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Props Slaps
 09-29-2014, 05:30 PM         #11321
Kitsch 
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[video - click to view]


 3 years ago '04        #11322
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

There were none of the usual big boasts from Amar’e Stoudemire. His health speaks for itself.

“It’s great to finally go through a summer where I can just work on basketball — maintain and build strength,’’ Stoudemire said at Knicks Media Day on Monday. “The previous two summers was pretty much rehab.’’

At owner James Dolan’s urging, the Knicks shut Stoudemire down last summer after a minor knee procedure and wouldn’t let him rehab until training camp began in order to keep his legs fresh. As a result, Stoudemire began the 2013-14 season on a 10-minute cap and was banned from playing in back-to-back games. Dolan’s medical staff treated Stoudemire like a plate of glass.

When Stoudemire was finally allowed to be unleashed, coach Mike Woodson stuck him into the starting lineup at power forward and he wreaked damage on the court — not to his knees. In the final 20 games — all starts — as the Knicks surged, Stoudemire was a key reason, averaging 15.7 points on 57.5 percent shooting and stout defense.

New coach Derek Fisher won’t name his prospective starters, but Stoudemire is a good bet to line up alongside Carmelo Anthony up front — just the way Dolan once envisioned when he traded for Anthony in 2011 to pair with Stoudemire.

During the offseason, Stoudemire told The Post he was aiming to return to the All-Star Game as a player.

“It was a positive step,’’ Stoudemire said of his down-the-stretch play. “To capitalize on minutes played in a starting role, it played an intricate part of my success the second half of the year. Hopefully we can build on that.’’

Nothing’s ever certain with Stoudemire’s knees — both of which have undergone multiple surgeries. He’ll still be on a minutes restriction — likely in the 32-minute range. That’s where he topped out late last season.

“We got to 30, 35 minutes,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’m sure Coach Fisher and I will figure out something [that is] going to be beneficial for both of us. Having the year I had last year was positive. Building up strength, hopefully allows me to play more this season.’’

The offenses Stoudemire has played the past few seasons increased his versatility as a scorer. He had played in Mike D’Antoni’s speed-ball, pick-and-roll attack for so long, but Woodson ordered Stoudemire to work with Hakeem Olajuwon and turned him into a post-up player. Now he’s in the triangle, where he will show even more versatility.

Stoudemire has worked out a lot with a.ssistant coach Kurt Rambis, who has showed him “so many ways on the basketball court I can take advantage of my personal skill set in the triangle.

“I’m optimistic,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve been able to develop certain skill sets throughout the whole situation and now I feel everything’s going to come to fruition this season.’’

The only summer disappointment was that Stoudemire, who owns a pro team in Jerusalem, canceled his July trip to Israel — where he was to unveil a new basketball academy — because of unrest there. Stoudemire, who has talked of playing for his Israeli team after his contract expires this summer, said the academy’s opening has been postponed until next summer.
 3 years ago '04        #11323
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Fred Kerber

For many Knicks fans, Jose Calderon is being — and already has been — embraced at point guard because he’s not Raymond Felton.

But to others, Calderon is being embraced because he’s, well, Jose Calderon.

“His numbers speak for themselves,” Carmelo Anthony said. “The way he’s able to run a team, the way he’s able to shoot the basketball lights out, his a.ssist-to-turnover ratio is like no other.”

“He understands the game, he sees everything, and he is a willing passer,” said Samuel Dalembert, who arrived with Calderon from the Mavericks in the trade for Tyson Chandler. “There is no ego, there is nothing, just go out there and try to win.”

So Knicks fans have substance in their willingness to accept Calderon, and not simply because he replaces prime booing target Felton. Calderon is a pass-first, hit every (or almost every) free throw, terrific shooting, smart point guard. He enters his 10th NBA season, 7 ½ seasons spent in Toronto, as a career 10.2 scorer and 6.8 a.ssist guy. Every season, he was in the top 20 in a.ssists-to-turnovers.

And Calderon, who turned 33 Sunday, is as excited to be a Knick and adapt to the triangle offense as the Knicks are to have him.

“It helps just to be able to learn the system [together],” Calderon said at Media Day on Monday. “It’s going to be about where you’re going to be, finding a spot, trying to get everybody in the right places and just share the ball. Find the open guy. If you’re open shoot the ball. Just try to make it as easy as possible. If we’re sharing the ball and you pass the ball first, your teammate is going to pass it to you. We have to get that into our minds and try to play as a team. We can be a really good team.

“The system is going to be trying to share the ball, try to reposition everybody. I like that. I’m the pass-first point guard. I’m going to try to get everybody involved like I’ve been doing for a while.

“The system fits me well.”
 3 years ago '04        #11324
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

Everything seems better about Italy’s Andrea Bargnani — even his English.

Last season with the Knicks turned into a mess for Bargnani, who partially tore the ulnar nerve in his left elbow in late January. He elected not to have surgery but never made it back, his season shortened to 42 games.

Team president Phil Jackson is the latest to try to turn Bargnani into a stud and tap his potential in the triangle as a deft-shooting big man. Problem is, Bargnani was a disappointment from 3-point range in his first season as a Knick. The former No. 1 overall pick shot just 27.8 percent from behind the arc and also struggled learning the defensive rotations.

“The elbow is fine,’’ Bargnani said. “It was a tricky injury. It was my priority this summer to get healthy.’’

Bargnani said it only has been “a couple of months’’ he can say the elbow is “100 percent fine.

“I just got to get back in game shape and rhythm,’’ he said. “Everyone wants to show they are better than last year.’’

Jackson has touted Bargnani in the triangle.

“The triangle offense is very effective and I can’t wait to start learning everything about it,’’ Bargnani said.

Bargnani seemed more relaxed Monday on the podium than at any time last season. The 2013-14 season marked the first time he was with a different NBA club than the Raptors. He also is reunited with a close former Toronto buddy in Jose Calderon.

