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 5 years ago '04        #9801
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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Berman

Next stop, Stoudemire!

When the Knicks play Game 3 Saturday at Indiana, Amar’e Stoudemire is expected not only to dress but he will get minutes, coach Mike Woodson said yesterday

Stoudemire, coming off his second knee debridement surgery, staged his second 3-on-3 scrimmage yesterday, and he will finish off his trial run tomorrow with a 5-on-5. If he doesn’t get hurt, he will be cleared to play Game 3 by Knicks medical director Lisa Callahan tomorrow afternoon before they fly to Indianapolis.

Though the Knicks were told to report to their practice facility yesterday, the media were not invited to watch Stoudemire’s second scrimmage. His first one didn’t go well as he was outplayed by center Earl Barron.

However, Woodson said on his ESPN Radio show all Stoudemire systems are go.

“He’s working his butt off to get back in uniform,’’ Woodson said. “We’re going to play him. He won’t be able to play big minutes, but we’re going to play him. We expect him to do his part when he’s in the game. It’s just that simple. Amar’e’s a big piece to this team. He tells me and the medical people he’s ready to go come Saturday, we’re going to throw him out there and see what he got.’’

It could be either a great comeback story or a complete disaster. In his interview with the media after his first scrimmage, Stoudemire said, “There’s no fear. I have no fear at all.’’

Stoudemire was on a 30-minute cap limit for the entire season and will be on an even tighter limit this go round. Still, he will take minutes from Chris Copeland and Steve Novak, who made his return in Game 2. He will never be a great defender but they could use his post scoring, especially if J.R. Smith doesn’t snap out of his haze.

“I have no control over my impact,’’ Stoudemire said.

* Woodson finished third in voting for NBA Coach of the Year. The winner was Denver’s George Karl followed by Miami’s Eric Spoelstra.

* Carmelo Anthony commented on the Boston writer who voted him MVP, denying LeBron James an unanimous selection.

“As far as the guy in Boston, I don’t know why he caught so much flak for that,’’ Anthony said. “He has a right to vote for whoever he wanted to. LeBron won MVP, why is everybody so mad that he didn’t win it unanimously?’’

* Perhaps the new Garden “Pab-lo, Pab-lo’’ chants will have an effect on keeping emerging point guard Pablo Prigioni, 35, in a Knicks uniform next season.

Prigioni purposely signed only a one-year deal last July with the Knicks to give him options this summer. Sources said the Knicks wanted a two-year deal, but Prigioni rebuffed them.

Prigioni, because he is technically a rookie, could only sign for the NBA minimum of $473,000. He told The Post in January he still hasn’t made up his mind on returning to the Spanish League next season or remaining in the NBA. The Knicks may have to use part of their mini mid-level exception of $3.1 million to retain him.

Prigioni moved into the starting lineup on March 18, and the Knicks have excelled since. During their 30-2 run Tuesday, Prigioni played a major role on both ends.

“It was his spark that jumpstarted us,’’ Woodson said. “He’s a kid I didn’t know coming into this season — what little I saw of him in London in the Olympics. He’s done more than I can ever imagine a player doing for our ballclub. I didn’t forget Game 6 in Boston.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9802
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Jared Zwerling

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Knicks have established a playing-time plan for Amar'e Stoudemire, stating that the power forward will play between 10 and 15 minutes Saturday in his return from knee surgery.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson acknowledged earlier this week that Stoudemire, who hasn't played since March 7 while recovering from right knee debridement, could play in Game 3 of New York's Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Indiana Pacers.

Woodson laid out a more detailed plan Thursday after Stoudemire did not experience any setbacks during his recovery.

"It won't be very many minutes," Woodson said. "I'm thinking somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, if that."

The Knicks also are taking into account Stoudemire's return earlier this season from left knee debridement.

"We have talked about [managing expectations]," Woodson said. "I thought maybe we might have pushed a little too much early on, so we've got to be really cautious this time around -- just to make sure that we're doing the right things with him.

"It's not that we didn't think that when he came back the first time, but this time, we really have got to be cautious. He understands; he has no choice."

Stoudemire doesn't care how much he plays -- he just wants to help the team any way he can.

"It's whatever. It's a matter of will," Stoudemire said. "I can play whatever the coaching staff wants me to play. ... Any time you get on the court, you have a chance to make an impact on the game. So if I'm able to play for Game 3, however time coach Woodson puts me in for, I'm going to definitely contribute."

Stoudemire also believes he can be the same dominant player during the time he's in the game.

"Despite injuries, I still have to work and definitely work toward becoming that great player again," he said. "So as I continue to practice and get in better shape and improve, I should be able to play at a high level."

Stoudemire returned to the court Thursday to take full contact in scrimmaging for the second time this week. The first time was on Monday in 3-on-3 play against his teammates, and then Wednesday was a recovery day with only shooting and conditioning.

On Thursday, he upgraded to 4-on-4 play and continued to look quick and explosive with his low-post moves. Most importantly, he was able to take strong contact down low and finish around the rim.

"Today I felt even better," he said. "I did a lot more today also, so a great sign."

Stoudemire knows it will be a challenge facing Indiana's skilled front court which features Roy Hibbert, David West and Tyler Hansbrough.

"I've been playing against these guys my whole career," he said. "They know me and I know them, so it's going to be a battle regardless of who's out there on the court. We've got to have our focus and our determination. It's going to be a great chance to get out there, so hopefully I'm ready for Game 3."

Knicks center Tyson Chandler can't wait to have Stoudemire back.

"He's been so focused and working on things and really paying attention to the schemes," Chandler said. "We're playing against a good team, big lineups. It's a great opportunity for him to be out there. He'll give us a scoring presence on the block, so we could really use him right now."

