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Props Slaps
 4 years ago '04        #9801
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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        #9802
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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        #9803
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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        #9804
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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.
 4 years ago '04        #9805
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Berman

Mike Woodson isn’t changing his lineup, Carmelo Anthony will keep shooting and the Knicks say they will start redeeming tonight.

The Knicks face a genuine must-win Game 2 against the Pacers, who took Game 1 of the second-round series, 102-95, Sunday at the Garden. A loss would put them down 0-2 heading to Indiana, where the Pacers beat the Knicks both times in the regular season.

“We don’t want to do that,” Anthony said after yesterday’s practice. “We want to take care of business on our floor. We felt we gave them a game, which we did. We’ll redeem ourselves [tonight].”

History is against the Knicks, who are 0-5 in playoff series in which they drop the first game at home.

“It’s very critical,’’ Woodson said. “We can’t go back to Indiana down 0-2. We got to do everything we can do to win the game.”

Anthony is shooting an awful 38.1 percent in the playoffs and has shot an even worse 35-of-110 (31.8 percent) in these last four playoff games.

“I feel the shots I’m taking I should still take,” Anthony said. “I feel those shots I can make. I’m going to keep shooting. We’ll be a much better team [tonight].”

Woodson said he will keep Anthony at power forward for now and not make a panic move to a bigger starting lineup. Kenyon Martin raised the possibility after Sunday’s loss that a foul-plagued Anthony is getting beat up on the block and the Knicks may want to match the Pacers’ size up front.

In a switch to a more traditional frontcourt, Martin would start at power forward, Anthony would slide to small forward — away from the Pacers’ burly David West — and guard Pablo Prigioni would head to the bench.

But Woodson’s smallball lineup will live another game.

“Not right now,” Woodson said. “It’s too early in the series. We held our own to start the game. It had nothing to do with who started at the 4 or 5. We came out of the [first] quarter up five points. Melo didn’t get one foul guarding David West.”

Anthony picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter and played through it. Woodson believes Anthony is due for a big game.

“Melo’s played big guys all year,’’ Woodson said. “Last I checked statistic-wise, we’ve been pretty damn good with Melo playing the 4. I don’t see any reason to change it.’’

Last month, Woodson said he might go big against a tall team like the Pacers.

“I’m not saying I won’t do that, I’m saying right now we have just one game under our belt,’’ Woodson said. “And the big lineup to start didn’t cost us the game. I don’t consider Melo small. You guys might. I don’t. Kenyon is no bigger than Melo in term of starting a bigger 4. We’ll gauge it and see how it goes. If we have to make the adjustment, I’ll be the one to make that call.’’

That last line could be perceived as a dig at Martin, who suggested the possibility. Either way, the Knicks can’t play with the same lack of fire as they did Sunday or the season will vanish. The Knicks were hammered on the boards, 44-30, outhustled and outmuscled.

“Everything comes back to the effort,’’ Anthony said. “We can’t get outworked again.”

Anthony, playing with a sore shoulder, shot 10-for-28 Sunday. He’s a stunningly bad 2-for-his-last-24 on 3-point attempts. With his jump shot off kilter, he is forced to barrel to the bucket and isn’t getting the calls. On one foray, Indiana’s 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert all but slapped him across the face as Anthony missed a dunk — there was no call.

“I’ve been seeing the same defense all year long,’’ Anthony said. “My shots, I’m not going to overanalyze it or put it under a microscope. It’s just not going in.”

Woodson also believes the offensive scheme needs no adjusting for Anthony.

“We’re putting him in position to drive it, we’re putting him in position where he can make jump shots,’’ Woodson said. “I’m not going to sit here and complain about the officiating. I’m not going to take him out of those positions. We’re putting him in positions to take the ball to the bucket, and that’s what he has to do and hope for the best.’’

Does he get enough respect from the referees, considering he just finished third in the MVP balloting?

“I don’t know,’’ Anthony said. “I guess I got to earn my respect.’’

Starting tonight.
 4 years ago '04        #9806
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Hahn

Closing in on his return, Amar'e Stoudemire explains why he wasn't on the Knicks bench during his recovery:

After his first scrimmage in almost two months, Stoudemire spoke excitedly about finally being back on the court and joining this playoff run.

"I can't take it," he said of the waiting he has endured during two debridement procedures that limited his season to just 29 games.

"That's why sometimes I stay in the back and watch on TV and do some rehab in the back," he said. "Sitting right there on the bench during the game is very hard for me."

Stoudemire still has to pass a few more tests, mainly how his knee feels today after yesterday's extensive workout and how is feels after more work on Wednesday. Mike Woodson said if all goes well, Stoudemire will "probably suit up Saturday."