Bargnani was upset when Calderon was traded from Toronto to Detroit in 2013.

Carmelo Anthony said not enough focus is on the Knicks’ quest to better their atrocious defense from last season.

“We want to be good — Derek Fisher is preaching that,’’ Anthony said. “Everybody is talking about the new triangle system. The challenge for us is how we want to be on the defensive end. Last season we were 24th of 30 from a defensive ranking. That’s not acceptable. We will improve on that. We will focus on it and our coaching staff will focus on it.’’

Mike Woodson’s switch-on-everything D was met with disapproval from Anthony and the departed Tyson Chandler. Iman Shumpert said he’s unsure of Fisher’s system but the coach has already preached to the defensive-minded guard that he “gambles’’ too much.

Calderon on his Team Spain’s early quarterfinal ouster in the World Cup: “We didn’t get as far as we wanted to,’’ he said. “We got a little bit more rest than I’d like to. But I feel healthy.’’… Anthony on second-round rookie Cleanthony Early: “I’m very excited to see Cleanthony on the court. In my eyes he was a steal in this year’s draft.’’
 3 years ago '04        #11325
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

J.R. Smith grew up not so far away, in Freehold, NJ, but had never stepped foot on the post of West Point. Nor has he ever been in this sort of regimented environment.

Smith wasn’t offended by the suggestion he was out of place – the NBA’s perennial rules-breaker amid an environment suffocated by rules.

“Honestly, it is an honor,’’ Smith said Tuesday after Derek Fisher’s first Knicks training-camp practice at Army’s Christl Arena. “I have never really been around situations like this, the self-discipline, the mentality that you have to have to be in a group like this at West Point. Being on the outside looking in, it seems extremely difficult, so the hour or two hours that we are here on the court, that should be an easy cake walk.’’

Could Smith have been a cadet, with the dawn-hour inspections at the barracks?

“I definitely don’t think I could do it,’’ Smith said. “Wake up at 5 a.m., go to sleep at 6 p.m. I don’t think that works with my schedule. That is a different lifestyle.’’

Smith was astounded to see the armed patrols at the security gates. After all, it is a college.

“I made it through security,’’ Smith said. “I was like, ‘Hey, man, I come in peace, I don’t want no problems over here.’ Dude had his big AK-47. Yeah, OK, if you are good with me, I am good with you.’’

President Phil Jackson compared Smith to Dennis Rodman in an interview last week with The Post’s Steve Serby. No offense taken.

“Last time I checked Dennis Rodman got what, 3, 4 rings?’’ Smith said. “I’m not offended by that. It’s an honor. He’s a Hall of Famer. And to be put in the same words as a Hall of Famer is something special. Not offended at all. He worked hard and he tried to do his job at all points and all times.’’

Smith will do his exploring of the campus and interact with the cadets.

“I got a lot of questions,” Smith said. “I want to see how it is like. I want to see how the hell they are doing it. Because I don’t know if I can do it.”
 3 years ago '04        #11326
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Jamie McCarty

WEST POINT — The visiting athlete who stirred the masses and nearly fried the Internet was Matt Harvey, who attended Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium last week (wearing a Knicks hat, of course) and, depending on your point of view, solidified his reputation as either a narcissist or a defiant individualist.

Either way, it made for a fun half-hour or so on Twitter.

But the one for whom the evening was most important spent his nine innings in The Bronx quietly, away from Instagram, away from the howling multitudes. That was Carmelo Anthony.

“I’m a student of his,” Anthony said of the retiring Yankees captain. “He’s always been a mentor to me. He is a guy that I really listen to when he talks because he gets it.”

Anthony had a small but perfectly played part in the commercial that Nike debuted at the All-Star Game (appearing via Smartphone!) which itself first hit the air less than two days after Anthony officially announced he was coming back to the Knicks, coming back to New York City, and those are two things that always will be intertwined.

Jeter, of course, set a gold standard for all athletes present and future who wish to seek all the riches (and all the potential pratfalls) that come with plying their trade in New York. Anthony made it clear that it isn’t as if he and Jeter have had long seminars together on the do’s and don’ts of such a professional life.

But Anthony did pay attention. Closely.

“I tip my cap to him — and I know that’s kind of a cliché now,” Anthony said, chuckling, a few minutes after the Knicks wrapped up their first official practice under Derek Fisher at Christl Arena, on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy.

“He is one of the few guys who was able to have a long stint here and be successful here,” Anthony said. “So you’ve got to pay your respects to that, so when you talk you got to sit and listen and really take heed to what he is saying.”

It never occurred to Jeter to leave, of course, not before he signed the 10-year, $189 million deal that carried him the bulk of his career, not during more recent and more contentious negotiations. He never came close to being wooed the way Melo was wooed this summer, never came close to exploring other options.

Of course, Jeter also never had to orchestrate or engineer his way here; he fell to the Yankees in the draft, he survived the minefield that so many Yankees prospects had to endure when George Steinbrenner was lord of the manor, and he tasted immediate and substantial success.

Melo’s saga has been different in almost every way. And yet as he watched the Bronx ending for Jeter on Thursday night — as he saw the screenplay-perfect final at-bat, and the ear-splitting roar that followed, and the fact nobody wanted the night — or Jeter’s Stadium career — to end? Well, there would be something wrong if that didn’t get his imagination racing.

“Nobody could have written that ending for him,” Anthony said. “I was just taking it all in. It was a great moment for him, and it was great for me to be a part of it.”

And here’s the crazy part: Before this was a Jeter town, before this was a Yankees town, it was a Knicks town, completely and entirely. Fifteen years of mishap and mismanagement have muted that, but even two years ago, during an oasis of prosperity, that much was clear.