Stoudemire said he feels similar to when he returned on New Year's Day, after coming back from left knee debridement. He was able to play about two and a half months straight without missing a game. But there's a little extra excitement this time around as he'll be embarking on his eighth playoff run.

"It means everything to really be able to contribute and contend for a title," he said. "I mean, obviously we have a lot more to go -- we have a game to win in Indiana -- but to be able to contribute, it would be awesome."
 5 years ago '04        #9803
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Hahn

#Knicks believe the issue with their offense has more to do with the pace than the Pacers. More:

Indiana's defense has given the Knicks trouble in Games 1 and 3 of this series. Aside from that breakout in the second half of Game 2, which saw a 30-2 run and a 33-13 fourth quarter, the Knicks have allowed themselves to fall into a halfcourt slugfest.

"We're playing too slow," Mike Woodson said.

Despite having the third-best offense in the NBA during the regular season, Woodson's team never was a team that consistently played at a high pace. In fact, during the season they were 26th in the league in pace at 89.8.

But in the playoffs, they've been even slower, at 87.1, which is the slowest among the remaining eight teams.

That's exactly what Indiana wants.

"We've got to get out and run," Tyson Chandler said for the umpteenth time in the playoffs. "I think right now we're not doing a good job getting out on the break. We're walking the ball up the floor, our wings are not busting out. We've just got to get the ball out quick. That's the only way to generate pace."

Chandler is a proponent of an up-tempo attack, but what he doesn't acknowledge is that he could be a difference-maker if he ran the floor harder, too. Roy Hibbert, who has dominated him in the paint, can not run with him. Chandler could effectively take him out of the game by out-running the lumbering big man.

Also, Chandler can help by grabbing more than 4 rebounds per game (his series average so far). The fact that the Pacers have had big efforts on the offensive glass are the reasons why they won Games 1 and 3 and why the Knicks can't get out and run.
 5 years ago '04        #9804
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS - Carmelo Anthony seemed perplexed by comments made by Tyson Chandler that the club is not sharing the ball enough. The Knicks’ offense was woeful Saturday as they scored 71 points and shot 35 percent in the Game 3 loss to the Pacers.

Chandler made critical comments about the club’s offensive mindset at Sunday’s practice. He also ripped the team Saturday night after the loss, saying the club is “not following the game plan’’ on defense in terms of helping him with center Roy Hibbert.

After Monday’s early practice, Anthony said, “I don’t want to go back and forth with that. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about. But if he feels that way, we’re about to get together right now amongst ourselves and figure that out and get his take and perspective on that comment. We’ll handle that internally and figure it out among ourselves.’’

Anthony said everything looks bad when shots are not falling.

Sunday, Chandler said, “Honestly, I think we’re doing it to ourselves. I watched the tape myself and there’s open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of your teammates. When you drive in the paint and you draw, you kick it. I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.”

Anthony took three shots in the fourth quarter and 16 in the game, so Chandler could have been referring to J.R. Smith (4 for 12 from floor in Game 3).

“I’m not saying that anybody’s doing it maliciously,’’ Chandler said. “I think it’s more so you get in a situation where you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot, where you have to just stick to the game-plan. Good teams win basketball games, unless you’re a great, great, great, great individual.”

Woodson said it’s good Chandler aired the criticism publicly about the offensive flow, saying it is something that sometimes is needed.

"I don't get mad at things like that,'' Woodson said. "When there's bickering among each other it's pretty healthy but I don't mean to call it bickering. It's being a good teammate.''
 5 years ago '07        #9805
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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let's go.... tonight we turn the series around... Knickstape bi*ches...
 5 years ago '04        #9806
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — J.R. Smith missed practice again yesterday and was called “a game-time decision’’ by coach Mike Woodson. But there’s good news on Smith’s health as he was spotted Sunday at about 10:30 p.m. at Steak N Shake.

Smith was seen at the downtown Indianapolis landmark with his brother Chris Smith and Knicks forward James White, who will be deactivated tonight.

Smith was holding a bag of food.

Woodson said Smith is still “sick’’ and he and Kenyon Martin, also with a flu bug, are being quarantined from the team so it won’t spread. Martin also missed his second straight practice yesterday.

Barring a relapse, it’s all but certain Smith will play. He said as much after Saturday’s game but the Knicks will list him as questionable.

“He’ll be fine,’’ Carmelo Anthony said. “I haven’t seen J.R. They’re keeping him away from everybody. I’m pretty sure from what I’m hearing, he’ll be ready for [tonight]. If they got to keep him away from us to make it happen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about our game plan. It’s just a matter of him getting his health back.’’

Smith also has to get his shot back. Smith was 4-of-12 under duress Saturday to move his five-game playoff ledger to 19-of-69, coinciding with his return from suspension.

Smith, who has been criticized for his late-night carousing in Manhattan before and after the first two games, including with Rihanna, has stopped tweeting on his controversial account. He hasn’t tweeted since May 6 when he denied he was “clubbing.’’ The Knicks have not told him not to tweet.

His brother is doing it for him on his account. Chris Smith, a training camp invitee who tore his patella tendon, is rehabbing with the club and is expected to be on the roster next season if Smith is. In fact, they could be a package deal in an attempt to match another team’s higher offer when J.R. is a free agent. Tweeted Sunday: “Indy is boring as heck. But sometimes you need that in your life in the room watching movies with my big bro @TheRealJRSmith.’’

* Tyson Chandler was voted in as a first-team All Defense — selected by the coaches. Last year, after winning Defensive Player of the Year, he was selected to the second team and called it “ridiculous.’’ His opponent in the series, Roy Hibbert, did not make any of the defensive teams.

