five games, however, Kidd’s scoring has been a complete zero; he’s gone scoreless since Game 2 against the Celtics. The 40-year-old has missed all 10 shots he’s taken in this five-game scoring drought (0-for-5 from 3-point range). In Game 1 against Indiana on Sunday, he clanged his one attempt (also a 3).

“Jason’s gonna be there when it counts,” Mike Woodson said yesterday.

Kidd has been big in the playoffs during his career, carrying the Nets to two NBA Finals and winning a championship with the Mavericks two years ago. His lack of scoring now isn’t about being scared of the big stage.

And Kidd’s lack of scoring certainly isn’t the Knicks’ primary problem. He averaged 6.0 points during the season, so the team doesn’t need him to score to win — it’s not as if he’s J.R. Smith. Still, when Kidd literally offers zero from a scoring standpoint, it heaps even more pressure on Smith, Carmelo Anthony and Co.

Does Kidd need or want to be more aggressive? Not in his eyes.

“I’m gonna play the game the right way,” he said. “If a shot presents itself, I’ll take it. And if it doesn’t, I’m gonna try to get one of my teammates a shot. That won’t change.”

During the season, Kidd shot just 37 percent from the field but was a solid 35 percent from 3. In the playoffs, he’s just 3-for-18 overall and 3-for-12 from deep, averaging 1.6 points.

“We hadn’t played him a lot of big minutes,” Woodson said. “We’re kind of shuffling Jason, Pablo [Prigioni] and Raymond [Felton], both at the point and off-guards. And then you’ve got J.R. and Iman [Shumpert]. You can throw them in the mix.

“It’s a lot of players we’re trying to play, but there’s not a lot of minutes to give everybody big minutes. We’re trying to mix and match and do the best we can.”

While Kidd only played 17 minutes in Game 1, he’s averaging 25 per game in the playoffs, near his regular season mark of 27.

He’s not likely to play more, but scoring more — or at all — would be a lift.
 4 years ago '04        #9797
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Hahn

Woodson's not ready to tear up the playbook after one game. #Knicks "small" lineup won't change for Game 2. More:

"It's too early in the series," Woodson said of making a change in his lineup by inserting Kenyon Martin into the power forward spot and moving Carmelo Anthony to small forward.

"Last I checked, statistics-wise, we're been pretty darn good with Melo playing at the four spot," Woodson added. "So I don't see any reason to change that now."

Despite Indiana's imposing front line, with 7-footer Roy Hibbert and the burly David West, the Knicks went 2-1 against the Pacers during the regular season with Melo playing at the power forward spot.

They also won 54 games and the Atlantic Division with this as the primary lineup.

Martin suggested after Game 1 that the Knicks should try him next to Tyson Chandler and get Melo away from West. I also added that Marcus Camby needs to be dusted off and used in this series, which may be the only time this season where he is needed most.

Woodson so far is halting talk of a format change, but he did not completely rule out going big in this series.

"I'm not saying I won't do that, but we've got only one game under our belt," he said. "The small lineup that started [Game 1] didn't cost us the game."

He's right. The Knicks held a 27-22 lead after the first quarter. It was the bench play in the second quarter that cost them the lead and sucked momentum away.

But Anthony took a beating in the game and the Pacers thrived off the physicality. It might be a move to consider, even in small spurts, as this series moves forward.

"We'll gauge that [in Game 2]," Woodson said. "If we've got to make that adjustment, I'll be the one to make that call."

After tonight, the Knicks will have three days to draw up a new game plan for Game 3. But if they need a new game plan, it may already be too late.

Should they stick with what has worked all season, or should they load up the front line and go big?
 4 years ago '04        #9798
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Hahn

On the maddening disappearance of Carmelo's scoring touch and how he gets his groove back:

The rest of us only know of The Zone for a fleeting few moments. It's an incredible rush. Catch-and-shoot with no feeling at all and the damn thing goes in. Money.

When it goes, you just shrug. That was fun, now back to being a mortal.

But when you watch Steph Curry last night in San Antonio, or Carmelo Anthony through pretty much the entire month of April, you see a Zone that appears to have perpetuity. It's like someone switched on the cheat code. It's an unfair advantage.

And it's so easy for the shooter to get lazy. Shots come easy. Off-balance, one-leg, spinning -- regardless. Every shot is pure.

The problem comes when they stop going in. You think to yourself, 'I'm not doing anything differently.' But you are. In fact, you have been for a while. You just didn't realize it because every damn shot was just a trip to the ATM. Not my ATM, not your ATM. Melo's ATM.

In his first three playoff games, Melo shot 46.2% and averaged 32 points per game. In his last four, he's shooting 31.8% and averaging 26.5 points.