Back in the day, even championship Yankees seasons never really started in New York until the Knicks’ season was over.

That’s what is available to Melo now, a city looking to fill a gaping void, looking for another icon around whom to wrap its arms. The job is available. And the Knicks always have been an ideal platform to deliver that. If they win, of course,

“I wasn’t even getting sleep last week, I was itching to get back on the court,” he said. “I really wanted to start camp quicker and get to work.”

So much of Melo’s career in New York has tended to weigh closer to the A-Rod side of the sliding scale, from the outsized expectations that his gifts demand to the questions surrounding his propensity in the clutch. It doesn’t have to be that way forever. And after seeing what life looks like, and sounds like, on the other side of that scale?

“I want to be a part of that,” Anthony said.

It’s there for him. Now all he needs to do is grab it.
 3 years ago '04        #11327
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Begley

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Some people might be offended if you compared them to Dennis Rodman.

Those people aren't Knicks guard J.R. Smith.

Smith said Tuesday that it was an “honor” to be compared to Rodman by Knicks president Phil Jackson.

“Last time I checked Dennis Rodman got, what? Three-four rings [Rodman has five]. I’m not offended by that,” Smith said. “It’s an honor. H’s a Hall of Famer. And to be put in the same [sentence] as a Hall of Famer is something special. So I’m not offended at all.”

Jackson compared the heavily-tattooed Smith to the heavily-tattooed Rodman in an interview last week with the New York Post. Jackson invoked Rodman’s name when he was asked if he could “get through” to Smith. Both players have run afoul of the NBA, but for different transgressions.

“I don’t know if that’s possible or not,” Jackson said of getting through to Smith. “He might be one of those guys that’s a little bit like Dennis Rodman that has an outlier kind of side to him. But I’m gonna get to know him as we go along, and we’ll find a way to either make him a very useful player on our organization, or whatever.”

Given Jackson's comments, it will be interesting to see how head coach Derek Fisher uses Smith this year.

Amar’e (slightly) limited in practice: Amar'e Stoudemire practiced for the first two hours before watching the last 30 minutes of the opening practice on Tuesday.

Fisher said the plan is to manage Stoudemire’s health and knees so that the power forward will be available for the long haul this season.

“He played 67 or 68 games last year, missed some games with an ankle injury and the flu,” Fisher said. “Without those things, he probably would have played 70-plus games a year ago. We think that plan that we have will work. Part of it today was monitoring his level. We got to that point where we felt like it was time to pull him out.”

Fisher said the plan was for Stoudemire, whose minutes have been limited the past two seasons due to knee injuries, to practice in the night session and to also participate in Wednesday’s practice.

“I don’t think a decision has been made on back-to-backs,” Fisher said of how Stoudemire will be used during the season. “We obviously start out, our first month is amazing in terms of the toughness of the schedule and the back-to-backs right from the jump.

“We’re hoping if we manage the month of October the right way it will give Amar’e, as well as all of our guys, the best chance to move through the first month of our season, not just in shape but still go to another level.”

Smith calls it an “honor” to be at West Point: Smith and the Knicks seemed to be impressed by what they saw at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the site of this year’s training camp.

“Honestly, it is an honor," Smith said of being at camp. "I have never really been around situations like this, the self-discipline, the mentality that you have to have to be in a group like this at West Point."

The shooting guard also had a few interesting things to say about staying at West Point and about his arrival.

“I made it through security. I was like, ‘Hey man, I come in peace. I don’t want no problems over here,’” Smith said. “Dude had his big AK-47.”

Smith was asked if he’ll have any questions for Cadets on campus.

“I got a lot of questions. I want to see how it is like. I want to see how the hell they are doing it. Because I don’t know if I can do it,” Smith said.

He later added: “I definitely don’t think I can do [it]. ... If I wake up at 5 am, go to sleep at 6, I don’t think that works with my schedule. That is a different lifestyle.”
 3 years ago '10        #11328
Dextromethorphan 217 heat pts217
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$27,807 | Props total: 12 12
 Kitsch said:


sounds like iman is content with being decent and getting paid. He seems mellowed out.
 3 years ago '04        #11329
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

WEST POINT — Triangle this.

At the first practice of Knicks training camp at West Point, the triangle was an unspoken word. The 2 ¹/₂-hour session at Christl Arena was all defense, all the time. Rookie coach Derek Fisher realizes the team’s lack of defensive fortitude was the downfall of last season’s confused 37-45 club.

What a better venue to study the art of defense than a military academy built for it.

Amar’e Stoudemire gave high marks to Fisher for spending the first training-camp practice solely on defense, calling it “brilliant.’’ Stoudemire said the new coaching staff gave “a clear message’’ during the session, alluding to the confusion in last season’s system under Mike Woodson.

“Today we built our defensive foundation,’’ Fisher said. “There’ll be a lot of talk about our offense in terms of running the triangle, but defense is the anchor, the foundation to all great teams. Today we spent 2 ¹/₂ hours on defense. We didn’t do one triangle-specific thing.’’

When reporters were let in for the final 30 minutes, the defensive drills were simple. The offensive team passed the ball leisurely around the perimeter, allow the defensive players to shift around the arc and set into their positions.

“I think the message is clear defensively,’’ Stoudemire said. “There’s a strategy put in place. The coaching staff is very, very clear what they want to accomplish defensively.’’

The Knicks were ranked 24th of 30 teams in defensive ratings last season. Some players — including Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, a former defensive player of the year — grumbled about the team not making adjustments. Chandler and weak link Raymond Felton, both gone, carped about the switch-on-everything philosophy. In scramble mode, usually an outside shooter was left free. Woodson’s message was anything but clear. Jose Calderon has replaced Felton, and the hope is he is a much better perimeter defender.

“I’m not one to dwell on the past,’’ Stoudemire said. “Obviously last year was a troubling year for us. This year is much better year. We have clear message what we have to do to accomplish great things.’’