Chandler and Joakim Noah finished tied for the fifth spot.

* Woodson said of Martin’s bug: “It’s not that severe, but he’s heading in that direction. We’ve just got to be careful there.”

* Woodson won’t come down on Jason Kidd and his seven-game scoreless streak.

“Guys, he only shoots maybe one or two shots,’’ Woodson said. “I can’t point the finger just at Kidd on making buckets for us. It’s a total team effort.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9807
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — The Knicks are bickering about their impotent offense as they enter tonight’s humongous Game 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in disarray.

It’s all going haywire for the Knicks at the wrong time, trailing the Pacers 2-1 in their second-round series. Call them the Bickerbockers.

Carmelo Anthony was perplexed by negative comments made the past two days by center Tyson Chandler.

“I don’t want to go back and forth with that,” Anthony said. “I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about. But if he feels that way, we’re about to get together right now amongst ourselves and figure that out and get his take and perspective on that comment. We’ll handle that internally and figure it out among ourselves.”

Sunday, a day after ripping the defense because the Knicks “abandoned the game plan” and are “playing like individuals,” Chandler took aim at the offense, indicating some are playing too selfishly and not passing the ball. The Knicks scored 71 points on 35 percent shooting in Game 3.

Chandler may or may not have been talking about Anthony, who took just three shots in the fourth quarter of that game and 16 total. But that was how some perceived it. Chandler could have been pointing the finger instead at J.R. Smith (4-for-12) and point guard Raymond Felton (1-for-8). Chandler was the first to tout Anthony as MVP earlier this season and was close to him as an Olympic teammate, but was not happy with Anthony last season during the Melo/Jeremy Lin rift.

The Knicks offense isn’t the only sick case. Smith and Kenyon Martin are being quarantined from the team because of a flu bug and missed their second straight practice. Iman Shumpert has a bruised left knee — the same knee in which he tore his ACL last postseason — and did not practice. He is expected to play tonight.

After ripping the team Saturday for not helping out in guarding Pacers center Roy Hibbert, Chandler said Sunday: “Honestly, I think we’re doing it to ourselves. I watched the tape myself and there’s open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of your teammates. When you drive in the paint and you draw, you kick it. I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.”

Then he added, “I’m not saying that anybody’s doing it maliciously. I think it’s more so you get in a situation where you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot, where you have to just stick to the game plan. Good teams win basketball games, unless you’re a great, great, great, great individual. We only have a few of those come through.”

Mike Woodson said it was a positive that Chandler aired his criticism publicly, believing he is showing leadership. But there’s plenty of tension.

Chandler, who was named to the All-Defensive First Team yesterday (sharing a spot with the Bulls’ Joakim Noah), walked briskly past a handful of reporters after practice and was on the team bus within seconds.

“Again, I don’t get mad at things like that when you’ve got in-house — sometimes bickering amongst each other is pretty healthy,’’ Woodson said. “I don’t call it bickering. Maybe that’s not the word to use. But I just think he’s being a good teammate. Sometimes it’s good that it comes from within the guys that are on the floor working. I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

Anthony disputes that he is not moving the ball properly or being a ballhog.

“The shots I was taking, I didn’t think I forced anything,’’ Anthony said. “The shots I took, I felt I could make. I’ll continue to take those shots.”

Anthony also denied the club wasn’t unified.

“We’re good as far as mentally and everyone being on the same page, everyone’s staying confident,’’ Anthony said. “We have a lot of heart and we’re not going to fold.”

With Smith in a horrendous shooting slump the past five games and now under the weather, Anthony seems to realize he will have to play like a superstar.

“It all falls on me anyway,’’ Anthony said. “I accept that. I expect that. I look forward to that challenge [tonight]. It’s a must-win for us. I’ll come out a little bit more aggressive because we don’t want to go back home 3-1.”
 5 years ago '07        #9808
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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send a prayer up for shump y'all... hope all is well w/ that knee
 5 years ago '04        #9809
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Steve Serby

INDIANAPOLIS — When the epitaph of this cruel tease of a season is written, it should begin with the utter disintegration and disappearance of J.R. Smith, who was supposed to be Carmelo Anthony’s wingman but was Rihanna’s instead with everything on the line.

J.R. Smith, who from the moment he returned from his suspension for elbowing Jason Terry of the Celtics, has done more than anyone to sabotage the Knicks’ championship dreams and ambitions.

He should have stayed in bed with the flu, and it will be a minor miracle now if he and the rest of the Knicks are not Resting in Peace, possibly as early as tomorrow night.

Only eight teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs, and this sure doesn’t look like it will be the ninth, not at a time when desperate Mike Woodson does not have a clue as to whom to play and when.

Dead Team Walking, walking back to the Garden.

Pacers 93, Knicks 82 was another lowlight tape from The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, with Smith as the ringleader.

He has gone from Sixth Man of the Year to Sick Man of the Year.

So exhausted is Melo (9-for-23, 24 points) from trying to carry the offense on his back that he went a second straight fourth quarter without a field goal. Batman can’t rule Gotham if Robin is a basket case.

Smith was 7-for-22 last night, counting a meaningless 3 with 17 seconds left, which came after he had missed a layup off the back rim. That makes him 26-for-91 and 6-for-26 from the 40/40 Club.

His best performance, the most accurate he had been all night, came standing at his locker afterward.

“I take the blame for this whole series,” Smith said.

“I’ve been letting my teammates down, I’ve been letting my coaches down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Give him credit for manning up and facing the music. But he wasn’t brought here to face the music. He was brought here to make a beautiful duet with Melo. He had been battling a virus, and someone wanted to know whether it might still be affecting him.