No one expects the former all-star to make a major impact, but even in spot duty he can provide some needed offense and size off the bench against this big Pacers team. Pairing him with Kenyon Martin in the second unit would give the Knicks a frontcourt scorer when Carmelo Anthony goes to the bench for rest.

What's most important is that Stoudemire has the physical ability to perform in the playoffs after sitting out so much time.

"I have no pain," he said. "Running, jumping, cutting, slashing; I feel explosive. The only thing now is getting my wind back up and see how it recovers."

How good does he feel? Well, STAT (which is a self-labeled nickname that stands for "Standing Tall And Talented") came up with a new acronym for his recovery.

"Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real," he said. "I have no fear at all."

Can Stoudemire, in a limited role, provide a needed spark for the Knicks? I think he can.
 4 years ago '04        #9807
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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Hahn

Steve Novak on whether he'll play tonight. "Yeah, I think so. If we can get it loose and warmed up, it's definitely

not 100 percent right now. But most guys aren't.'' Novak reiterated he wrenched his back during halftime warmups of Game 5. He hasn't played since. Novak said he still feels it on explosive cuts. Woodson calling it "game-time decision.''
 4 years ago '04        #9808
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FML

Joey Crawford is officiating tonight
 4 years ago '04        #9809
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Jared Zwerling

Usually around the midway point of the fourth quarter, Pablo Prigioni knows what's coming: a substitution that will keep him on the bench for the rest of the game.

But that wasn't the case on Tuesday night, with Raymond Felton being tended to on the sideline with a twisted left ankle suffered at the end of the third quarter.

Not only did Prigioni play all but the final 1:23 of the Knicks' Game 2 victory, but he left his fingerprints on nearly every possession, offensively and defensively. His presence as the starting point guard helped fuel the Knicks to a 33-13 advantage in the closing period.

"Raymond went out, he [Prigioni] came in and he stepped up big time," Carmelo Anthony said. "Tonight, Pablo was spectacular on both ends of the court. He controlled the game, he controlled the ball, and on the defensive end, he pressured the ball and he got us getting up and pressuring the ball as a team."

At the start of the fourth quarter, Prigioni nailed a 3-pointer and then drove into the paint for a short jumper, both times working off of screens with Tyson Chandler. Then, when he grabbed a defensive rebound and was bringing the ball up the court, the Garden crowd started chanting "Pab-lo, Pab-lo!" That was the first time his name echoed throughout the arena, and he called it an "amazing" feeling.

"I'm really happy, but for me it's only about the team," he said. "It's not about one guy or two guys. You can't believe how happy I am now. I'm really happy with this team. We played good, and for me the most important thing always is the team."

Further along in the fourth quarter, Prigioni dished to Anthony for a 3-pointer, and then he blocked a 3-point attempt by Paul George, who's five inches taller. That's how Prigioni's been all season: contributing to a score on one end, making a stop on the other. His relentless approach is contagious.

"[The fans] got us going and that was Pablo," Jason Kidd said. "Pablo isn't known as a scorer, but he hit some big shots, and also defensively he came up big. He also put guys in position to be successful, and that's what a point guard does."

Reflecting on the Knicks' major momentum swing in the fourth quarter, which included Prigioni throwing an alley-oop to Chandler for a dunk, the Argentine smiled when he realized he was the spark behind it.

"Yeah, I think that maybe was the key moment," he said. "We started to play good on offense. We get stops, we run and everything started to be on our side."

But more excitement radiated from Prigioni when he was asked what it was like to finish the final period -- something he hasn't been used to doing this season.

"I love that," he said. "I love to be on the court in the important moments because I used to do this in the last 10, 15 years. But I understand here, I have great players on the team, great teammates, so much experience in the NBA playoffs, so I try to give all my energy in the minutes that the coach thinks I must be on the court.

"When I'm on the bench, I try to support the guys and I have nothing to complain about that. Today, I have the chance to play that important minutes, I'm really happy. Maybe the next game, no. But I'm ready to play one minute or 25 minutes."
 4 years ago '04        #9810
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Ian Begley

New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson finished third in the NBA's Coach of the Year balloting. Denver's George Karl won the award and Miami's Erik Spoelstra was the runner-up.

Woodson led the Knicks to 54 regular-season wins and their first Atlantic Division title in 13 years.

Woodson received six first-place votes. Karl received 62 and Spoelstra 24.

Woodson finished ahead of San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Indiana's Frank Vogel.

Surprisingly, Chicago's Tom Thibodeau finished eighth despite his team's success without Derrick Rose.

A panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada voted for the award.

LEAVE WASHBURN ALONE: Boston Globe writer Gary Washburn caused a stir on Sunday when he gave Carmelo Anthony a first-place vote for MVP.

Washburn's vote denied LeBron James the chance to become the first unanimous MVP winner in league history.

On Tuesday, Anthony defended Washburn's decision.