Fisher said he would prefer not to divulge his defensive strategies, other than a “team defense’’ approach, until it is revealed in Oct. 8’s preseason opener vs. the Celtics.

But a couple of players said one new approach is forcing attackers away from the middle — directly in contrast to what Woodson wanted.

“We are going to push everything to the sideline and keeping people out of our middle,’’ Smith said. “Last year it was more forcing people to the middle. That right there is a mind-set that eliminates people not helping and who is supposed to be where. The attention to detail and the drills we are doing, everybody understands where they are supposed to be on the defensive end. A lot of attention to detail. I think that is exactly what we need.’’

Carmelo Anthony got more out of it than schematics.

“The focus today was totally, 100 percent on the defensive side, not so much of schemes and X’s and O’s but more of trusting one another on the defensive end,’’ Anthony said. “Talking to one another, communicating, being there for our teammates, being in sync with everybody out there on the basketball court.”

The Knicks had a team dinner Monday night at West Point’s historic Thayer Hotel. Team president Phil Jackson gave a brief speech, but remained mum during Fisher’s first practice, sitting in the front row of the bleachers. “Which is good,’’ Fisher said.

Fisher wants to establish who is the coach. So far, so good.

“He is about his business, he is about working hard but working the right way,’’ Smith said. “There’s a difference between working hard, but working hard the right away.’’

Asked if it is hard for Fisher to command the type of respect most coaches have because of Jackson’s looming shadow, Anthony said, “He’s got it. He’s got it.’’
 3 years ago '04        #11330
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Berman

WEST POINT — While all his teammates went to the finish, Amar’e Stoudemire stood and watched the final 30 minutes of the Knicks first practice to rest his surgically repaired knees. That may be commonplace the first week of training camp as the staff still discusses whether Stoudemire will play all of November’s slate of back-to-back games.

Stoudemire, who had no medical procedures this offseason, prefers to play them all if he can.

“Right now I feel great,’’ Stoudemire said. “No limitations as far as games played at this point. It’s up to the coaching staff. At this point, Lord willing, I will play 82 games.”

Stoudemire sat out some back-to-backs last season and played in 65 of 82 games.

But new coach Derek Fisher noted some of his missed games were because of an ankle injury and the flu, saying he would have cleared the 70-game mark.

“We think the plan that we have will work,’’ Fisher said. “Part of it today was monitoring his level. We got to that point where we felt like it was time to pull him out.”

Stoudemire made it through the full night practice.

“Maybe there’s times I will go 100 percent depending how hard I train the time I’m out there,’’ Stoudemire said. “The medical staff will figure out if I reached maximum potential as far as conditioning. Just follow their lead.’’

Last season, Stoudemire was banned from playing back-to-back games until later in the season. The Knicks open with a back-to-back against the Bulls and Cavaliers.

“I don’t think a decision has been made on back-to-backs,” Fisher said. “We obviously start out, our first month is amazing in terms of the toughness of the schedule and the back-to-backs right from the jump. We’re hoping if we manage the month of October the right way it will give Amar’e the best chance to move through the first month of our season, not just in shape but still go to another level.”

Rookie Cleanthony Early said Carmelo Anthony might have pushed for the Knicks to draft him, though falling to 34 made it a no-brainer. He was projected in many places as a mid-to-late first-round pick.

“I’m pretty sure he and the coaching staff are why I’m here today,’’ Early said. “They have confidence in me, and I have the same belief and confidence in myself.’’

Early really is in his hometown this week, playing at West Point, near his high school in Pine Bush, saying it increased his “motivation tenfold.’’

Early was a late bloomer and never played in the sectionals playoffs held at West Point.

“We were never that good,’’ Early said.

The Knicks wanted to stay at West Point until Saturday, but Army officials wouldn’t let them because of the Cadets’ football game against Ball State next door at Michie Stadium.
 3 years ago '04        #11331
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Begley

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony believes he's the "most underrated" star player in the NBA.

"I think I'm the most underrated superstar that's out there (laughs) but that doesn't matter to me," Anthony told ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Anthony was responding to a question about the possibility that he's underrated because he hasn't yet won an NBA title.

"I know what I'm capable of doing. I know the grind and the hard work I put in to this," Anthony said. "I know how consistent I've been over my career. To do it day in and day out and night in and night out on a very consistent basis year in year out, I know what I can do and I know the work I've put in."

"So as far as caring about if I'm underrated as a superstar, and getting the respect I deserve, I don't worry about that. In due time if everything goes well, I will get it."

Anthony is undoubtedly one of the top scorers in basketball. He won the NBA's scoring title in 2012-13 and finished second to Kevin Durant last season. But Anthony's individual success hasn't translated to his teams performing at an elite level.

Anthony's teams have made the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons in the NBA but have advanced past the second round just once.

Some equate that to a lack of talent surrounding Anthony. Others use it as a way to critique the seven-time All-Star.

Anthony was asked by Broussard if he's bothered by the idea that he's not known to be in the same class as LeBron James and Durant -- the men widely recognized as the top two players in the NBA.

"I know, personally, I'm there. It doesn't bother me," he said. "These (analysts) are all people that maybe never accomplish anything. That just sit back and write articles all day long about what they see. They're kind of living through us out there on the basketball court. "I don't worry about me being put up there. I know night in and night out I'm gonna go out there and put my work in regardless of win loss or draw. I'm still going to go out there and be the best player I can be."

Anthony tested free agency over the summer and entertained offers from Chicago, the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston and Dallas.

But the 30-year old ultimately decided to return to the Knicks, signing a five-year, $124 million contract.

Earlier this week, he said he was motivated to return to New York, in part, due to "unfinished business."