Smith said: “I don’t make excuses. Other people have been playing through sicknesses and injuries, so I have to be able to step up and do what I do.”

Melo had fouled out with two minutes left, to “Hit the Road, Jack,” and Smith managed to bury a long 3 that made it 86-76 with 1:46 left. But the damage had already been done.

It was late in the second quarter when he drove to the rim , something he has been implored to do by Woodson, and collected an offensive foul. Smith sat disbelievingly under the basket, arms in the air, asking the referee: “What did I do?”

Assistant coach Darrell Walker soon had to virtually drag Smith into the Knicks’ huddle. Smith watched from the bench as the Knicks promptly unveiled their shot-clock violation offense. It was Pacers 48, Knicks 34 at the half. The Knicks were 2-for-14 from downtown. They’d been outrebounded 30-18 — yes, they are also The Gang That Can’t Block Out Straight — in no small part because Smith was 1-for-8, 1-for-5 from the 40/40 Club.

“Everyone’s been encouraging me to keep shooting, keep shooting, keep shooting,” Smith said. “I’m still trying to get to the basket, get to the free-throw line ... even missing layups, too,” Smith said. “It’s just frustrating.”

You live by J.R. Smith, you die by J.R. Smith. And the Knicks are dying by J.R. Smith.

“I want J.R. to shoot,” Melo said. “He can’t take the shots with him. I don’t want him to stop shooting. I want him to stay aggressive.”

The problem is that when Jason Kidd (0 points in 15:46 minutes) and Kenyon Martin (0 points in 28:54 minutes) are on the floor together, the Knicks are playing three-on-five on offense.

Woodson reluctantly went big, starting Martin for Pablo Prigioni, who only played 3:26.

If it works, it’s a stroke of genius. If it doesn’t, it’s a panic move.

It didn’t work.

And it sure doesn’t help continuity.

And it sure didn’t help the methodical Knicks push the pace.

“I haven’t shot the ball well since Game 3 in Boston,” Smith said.

The Knicks have lost five of their past seven playoff games. Do the math.

“Three-for-10 from 3, 7-of-22 from the field, it ain’t gonna get it done,” Smith said.
 5 years ago '04        #9810
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — Knicks center Tyson Chandler emphatically said his critical comments after Saturday night’s game and after Sunday’s practice were not directed at Carmelo Anthony.

“I pulled Melo to the side. I’m a man of my words,’’ Chandler said. “None of the words were directed at him. I didn’t want him to take it like, that. I would never want to cause a problem with any of my teammates in the locker room. I wanted him to understand the comments were directed at the team. Most of the time I’m speaking about myself first. I didn’t want to add any extra pressure to his game.’’

After Game 3, Chandler said the club was “playing like individuals’’ and ripped the offense even more the following day when he said the Knicks were not passing enough and isolating too frequently.

Anthony responded Monday by saying he’d like to talk to Chandler. They did.

Chandler said he “wanted to clear it up.’’

“I wasn’t directing my comments at Carmelo Anthony,’’ Chandler added. “I was directing it at the Knicks. If I had a problem with Carmelo or anybody else, I’d discuss that closed doors, in-house.’’

* Iman Shumpert’s knee scare is over after he took an MRI exam yesterday that showed no structural damage and started last night in Game 4. He had a tough outing, going scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting, including four misses in the first quarter when the Knicks started off 2-of-14. Shumpert was held to just 16:13 of playing time.

“I decided to play him under 20, and it didn’t have to do with anything,’’ coach Mike Woodson said.

Shumpert didn’t attend the morning shootaround and the Knicks put his status as questionable while their team orthopedist, Answorth Allen, flew to Indianapolis to examine Shumpert’s surgically repaired left knee.

Woodson said there was concern yesterday morning because Shumpert’s soreness and swelling had not gone away when he awoke yesterday. By last night, Shumpert reported good news.

“We were just making sure, taking precaution,’’ Shumpert said. “I guess there’s still some swelling, but I feel a lot better.’’

Shumpert’s ACL, which he tore last April, was not a factor. He took two spills in the second half Saturday, one in the third quarter after getting fouled by George Hill. The other came in a scramble for a loose ball with Paul George.

Shumpert started at shooting guard — his preferred position — as Woodson finally elected to go with a big starting lineup.
 5 years ago '04        #9811
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

INDIANAPOLIS — Carmelo Anthony spoke in a whisper. J.R. Smith took blame for this collapse. Tyson Chandler had no criticism, just praise for the Pacers. Mike Woodson seemed stunned their shotmaking has gone so wayward, so quickly.

The Knicks have sunk in a deep hole, a series deficit from which the franchise never has recovered. The Knicks offense has collapsed — along with their once-promising season. Their first second-round appearance in 13 years is turning into a nightmare.

The Pacers routed the Knicks, 93-82, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to jack their second-round series lead to 3-1. The Knicks never have rallied from a 3-1 deficit — just eight NBA teams have in history.

“I take the blame for this whole series,” Smith said. “I’ve been letting my teammates down, I’ve been letting my coaches down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Smith, still playing with the remnants of the flu, shot 7-for-22 for 19 points to extend his miserable slump. In six games since his suspension for an elbow in the first round, he is 26-of- 91.

“I believe, I really believe we can to do something special,’’ Anthony said in a low voice. “We must win [tomorrow] and we got to believe in ourselves. At this point, it’s do or die. No need to hang heads at this. We got to do it being very confident.’’

It took Anthony all the effort he can muster to try to remain optimistic. Game 5 is at the Garden tomorrow, where the Knicks season may end against the tall, burly Pacers.

“We got to put these [past] two games behind us,’’ Woodson said. “We have an uphill climb. It’s still doable. I can’t lose hope.’’