A bulk of the issue is his scoring from behind the three-point arc. He's turned that shot into a weapon -- a devastating one at times -- over the last two seasons, but it's been a fickle device. He made 8 of his first 14 from downtown during the first three games against Boston. Since then? He's missed 22 of the next 24.

These things do come and go, but when they go, Melo has a hard-headed tendency to keep firing away. Mike Woodson would like to see him regroup and recalibrate.

"I just think some of the shots he's taking, he made early in the year, middle of the year . . . some of those shots are not falling," Woodson said, delicately identifying The Zone shots. "So we've got to find other means for him to score the ball. I've got to help him in that area, as well."

Melo seems to work happier in isolation, but he actually gets himself going into rhythm playing in pick-and-pop situations.

I expect to see some more "action" in sets called for him in Game 2. We'll see if he can find another access door into The Zone.
 4 years ago '04        #9799
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
ZACH BRAZILLER

Pass the ball!

That was the bold suggestion from the Twitter account of Knicks legend Bernard King for what Carmelo Anthony needs to do to lead the Knicks past the Pacers and into the Eastern Conference Finals, especially if his left shoulder can be blamed for his shooting woes in the playoffs.

“If Carmelo’s shoulder is hurting that bad - work the paint- drive and dish - become a facilitator - it’s a TEAM game,” read the post on King’s Twitter account, @30BernardKing. “The Knicks MUST move the ball more and take the open shots - must stop heaving up bad shots because the shot clock is running out.”

A Knicks official told The Post last night an unnamed King friend and co-worker writes on the account and King “disagrees with the sentiment.” King, who now lives in Atlanta and has worked for MSG Network on its post-game show in the postseason, was unhappy with the friend and shut the account down, a Knicks official said.

Anthony, the NBA regular-season scoring champion, has struggled in the postseason, despite his 28.9 points per game average. He’s averaging 26 field-goal attempts in seven playoff games, making an average of 10. He was 10-for-28 in Sunday’s 102-95 Game 1 loss to the Pacers and missed 25 shots — more than LeBron James missed the entire first round — in a Game 4 loss to the Celtics.

Anthony’s field-goal percentage during the regular season was just under 45 percent, which is why he was considered for league MVP. In the playoffs, that has dipped down to 38 percent.

Anthony has just 12 a.ssists in the playoffs, an average of 1.7 per game, nearly a full a.ssist less than he produced during the regular season.

“I was always taught - Take High Percentage shots - don’t force it - don’t be a one man show - don’t over dribble - ball movement,” the friend wrote on King’s Twitter page.

When reached by the Post’s Steve Serby, the Hall of Famer reiterated he didn’t post the comments, and said of Anthony: “He’s handled the pressure very well in New York City. He’s a more complete player than I ever was.”
 4 years ago '04        #9800
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

J.R. Smith blew off the media yesterday after practice, but has told fans directly his disastrous 4-of-15 outing in Sunday’s Game 1 is unrelated to a perception he partied at the 40/40 Club on 25th Street and Broadway Saturday night. Game 1’s start time was 3:30 p.m., with the players expected to show up at the arena before 2 p.m.

Past midnight Saturday, the official Twitter account of the 40/40 club announced Smith was in the saloon watching the Floyd Mayweather f!ght, which ended close to 1 a.m. A 40/40 Club publicist confirmed the tweet was genuine. The tweet didn’t mention whether he was drinking or how late he stayed at the sports bar/nightclub.

In response, Smith tweeted to those who were worried that his poor game was related to his 40/40 Club appearance: “First an formost I wasn’t clubbing before the game so y’all can k!ll that. Don’t try an find reasons when I miss shots! #Ho.’’

One of the narratives from his Sixth Man Award campaign is Smith’s decision to tone down his nightlife that he candidly admitted hurt productivity in his first season as a Knick. Smith is expected to opt out to become a free agent in July, but his recent tailspin won’t help his market value.

Smith has been a train wreck since elbowing Jason Terry in the face late in Game 3’s victory in Boston. He was suspended for Game 4, then had clunkers in Games 5 and 6.

Smith was 3-of-14 in his return in Game 5, then 5-of-13 in Game 6. In the past three games, Smith is shooting 12-of-42, dropping his shooting percentage for the playoffs to 36.4 percent. His defense on Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson was also poor.

“It’s just one of those things you go through,’’ Smith said after the game. “Hopefully it comes back soon. It doesn’t affect my confidence at all because if I miss 20 in a row, I’m still going to shoot 21 and 22.’’

* Mike Woodson scoffed when told Raymond Felton mentioned he thought the Pacers were playing extra physical and looking to bang Carmelo Anthony because of his sore left shoulder. “It was a physical game on both ends and they answered the bell,’’ Woodson said.

* Steve Novak, who has missed the last three playoff games with back spasms, is on the mend. He did shooting drills, though Woodson doesn’t think he’ll play tonight. He’s likely to be ready for Saturday’s Game 3.
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