"I kind of forced my way to New York [in 2011], and I have some unfinished business to take care of," Anthony said Monday. "I wouldn't have felt right from a personal standpoint, just getting up and leaving."
 3 years ago '04        #11332
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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$42,056 | Props total: 3437 3437
Ohm Youngmisuk

WEST POINT, N.Y. –- It’s been only two days, but Carmelo Anthony can feel a difference with this Knicks team.

“The energy is different,” Anthony said Wednesday after team practice at Christl Arena at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. “The culture is a lot different now. The vibes around here is different.”

It's only natural for things to feel fresh and different when a new regime is brought in. But a structure, plan and direction seem to be in place with Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher.

With Jackson watching, Fisher continued to emphasize defense and fundamentals in his second day of camp.

Fisher said the team went over some offense, but the day practice session ended with each player working on individual defense, defensive shifts and communication.

“We finished with a defensive drill because part of our mindset will be that we have to finish every game with a stop to close out games,” Fisher said. “We lost 15 games last year by five points or less, so if you can get stops at the end of the game, more of those games can go [as wins].”

The Knicks have also focused on team unity and the importance of being a strong, unified unit. That theme has been hammered home by their stay here at West Point.

The team visited the Mess Hall and got to see a part of daily life at West Point.

“What we’ve been able to do these past couple of days is accountability, leadership, being honest with one another, having each other’s back, teamwork, and that’s something that’s the cadets’ thing, what they live by,” Anthony said. “We had a great opportunity to have lunch with the cadets and talk to them about what teamwork really means.

"We saw how they line up together, 4,000 people eating at one time, 15 minutes, and all on point, that was very impressive for me and everybody.”

The Knicks said that spilled over into practice when the players went about their business while strengthening their bond on the court.

“You see everybody now is willing to help one another,” Anthony said. “Everybody is very focused on the things that we have to be focused on. These past couple of days we’ve been very detail oriented on what we want to accomplish.”

On Tuesday night, the Knicks also watched “When the Garden Was Eden.” The ESPN 30 for 30 film directed by Michael Rapaport looks back at the Knicks' championship squad from the early 1970s.

The Knicks got to see how the city fell in love with that team, and the bond and unity that made those Knicks so special.

“Regardless of what we’re doing, whatever event we’re going to, it’s the same message -– it’s one team,” Anthony said. “That’s what we’re trying to create here.”

Of course, it is only two days into camp. The Knicks have to make sure to be consistent and exhibit the attitude and approach they have now for the entire season.

“I think our focus is definitely more now,” Amar'e Stoudemire said. “I think the energy is higher, I think we are more tuned in.”

“It’s early,” Stoudemire cautioned. “Again, things can feel great now, we just can’t resort back to the bad habits [from] before. We have to stay focused the entire year.”
 3 years ago '04        #11333
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

WEST POINT — Carmelo Anthony loved the efficiency. If only Phil Jackson’s triangle offense can achieve such fluidity in New York.

The Knicks joined the U.S. Military Academy’s cadets early Wednesday morning in the mess hall and experienced firsthand the intricacies of the Army student body getting in and out in such a short period.

“Beautiful, man. It was a different experience, man, just seeing the whole setup, from them lining up to them going in there eating, eating with them, talking to them,’’ Anthony said after Wednesday’s training camp practice at Christl Arena. “I was more shocked to see 4,000 people get fed at one time for 15 minutes. That right there was just special to see the discipline those guys and ladies have.’’

It’s all part of the West Point experience as rookie coach Derek Fisher and team president Phil Jackson set out to show the Knicks there’s more to this world than the NBA.

“Being here at West Point is bigger than basketball, bigger than what we’re trying to do from a team perspective,’’ Fisher said. “It’s an honor to be here. Talk about being a team and committing yourself to others — it’s a perfect example of it. We’re as much trying to build ourselves as a team by Xs and Os.’’

The mess-hall scene — with its hurry-up, family-style dining — is something Fisher said he hopes will have a lasting impression.

“I don’t think we can begin to learn as much as these young men and women and understand efficiency and working as a group and attention to detail,’’ Fisher said. “We were thankful to be there and appreciative they allowed us into their space. With the energy there today, it was definitely [carried] on the court. Guys appreciated how hard it is to be a member of the military academy. Having fun playing basketball is light work.’’

Asked what he hopes to get out of West Point, Fisher said: “Understanding we’re part of a larger fabric of society. In the NBA, sometimes we think in bubble, get hung up on each win, each loss. Being here to take a step back even as we’re trying to become a team.’’
Fisher wasn’t with the Knicks during last season’s 37-45 campaign, but he sure did his homework. That’s why the second straight day of camp practices focused on defense. The media watched the final defensive drill, with one defender guarding the entire perimeter while the a.ssistant coaches passed it around the horn.

“We lost 15 games last season by five points or less,’’ Fisher said. “We couldn’t get stops at the end of the games.”
That Fisher hasn’t established a starting lineup is a blessing, he says, because of the Knicks’ depth.

“It’s a blessing to have 15 quality NBA basketball players,’’ Fisher said.
 3 years ago '04        #11334
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

WEST POINT — Old center, meet the new center.

Knicks legend Willis Reed graced West Point and Knicks training camp Wednesday and stopped for a chat with the franchise’s likely new starting center, Samuel Dalembert. The 33-year-old Haitian is not trying to fill Reed’s immense shoes — but will attempt to fill those left by Tyson Chandler.

“We had a talk and he said what we need from you and expect is the rebounding stuff, being a presence, energy, things like that,’’ Dalembert said after the Knicks’ second day of practices at Christl Arena. “He’s a legend. It’s great to see a legend. For his size, the stuff he did was amazing.’’

Dalembert, the 6-foot-11 shot blocker out of Seton Hall, has plenty of size and has shown plenty of durability after early-career knee problems. But his stock leveled off, particularly after a nondescript season with the Mavericks, stuck in a crowded center rotation. Despite starting, he averaged 6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds in 20 minutes per game, and now is with his fifth team in five years.