Anthony scored 24 points but went scoreless in the fourth quarter and fouled out with 2:00 left battling for an offensive rebound. Anthony, who shot 9-for-23 after going 0-for-4 in the final period, can’t get enough help as the Knicks were plagued with fouls and couldn’t compete on the boards again.

“I thought our offensive flow wasn’t bad but we couldn’t make shots,’’ Woodson said. “We got to find guys who could put the ball in the hole.’’

The Pacers’ size and strength have proven too much. Woodson started with a big starting lineup, adding Kenyon Martin at power forward, moving Anthony to small forward, but it didn’t help.

Indiana slaughtered the Knicks, 54-36, on the boards to continue a series-long trend. The Pacers collected 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 19 second-chance points.

“They’re pinning their ears — five guys crashing the boards,’’ Chandler said. “For the defense after making the stop, it’s a backbreaker.’’

Chandler and Anthony cleared the air over Chandler’s critical comments about the selfish offense. Anthony claims he wasn’t offended.

“I didn’t take it like he was throwing a jab at me,’’ Anthony said. “Our offense has been [crummy]. We haven’t been effective.’’

Pacers 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert wasn’t an offensive threat but rebounded terrifically, collecting 11, with three blocks. Hibbert again was a force in the middle stopping the Knicks’ penetrations.

“The way they play defense, the bigs sit back in the paint,’’ said Anthony, who picked up his fifth foul midway through the fourth and lost his mojo. “We have to have confidence in taking the shots we normally take and make. We’re passing up on open shots. We have to take those shots and be confident taking those shots and knowing you can make them.’’

Jason Kidd went scoreless for the eighth straight game, going a hesitant 0-for-2 in 15:46. He even blew a breakaway layup and was seen chuckling on the Knicks bench. Kidd took away minutes from the benched Pablo Prigioni, who had started since late March.

Amar’e Stoudemire played 11 nondescript minutes in the second game of his comeback, picking up four fouls and four points.

“We haven’t played well since Game 3 in Boston,’’ Kidd said. “We have to just let it fly. Stay tough, stay positive.’’

The ball moved. The ball didn’t go in.

“It’s frustrating to talk about our offense and not being able to score the basketball with the weapons we have,’’ Anthony said.

The greaseboard in the locker room read afterward: “Stay the Course. Win one, change everything.’’

Easier said than done.
 5 years ago '04        #9812
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Ian O'Connor

INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Knicks want the ball, but they are not worthy of receiving it. They do not belong on the same postseason stage with their star, Carmelo Anthony, who deserves better than he's gotten from a supporting cast that's too busy crumbling around him.

Down 3-1 after Tuesday night's 93-82 defeat, the Knicks are almost certain to lose their second-round series to an Indiana Pacers team thriving without its best player, Danny Granger, a development that would normally reduce Anthony to the easiest of news media and message board targets, a piñata in a headband.

But this will be a whole new blame game if the Knicks fail to make good on their puncher's chance, fail to take three consecutive sudden-death games from a bigger, stronger and more aggressive opponent. The standard default position -- It's all Melo's doing -- isn't going to cut it this time. Not with Anthony's teammates looking about as comfortable in this series as Sergio Garcia looked on Sunday on the 17th tee.

Only that's exactly what the Knicks are right now -- a team desperate to be saved from itself. Tyson Chandler called for more ball movement after Melo took a grand total of 16 shots in Game 3, called for it after Roy Hibbert made Chandler look Nate Robinson small, and the few extra passes didn't matter in the least in Game 4.

Kenyon Martin went 0-for-3 in 29 minutes. Iman Shumpert, going on a bum knee, went 0-for-6 in a lousy 16 minutes. Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni went a combined 0-for-2 in 19 minutes, 16 of them played by the 40-year-old Hall of Famer-to-be who missed a layup and could really use a couple of weeks in the tub.

"We've got to understand we've got nothing to lose at this point," Kidd said.

Nothing but the 2012-13 season, one that will go down as a major disappointment if the Knicks fall to Indiana, and one that J.R. Smith will take to his grave.

"I take the blame for this whole series," said Smith, who shot 7-for-22 Tuesday night, and who has missed 91 of his 137 shots in this postseason.

"I've been letting my teammates down. I've been letting my coaches down."

Just about every Knick could say the same. Woodson made a significant move before Game 4, starting Martin in Prigioni's place and sending a message to Indiana that the Knicks were ready to play with the big boys underneath. If it wasn't exactly Joe Torre benching Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, and Wade Boggs for Game 3 of the '96 World Series, it was a nervy call by Woodson all the same.

And he didn't have Torre's touch with it. Not even close. Still slowed by the same bug that got to Smith first, Martin didn't score a point and contributed five rebounds to a Knicks team that grabbed 36, or 18 fewer than the Pacers grabbed.

"We got hammered on the boards again," Woodson said.

They got hammered in every way an alleged contender can be hammered, coach included. Only 29 seconds after Chris Copeland sank a three early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Indiana lead to 10, Woodson inexplicably summoned him to the bench in favor of the returning Anthony, leaving the rusty and ineffective Amar'e Stoudemire (four fouls, four points in 11 minutes) on the floor. Woodson needed offense there, needed to go small with Melo and Copeland, and by the time Stoudemire was subbed out the Knicks were down 16.

Stoudemire and Chandler picked up early, silly technicals, and the Knicks spent too much time and energy complaining about the officials' calls, a losing proposition every time. No longer interested in taking a wide-open shot, Kidd over-passed his way into a 24-second violation at the end of the second quarter. In the third, Indiana's lumbering Ian Mahinmi beat Smith to a loose ball on the baseline he won on pure desire, nothing more.