"I don't know why he caught so much flak for that. He has the right to vote for whoever he wants," Anthony said. "LeBron won the MVP. Why's everybody so mad that he didn't win in unanimously?"
 4 years ago '04        #9811
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Berman

Mike Woodson’s patience is running thin with J.R. Smith.

For the first time, the Knicks coach said he will have a quicker hook with the Sixth Man Award winner if his shooting woes continue. Smith’s jump shot has been in the gutter since returning in Game 5 of the first round against Boston after serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Jason Terry.

“If he’s struggling and I feel the need, I got to pull him,” Woodson said on his ESPN Radio show yesterday. “I will do that as head coach.”

Following Tuesday’s victory over Indiana in Game 2

of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Smith admitted, “My shot is lost for now.’’

But his father, Earl Smith, who taught J.R. all his offensive skills, said it’s only a matter of time before Smith starts lighting it up again.

“Shooters shoot. He’ll be fine,” Earl Smith said when contacted at his Jersey home. “A shooter has to keep shooting. You’re open, you got to shoot it. You can’t force a pass or you’ll turn it over. He’s got to keep shooting and taking it to the rack.’’

Smith was 4-of-15 in Sunday’s Game 1 second-round loss vs. Indiana and 3-of-15 Tuesday in Game 2’s victory — the lone down note on a great night for the Knicks.

Following Sunday’s game, Smith issued an angry tweet, writing he was “not clubbing’’ Saturday night, asking fans to stop trying to find reasons for his lost jumper.

A tweet from the official account of the 40/40 club had Smith in the Broadway bar watching the Floyd Mayweather f!ght, causing a Twitter storm. And then there was more gossip reports yesterday that following Game 2, Smith was partying with singer Rihanna at a Manhattan nightspot following his 3-of-15 brickfest.

Earl Smith said he is surprised at the negative reaction.

“My thing is, those people need to get off the computer and let professional athletes be professional athletes,’’ Earl said. “If they want to go out on a Saturday night, who gives a damn? Who cares? How come you don’t hear about LeBron [James] after he loses? You don’t think LeBron went out the other night [in Miami]? Leave the professional athletes alone. They know what they’re doing.

“Everybody likes him when he’s making shots,’’ Earl added. “He’s missing shots now. If he plays like he did [Tuesday] night and they win, I’ll take it. I told him if you play like that and you keep winning, we’ll take it. We’d rather that than he have a great game and they lose.’’

Woodson has shown more patience with Smith than any Knick, but Smith is 15-of-57 in his last four games, and Amar’e Stoudemire, scheduled to return in Game 3 Saturday, could be an added go-to piece off the bench.

“I’m not going to kick him to the curb,’’ Woodson said on his ESPN Radio Show yesterday. “He’s a big part of what we’ve done this season.”

However, Woodson added, “I’ll gauge J.R. as we go along. If I feel he’s not giving me anything, I can always turn to other guys on that bench. I feel good about the guys that come in off the bench.”

Asked how the flaky sixth man would accept a benching, Woodson said, “It wouldn’t be tough. If he’s committed as a player and trying to win this thing, he’s got to understand. It’s coaching. He’ll get another shot. If he’s about team, he’ll understand and wait his turn again.’’

Woodson said he hasn’t pulled him yet because Smith is still defending well.

“He’s missing shots and he’s not playing well from an offensive standpoint,’’ Woodson said. “He’s giving a lot defensively. That’s why he’s staying out there on the floor.’’

The series doesn’t resume until Saturday in Indiana, where the Knicks lost both of their games during the regular season. They were obliterated, 125-91, on Feb. 20. In the first game at Banker’s Life Field House on Jan. 10, the Knicks lost a hard-fought 81-76 game without a suspended Carmelo Anthony.

“I grew up in Indianapolis,’’ said Woodson, who attended Broad Ripple High. “They got great fans. I know what the fans are like in the state of Indiana. Our job is to go in there and figure out how to get one game and flip this series back in our favor.’’

The Knicks, a solid road team this season who took two playoff games in Boston, didn’t have Kenyon Martin on their roster in either outing in Indy.

“We’re road-tested,’’ Martin said. “The Boston series was tough environment and we know we’re going into another hostile environment and got to approach it like it’s the Boston series.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9812
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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.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9813
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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."
 4 years ago '04        #9814
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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.
 4 years ago '04        #9815
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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.''
 4 years ago '07        #9816
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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let's go.... tonight we turn the series around... Knickstape bi*ches...
 4 years ago '04        #9817
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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.’’
 4 years ago '04        #9818
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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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.”
 4 years ago '07        #9819
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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$4,875 | Props total: 161 161
send a prayer up for shump y'all... hope all is well w/ that knee
 4 years ago '04        #9820
Born_Loser|M 81 heat pts81
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$40,638 | Props total: 2138 2138
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.
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