“I’m feeling good — way better,’’ Dalembert said. “Last year I felt good too, but my time was limited. It was a lot of big men in the rotation. I did the best I could in the short period of time. I got plenty of energy if they want me to start. I haven’t been playing so many minutes the last three years. I’m fresh.’’

Dalembert also arguably has been the most injury-free center in the NBA since his 2002 knee surgery. Across the past 12 seasons, he has played 82 games four times, 65 of 66 games in the lockout season in 2012 and 80 last season with Dallas.

Reed gave his approval.

“I like him,’’ Reed said. “I watched him at Seton Hall. He’s an aggressive player, will be a good shot blocker and rebounder. He’s part of the reason the Knicks will be a better defensive team.’’

That could be taken as a slight to Chandler, shipped to Dallas in the Dalembert package before the draft. A former Defensive Player of the Year, Chandler didn’t live up to the part in 2013-14, especially as a rim protector and help defender.

Carmelo Anthony preferred not to compare Dalembert to Chandler.

“I don’t like to compare a lot of people,’’ Anthony said, “so I’ll talk about what Dalembert brings to the table right now. His presence, his defensive presence, the way he’s able to control the paint and alter shots, even if he don’t block a shot, he’s still there. He’s making a presence.’’

Hinting at Chandler’s first sign of regression, Knicks president Phil Jackson made a remark Friday, noting, “He played well for the Knicks over the years. I unfortunately wasn’t here. But he had a real tough year last year, there’s no doubt about it, by his own admission.’’

Dalembert’s only genuinely perplexing season was two years ago, when he fell out of favor with Bucks coach Scott Skiles after showing up late for a pregame meeting and played in just 47 games with a pile of DNPs. He also overslept and missed a workout last season and was suspended for the Mavericks-Knicks game.

“[Milwaukee] was a situation where you mature yourself,’’ Dalembert said. “I had the option of getting angry or cheering for teammates, do the work and come to practice. You don’t control the outcome of a coach.’’

Fisher has been all about defense since camp opened.

“He has talent on the defensive end,’’ Fisher said. “Timing, shot blocking, really being the anchor back there for us. We’re excited to have that ability here. He’s going to be a great a.sset for us, I think on both ends. He’s a good passer on the offensive end, better offensively than people give him credit for.’’

Dalembert is in the final year of his contract and the Knicks are eyeing a free-agent explosion in 2015 that could feature All-Star center Marc Gasol.

Even Reed predicts the Knicks will go after “a great big man.’’

But it wouldn’t be surprising if Dalembert plays close to 82 games in his new home.

“A lot of people just look at stats, a lot of times little things you do, energy you bring, inspiration you bring, people don’t understand that too much,’’ Dalembert said. “I got hurt in 2002, after that I promised to myself I will do everything in my power to be healthy.’’
 3 years ago '04        #11335
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Fred Kerber

WEST POINT — It’s enough to want to make you tear up your thigh, get a cortisone shot, limp onto the court and hit a couple jumpers.

The Captain — no, not Derek Jeter but the Knicks’ captain, Willis Reed — watched Knicks training-camp practice Wednesday, a symbol of where the franchise has been and where the current group wants to go.

“His presence here means a lot because I know what he was able to accomplish here, I know all the things and the work that he put in as a New York Knick,” Carmelo Anthony said. “He is the heart of the New York Knick organization for what he was able to do back then, and still be here to give that knowledge to us and for us to learn from that.”

As a reminder, the Knicks gathered Monday to watch an ESPN documentary, “When the Garden Was Eden,” about the glory years of the franchise, which included Reed’s unforgettable Game 7 appearance that sparked the 1969-70 NBA championship win over the Lakers. Walt Frazier put up the fantasy numbers, but Reed’s inspirational presence through injury was the catalyst.

“I heard they showed a film of some of my expert basketball playing,” Reed said with a smile. “I didn’t see the movie. I want to see it, though. They kind made me … the main guy — but I really wasn’t.”

Still, Reed, more than four decades later, serves as the symbol of that team. It’s a coach’s dream moment: overcoming adversity, taking one for the team — and winning a title. The documentary brought it back.

“It meant a great deal to each of us,” coach Derek Fisher said. “It helped a lot of us to understand the love affair between the city and the Knicks and how far back it goes.

“For our team, it just helped us to relate what goes into being a team, how special the relationships and the bonds are. … We hope to even scratch the surface of what those guys accomplished.”

While that won’t come this season, Reed believes the Knicks have steered their ship back on course, and the chief reason is former teammate Phil Jackson. So the playoffs are distinctly possible.

“The one thing I believe is that if anybody can change the fate of the New York Knicks, I think Phil will do it,” said Reed, who admitted he thought Jackson’s many ties to Los Angeles would have prevented his return to New York. “He’s had a remarkable career.”

But Jackson and Fisher won’t be scoring, rebounding or blocking shots.

“I believe they have enough talent,” Reed said of the roster. “They got to play hard and play defense, and I think they will. I really believe if everybody stays fairly healthy — Amar’e [Stoudemire] obviously is important — I think they will make it.”

Led by Anthony, whose return after a free-agency dabble was the right thing to do, Reed said.

“He had work undone and I think he enjoyed visiting other places, but I never thought he would actually leave,” Reed said. “I really would have been upset [and] surprised,” Reed said.

“He has been a great Knick … He’s a great offensive player. I love watching him play, score. I know that he can do a lot more and I think he will do more. I think it is his team and he wanted to do the thing he set out to do here, and that’s win a championship.”

But first, make the playoffs — which Reed forecasts for his old team.

“The East is not as strong as the West,” he said. “Because of that, they have a shot to definitely get to the playoffs.”