"I have to play more efficient," Smith said at his locker, disarming the encroaching media mob by ripping himself to shreds. "I have to rebound the ball. One rebound, two rebounds is not enough. Paul George is out there getting 13, 14 rebounds. As a wing player like myself, it's pretty much unacceptable." Losing this series would be pretty much unacceptable, too. The Knicks are the No. 2 seed, the team with home-court advantage, the team expected to face Miami in the conference final, the team with the healthy star in Anthony to operate in ways Indiana only wished the down-and-out Granger could.

But the Pacers are the ones attacking the basket with a purpose; they shot 30 free throws to the Knicks' 14. "They're just pinning their ears back," Chandler said. "It's not just one or two guys; it's five guys crashing the boards, and we have to make them pay for it."

This time around, Chandler was calling for more points on the fast break and for more shooters to knock down open looks. He said that the ball moved better in Game 4, and that he never meant to incriminate Anthony after Game 3 when he campaigned for a more team-centric approach from offenders he didn't identify.

"I wasn't directing my comments at Carmelo Anthony," Chandler said. "I was directing my comments at the New York Knicks."

It was hardly a convincing claim, and chances are Melo didn't totally buy it, either. But the two said they talked and straightened it out, no blood, no foul.

"I didn't take it like he was throwing a jab at me," Anthony said. "Our offense has been s---. He has a right to say that."

Whatever. But after scoring 24 points on 23 shots, some of which he was all but forced to take, Anthony also has the right to ask for a little help here, help he's not likely to get. The team's fundamental (and fatal) flaw is its casting of Smith in the role of best supporting actor, the pseudo-Pippen to Melo's pseudo-Jordan. J.R. just isn't good enough, or consistent enough, to handle the responsibility.

"I want J.R. to shoot," said Anthony, who fouled out with two minutes left. "He can't take his shots with him. I need J.R. to shoot."

He needs J.R. to make them. "I really believe that we can do something special here," Melo maintained.

"I still do believe that we are the better team."

Written on the grease board in the losers' locker room was this message: "Stay the course. Win one, change everything."

Maybe the Knicks can get this series back to a Game 6, maybe not. But if they lose to Indiana in the end, Carmelo Anthony won't be their fall guy. People will understand that even LeBron James, even Jordan, couldn't have carried this sorry supporting cast.
 5 years ago '08        #9813
AC_89 248 heat pts248
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$43,175 | Props total: 20163 20163
Even with jr taking the blame media will somehow still roast melo if we lose this series
 5 years ago '04        #9814
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
 dj ac said:
Even with jr taking the blame media will somehow still roast melo if we lose this series
just funny how you always hear ppl and "experts" say Melo is not on LBJ's level but in the same breath have to compare the two (you figure that one out).

Melo will get roasted for the simple reason of him being part of that specific draft class (mainly the top 5 picks of it

Darko won it first (had NOTHING to do with them winning)
Wade won it second (he did carry the team but you had Shaq before his decline)
Bron & Bosh had to come to Miami and form Voltron to get theirs
Melo for the most part has been a dude on his own island but fu*k logic, it's all Melo's fault
 5 years ago '04        #9815
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Jared Zwerling

While the Pacers clearly pose problems for the Knicks, the 'Bockers are beating themselves in certain ways by not adjusting. That goes for the coaches and the players.

Here are five head-scratchers from the Game 4 loss on Tuesday and how the Knicks could look to overcome them as they try to stave off elimination on Thursday night:

1. No Pablo in the second half. Starting point guard Pablo Prigioni, relegated to the bench as the Knicks went to a larger lineup, played only three minutes in Game 4. Jason Kidd, who hasn't scored a point since April 23, even checked in before Prigioni.

Mike Woodson should've called an audible at the start of the third quarter to abandon the big lineup and get Prigioni in the game, because Pacers point guard George Hill was going off on Raymond Felton in pick-and-rolls. Prigioni's full-court pressure and swarming ball presence could've helped.

Hill finished with a series-high 26 points. While the Pacers finished 40.8 percent from the field, their pick-and-roll ball handlers (mostly Hill) shot 58.3 percent.

2. Why only 16 minutes for Iman Shumpert? If it was knee-related, that would be one thing, but Woodson said Shumpert's limited playing time had nothing to do with that. So what then? Meanwhile, his regular defensive a.ssignment, Paul George, became the first Pacers player since Mark Jackson in 1998 to have at least 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven a.ssists in a playoff game.

When Prigioni and Shumpert aren't in the game together, the Knicks lack backcourt defensive pressure. It was the perimeter that got the job done offensively for the Pacers, whose center, Roy Hibbert, scored just six points.

3. Quick hook for Cope. Fifty-two seconds into the fourth quarter, Chris Copeland drained a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 10. About 30 seconds later, he was on the bench with Carmelo Anthony replacing him. But they should've played together.

The Knicks needed to maintain their scoring momentum, and Copeland's 3-point shooting and offensive versatility would've been helpful. Woodson should've also considered playing Steve Novak. The Pacers' bigs, especially Hibbert, have gotten comfortable laying low in the middle; a more spread-out offense could force them to commit.

4. No offensive creativity. Holding the ball too long is exactly what the Pacers want J.R. Smith to do. It stalls the Knicks' offense, giving the Pacers, a great defensive team, time to set up. The Knicks need to utilize Smith more as a traditional 2-guard, running him off more screens to get him catch-and-shoot opportunities.

When Smith and Anthony are attacking, they need to examine the entire court. Anthony talked all season long about trusting his teammates more. The Knicks will win Game 5 only with offensive balance.