The first step before limping onto the court for the title game.
 3 years ago '04        #11336
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Fred Kerber

WEST POINT — Triangle this.

At the first practice of Knicks training camp at West Point, the triangle was an unspoken word. The 2 ¹/₂-hour session at Christl Arena was all defense, all the time. Rookie coach Derek Fisher realizes the team’s lack of defensive fortitude was the downfall of last season’s confused 37-45 club.

What a better venue to study the art of defense than a military academy built for it.

Amar’e Stoudemire gave high marks to Fisher for spending the first training-camp practice solely on defense, calling it “brilliant.’’ Stoudemire said the new coaching staff gave “a clear message’’ during the session, alluding to the confusion in last season’s system under Mike Woodson.

“Today we built our defensive foundation,’’ Fisher said. “There’ll be a lot of talk about our offense in terms of running the triangle, but defense is the anchor, the foundation to all great teams. Today we spent 2 ¹/₂ hours on defense. We didn’t do one triangle-specific thing.’’

When reporters were let in for the final 30 minutes, the defensive drills were simple. The offensive team passed the ball leisurely around the perimeter, allow the defensive players to shift around the arc and set into their positions.

“I think the message is clear defensively,’’ Stoudemire said. “There’s a strategy put in place. The coaching staff is very, very clear what they want to accomplish defensively.’’

The Knicks were ranked 24th of 30 teams in defensive ratings last season. Some players — including Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, a former defensive player of the year — grumbled about the team not making adjustments. Chandler and weak link Raymond Felton, both gone, carped about the switch-on-everything philosophy. In scramble mode, usually an outside shooter was left free. Woodson’s message was anything but clear. Jose Calderon has replaced Felton, and the hope is he is a much better perimeter defender.

“I’m not one to dwell on the past,’’ Stoudemire said. “Obviously last year was a troubling year for us. This year is much better year. We have clear message what we have to do to accomplish great things.’’

Fisher said he would prefer not to divulge his defensive strategies, other than a “team defense’’ approach, until it is revealed in Oct. 8’s preseason opener vs. the Celtics.

But a couple of players said one new approach is forcing attackers away from the middle — directly in contrast to what Woodson wanted.

“We are going to push everything to the sideline and keeping people out of our middle,’’ Smith said. “Last year it was more forcing people to the middle. That right there is a mind-set that eliminates people not helping and who is supposed to be where. The attention to detail and the drills we are doing, everybody understands where they are supposed to be on the defensive end. A lot of attention to detail. I think that is exactly what we need.’’

Carmelo Anthony got more out of it than schematics.

“The focus today was totally, 100 percent on the defensive side, not so much of schemes and X’s and O’s but more of trusting one another on the defensive end,’’ Anthony said. “Talking to one another, communicating, being there for our teammates, being in sync with everybody out there on the basketball court.”

The Knicks had a team dinner Monday night at West Point’s historic Thayer Hotel. Team president Phil Jackson gave a brief speech, but remained mum during Fisher’s first practice, sitting in the front row of the bleachers. “Which is good,’’ Fisher said.

Fisher wants to establish who is the coach. So far, so good.

“He is about his business, he is about working hard but working the right way,’’ Smith said. “There’s a difference between working hard, but working hard the right away.’’

Asked if it is hard for Fisher to command the type of respect most coaches have because of Jackson’s looming shadow, Anthony said, “He’s got it. He’s got it.’’
 3 years ago '04        #11337
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Berman

WEST POINT — Never mind.

Carmelo Anthony said after Thursday’s Knicks practice at Christl Arena that his reported remark about being an “underrated superstar’’ was taken out of context.

“I don’t feel like that,’’ Anthony said. “I think it was the way the course of the conversation was going. They took it and ran with it. It’s not something — I don’t get into that. I’ll let you guys write about if I’m underrated or not. I know what I can do on the basketball court. I know what I can get better at. But as self-proclaiming as me being underrated, it’s not what I believe.’’

In a television interview with ESPN at Monday’s Media Day that has yet to air, Anthony was asked if he felt he’s an underrated superstar. He laughed and said, “I think I’m the most underrated superstar that’s out there, but that doesn’t matter to me.”

On Thursday, Anthony said the question was “a setup.’’ He did not seem angry, but said he just wanted to clear up that he doesn’t feel “slighted.’’

“At the end of the day, you get what you deserve,’’ Anthony said Thursday. “Last year we didn’t make the playoffs. We took a step backwards. Regardless of what kind of season I had statistically, it doesn’t matter. The year before it was a different year. We did have team success. At end of the day, I want to win. Whatever comes with that, I accept it.”

Anthony has been out of the first round of the playoffs just twice in 11 seasons. He missed the playoffs for the first time in his career last season and struggled in clutch spots as the Knicks lost 15 games by 5 points or less. Anthony was heavily recruited as a free agent. He visited four teams, all willing to give him a max deal. The Knicks offered him the max, but Anthony took less — a five-year, $124 million package.

“I’m good,’’ Anthony said. “I know my capabilities. I know what I’m bringing to the table with the Knicks. I don’t even think about [being underrated]. If I start thinking about that, I’m losing focus on the task at hand.’’

In the TV interview, Anthony reportedly said he believes he’s on a similar level to LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

“I know personally I’m there,’’ Anthony said.
 3 years ago '04        #11338
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Begley

If things work out well for the Knicks, Derek Fisher hopes to have the same starting lineup for the entire season.

“I do believe in having consistency in your starting lineup,” Fisher said. “... It’s my belief that players respond better to consistency. So hopefully we’ll be able to keep it that way once we settle into it and that we can remain relatively healthy, which is always the key to having a consistent starting rotation."

Last season, Mike Woodson switched his lineups all year, going with 21 different starting units.

Woodson was forced into lineup changes due to injury at times. He also vacillated between playing bigger and smaller lineups.