5. Why the slower pace? After Game 4, Amar'e Stoudemire said, "We're not getting into our offense fast enough, no pace. [The Pacers] are great in half-court sets defensively." The biggest problem with this statement? The Knicks have played this way in all their losses. The Knicks need to make every defensive rebound count and look to push. The Knicks have enough speedy guards to capitalize in transition. The team's overall lack of intensity has been disastrous to their defensive and offensive flow.
 5 years ago '04        #9816
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Alan Hahn

There has been finger-pointing going on within the #Knicks recently. But where are the fingers pointing? More:

At themselves.

J.R. Smith stood up after yet another maddening performance and made it clear who he believes is the reason why the Knicks are in a 3-1 hole in this series.

"I take the blame for this whole series," he said.

As if he'd been reading every newspaper story, blog post and tweet about him since his Game 3 elbow incident, he continued with his candor.

"It started off with Game 4 in Boston-- or Game 5," he said. "I haven't been playing my part. I've been letting my teammates down. I've been letting my coaches down."

He concluded his confessional saying "It's unacceptable."

Mike Woodson, who has, at times, looked brilliant for his work in turning Smith into a Sixth Man of the Year and yet has lately been burned for his loyalty to the wildly inconsistent player, shook his head at Smith's comments.

"I'm the head coach," he said. "Blame it on me."

Woodson pointed to the "slippage" in Game 1, where the Knicks lost home court advantage, and said "we're feeling pretty good about ourselves" if they don't lose that critical game. Both teams had just one day to prepare for Game 1 and the Knicks looked like a team that wasn't ready to play as they were out-worked in the pivotal loss.

Now, the next loss means the end of the season.

"It's my job," Woodson said, "to get us out of this hole."
 5 years ago '04        #9817
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

J.R. Smith took all the blame and he probably is doing so because of the domino effect the elbow to Terry's head had on the season. If the Knicks lose to the Pacers in this series, the elbow will serve as the seasons' turning point. Not for the suspension, the Knicks probably would’ve swept Boston in four games. That would’ve allowed the Knicks valuable rest before the Pacers’ series and given Amar'e Stoudemire extra scrimmages to be ready for Game 1 and not be immersed in the middle. Instead they went six games, had one day off and Woodson had them unprepared emotionally in the Game 1 Garden loss, losing homecourt. Woodson admitted yesterday how that Game 1 losses turned the series. “We win Game 1, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,’’ Woodson said. “It would be in our favor going into Game 5. We let the one game slip away. That’s what you play for when you venture out to play playoff basketball. Now we’re in a hole and we got to dig our way out of a hole by winning a game (tonight). If we can, the series goes back (to Indiana) we got to see what they’re made of in Game 6.’
 5 years ago '04        #9818
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

Kenyon Martin didn’t join his teammates in shooting practice Wednesday because of an apparent new wrist injury.

Tuesday night in the visitor’s locker room in Indianapolis, Martin sported either a black soft cast or wrap on his right wrist. Martin, who also has the flu, was nowhere to be found in the gym.

According to a league source, Martin’s protective wrist wear is “precautionary’’ and his sore wrist isn’t considered extensive.

The Knicks didn’t list Martin on the injury report before Thursday night’s Game 5. He had a poor Game 4 and has had a mediocre series against the Pacers, not imposing his will against the burly Pacers as hoped. Thrust into the starting lineup at power forward Tuesday, Martin was scoreless (0-for-3) with five rebounds — none on the offensive glass — in 28:54.

The addition of Amar’e Stoudemire to the rotation could have affected Martin. Stoudemire isn’t a good rebounder and the two haven’t made a good rebounding tandem. Stoudemire, in his second game back, played just 11:17, scored four points, hauled in four rebounds but also committed four fouls and a technical.

Asked if he will stick with the rusty Stoudemire, coach Mike Woodson said, “Stat, he’s only playing 10-12 minutes. He’s played in two games. His minutes have been pretty positive. I just thought last night we got into a shoving war in terms of unnecessary fouls. It was just ridiculous. That’s what put us behind in the second quarter. The shoving, pushing, technicals. Those things have got to be eliminated.’’

***

The Knicks were a conference-best 31-10 at the Garden this season. The Pacers are 1-3 at MSG this season.

“It should be a big factor,’’ Woodson said of returning home. “We’ve been pretty good on our floor this season. For them to come in here and try to get a win has got to be tough. We have been tough at home. We secure that game and put the pressure back on them in Game 6.’’

***

With the 3-point shooting woes, there was a fan furor over Woodson’s handling of rookie Chris Copeland and Steve Novak.

They are the two purest 3-point shooters on the club. Copeland didn’t play until the third quarter in the Game 4 shellacking and made two of three 3-pointers, playing just 11:52.

Novak was inserted for the final 1:06 of garbage time and made his lone 3-point shot. They represented three of the eight 3-pointers made by the Knicks, who shot a dismal 8-of-28. The Knicks set the NBA record for most 3-point makes this season.

“It’s kind of been a roller-coaster ride with that [in the playoffs],’’ Woodson said. ‘‘[Tuesday] night we took 28 3’s and we didn’t make them. Prior to that, we were struggling to get them up.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9819
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

The Knicks went big in Indianapolis — and lost big. Now embattled coach Mike Woodson is ready to admit his mistake.

The Knicks are expected to go back to small-ball tonight in looking for their season’s most giant victory in do-or-die Game 5 at the Garden. Carmelo Anthony will head back to his customary power forward position as he tries to save the season from becoming a disaster.

The Knicks, looking to become the ninth NBA team to rally from a 3-1 deficit, need three straight victories over the big and burly Pacers to secure an Eastern Conference finals showdown against the Heat. A Knicks trifecta, considering the way they have lost confidence all at once, seems as unlikely as LeBron James winning the mayoral election in Cleveland.

Woodson is expected to reinsert Pablo Prigioni into the starting lineup and take out Kenyon Martin, who started at power forward in Tuesday’s 93-82 Game 4 debacle at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The big lineup of Melo-Martin-Tyson Chandler didn’t help their rebounding woes and certainly didn’t help their offense.

The Knicks were 16-2 with Prigioni in the starting lineup in the two-point guard alignment that began in Utah on March 18. The popular Prigioni, who could be playing his final game as a Knick tonight, logged just 3:26 off the bench as Woodson stuck with Jason Kidd, who set a record by going scoreless for his eighth straight playoff game.

Woodson had wanted to combat the Pacers’ size and was also influenced by Iman Shumpert’s iffy status because of his sore knee. Woodson thought Shumpert wouldn’t play and was set to replace him with Martin, who went scoreless in 28:54 and had just five rebounds. He was also playing with the flu and a possible wrist injury.

“I’m contemplating doing that,’’ Woodson said of his return to smallball. “That lineup has been great for us for a couple of months. I went away from it [Tuesday] night to go big and a lot of that was based on guys not being in practice and not too sure about Iman. That lineup has been good and there’s a strong chance we go right back to that lineup.’’

After practice, the struggling J.R. Smith huddled with Knicks executive John Starks and they spoke for about 10 minutes. Starks, who is in alumni relations, rarely attends practice, but these are desperate times.

The Knicks probably are concerned with Smith’s mental state after he took full blame for the Knicks’ collapse amid his massive shooting slump. Yesterday, Woodson tried to deflect the attention from Smith.

When asked about Smith’s bold declaration, Woodson said he is the one to blame and indeed has been outcoached by Indiana’s Frank Vogel.

“It’s not about all of that,’’ Woodson said. “Again, I’m the head coach. Blame it on me. I don’t look at it in that light. The bottom line is we’re all trying to do the right things to win basketball games. If we don’t have the slippage to start the series, we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves. But right now our backs are against the wall and my job is to get us out of this hole.’’

After the loss, Smith said, “I take the blame for this whole series. I’ve been letting my teammates down, I’ve been letting my coaches down, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Yesterday, Smith continued to answer questions, while Anthony, Chandler, Kidd and Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t make themselves available to the media.

“I’m very disappointed to be in the position that we’re in, but we’re still not out of it,’’ Smith said. “We’re still in a good position to where we can still make some noise.’’

“We embrace the challenge,’’ Shumpert added. “We just got to win. It’s been done before.’’

It’s not too farfetched to blame almost all of it on Smith. His 26-of-91 shooting slump coincided with returning from a one-game suspension for elbowing the Celtics’ Jason Terry that may ultimately be viewed as the season’s turning point.

The Knicks probably would have swept Boston in four games if not for Smith’s suspension. That would have allowed the Knicks valuable rest before the Pacers’ series. Instead they went six games, had one day off and Woodson had them unprepared emotionally in the Game 1 Garden loss, losing home-court advantage.

“We win Game 1, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,’’ Woodson said. “It would be in our favor going into Game 5. We let the one game slip away. That’s what you play for when you venture out to play playoff basketball. Now we’re in a hole and we got to dig our way out of a hole by winning a game [tonight]. If we can, the series goes back [to Indiana]. We got to see what they’re made of in Game 6.’’
 5 years ago '04        #9820
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Hahn

Jason Kidd's shooting, at this point, should be factored in misses. The numbers are stunning. More:

The 40-year-old veteran has missed 87.5% of his shots (21 of 24) in 10 playoff games. And if you consider that he started out hitting a respectable 3 of 7 in the first two games of the postseason, that leaves a drought of 17 straight misses over the last eight games.

His last made basket came in Game 2 against the Celtics. But that's just the tip of this very, very cold iceberg.

Kidd hasn't made a TWO point basket at all in the playoffs. Including a failed layup in Game 4 in Indiana, Kidd is 0-for-7 from inside the arc. In fact, his last two-point hoop came April 7, in that impressive win at Oklahoma City.

And doesn't that game now feel like an eternity ago.

Since that shot -- a layup off a pass from J.R. Smith with 4:24 left in the third quarter -- Kidd has missed nine straight shots inside the arc, including the playoffs. So obviously, he doesn't take a lot of shots inside the arc.

But he had been pretty effective when he has taken two-pointers, as few as they were this season. He made 38 of 84 attempts from inside the arc, which is 45.2%. He shot 35% from three-point range (114 for 325).

Kidd's offense is troubling, especially with the Pacers now leaving him to shoot shots that they know, and Kidd knows, he doesn't want to take. Kidd's hesitation to shoot screams out the lack of confidence he has in his shot.

But despite signs of a swift and depressing decline in the future Hall of Famer's skills, Mike Woodson still sees value in Kidd on the floor. He is averaging 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 a.ssists and 1.1 steals in 23.5 minutes per game in the playoffs.

"I will never kick J-Kidd to the curb, man," Woodson said. "I mean, Kidd has been a positive for our club, our franchise, these players that play around him. We all still believe in Kidd.

"My thing is, I still think he does some of the intangibles that might not show up, in terms of scoring the ball, to help you win."

Kidd isn't shooting a high volume (2.4 FGA per game in the playoffs), but his shooting woes allow the Pacers to drop him on their list of defensive priorities. And since his 40-year-old legs don't allow him to go to the basket anymore with much success, he can be viewed as a liability if he can't make a shot.

But he's still Jason Kidd. Is there still a part of you that believes he still has a few big shots left in him?
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