You can make a strong argument that the lineup inconsistencies were one reason why those Knicks finished with just 37 wins.

Fisher said on Thursday that he has been on teams that change starting lineups and teams that play with consistent starting fives.

“I’ve seen it work both ways. I’ve seen great coaches not necessarily adjust to the team they were playing but adjust based on the way their guys were playing,” Fisher said. “Sometimes guys are not playing as well during certain stretches of the season, a guy has an injury, he’s in and out of the lineup etcetera, but I do believe in having consistency.”

Carmelo Anthony will definitely be in the Knicks' starting lineup, but Fisher has left the other four spots up for grabs.

One particular position of interest is shooting guard. Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith are vying for minutes at the position.

“I think I’ve been pretty frank with our 2-guard position being deepest in terms of three guys that have played minutes that have been out on the floor a lot,” Fisher said. “All three guys are capable of starting or coming off of the bench. It’s just going to more so depend on how our team rounds out, how the balance of five guys on the floor at the same time in our starting group as well as the guys coming off the bench how it fits into the team. So I didn’t come into training camp with a decision made on the front end and I’m not coming in really looking at as though I’m trying to decide on that position.”

Fisher is looking for a starting unit that “can play well together on both ends of the floor."

"That will become obvious to us as we go along," he said. "And it won’t be about singling out individual guys to plug in. it’s about five guys that play as a team.”

The first-year coach has also emphasized defense early on in camp. If he’s looking for a defensive-minded shooting guard, Shumpert may have an edge.

Shumpert's defensive real plus-minus, which measures his impact through the prism of points allowed per 100 defensive possessions, was quite strong -- he ranked first among shooting guards last year who played at least 25 minutes per game (and fourth among all shooting guards).

Hardaway Jr. struggled on defense in his rookie season, but Fisher praised the second-year guard on Thursday.

“We’re going to continue to focus on the defensive end. So whether it’s Tim or anybody else on our team, that’s going to be the end of the floor that separates you from others in terms of how we fill out the roster, how we’re deciding how to build a great team,” Fisher said. “We have a ton of guys that can put the ball in the basket so we have to continue to make sure that defense is a priority and Tim has responded excellently. He’s been active on the defensive end from start to finish every practice.”
 3 years ago '04        #11339
Born_Loser|M 98 heat pts98
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Begley

The New York Knicks have only had three days of practice together, but Carmelo Anthony already feels a connection with new point guard Jose Calderon.

"We got it," Anthony said when asked about developing chemistry with Calderon. "It’s not hard. Jose is a vet. He knows what he’s doing. He knows how to play. It’s not hard to connect with somebody like that."

Those words will be soothing to fans who were frustrated with Raymond Felton's play last season. Felton was dealt to Dallas along with Tyson Chandler for a package centered around Calderon and Samuel Dalembert.

Anthony and Calderon are expected to be a part of Derek Fisher's starting lineup. The Knicks hope that Calderon's steady hand and accurate shot can help spur the new triangle offense.

Anthony said on Thursday that he expects to be able to exploit defenses all over the floor in the new offense.

“It’s going to be a lot different in a good way with me just picking spots on the basketball court and kind of nobody knowing where I’m going to be on the basketball court,” Anthony said. “It’s just a matter of me learning it a lot more and us as a team learning each other in this system.”

FISH CONFIDENT IN JOSE’S D: Calderon has been labeled as a poor defender by some. But Fisher on Thursday said he isn’t concerned about Calderon being a weak link on defense.

“Defense is about five guys on the team. I was personally persecuted in a sense in L.A. for many years that I couldn’t play defense individually and it’s always about how five guys play defense,” Fisher said. “In the NBA there’s really not the same level of one on one just cover your man type of defense so I think Jose will be fine. He competes hard. So I’m not concerned about whether or not he can play defense. It’s whether or not we can play defense.”

FISH SATISFIED WITH CONDITIONING, TRIANGLE PROGRESS: Fisher is encouraged by his players’ conditioning early in camp. According to a league source, Phil Jackson wasn’t happy with some of the players’ conditioning when he took over as president.

“I’m more than satisfied with the level of conditioning and the base level to start with that all of our guys have,” Fisher said. “I think the game has changed a lot over the years where guys know the potential for injury is much higher if you come into camp trying to get into shape."

Fisher also said it may take veterans a little longer to pick up the triangle than it will younger players.

“It’s not that the system is complicated or difficult to learn but just like anything else it takes a bit longer to undo something and learn something,” the coach said. ... Anthony said the Knicks had a “team-bonding session” at the team hotel on Wednesday night. ... Fisher is appreciative of the level of respect he’s gotten from Anthony and the players so far. “I see it and I sense it. And it’s allowed me to gain more confidence every day that I’m out here with him,” he said. ... Fisher also said being at West Point has had a big impact on the team. “Even though we’ve only been here a few days it doesn’t take long for this atmosphere to kind of permeate and become part of who you are,” he said.
 3 years ago '04        #11340
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Berman

WEST POINT — Nobody is happier to have a coach not named Mike Woodson than Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who spent last season looking like an angry man with an angry jump shot.

Whether he was angry at former coach Woodson, who rode him hard and criticized him often, wasn’t always clear. Shumpert once said during last season’s misery he was “angry at the world.’’ But he sure isn’t angry at rookie coach Derek Fisher. Shumpert has the utmost respect for Fisher, especially since he buried a 3-pointer in Shumpert’s face last season while playing for the Thunder.

“I love it,’’ Shumpert said. “He sort of seems like he did it before. I didn’t think he’d be that good [as a coach] off the bat. He speaks as if he’s been coaching for years. You forget he played, at times. Until he goes out here, does an example and does it way better than most coaches do it. … He’s professional through and through, on and off the court.’’

Shumpert said Fisher and the new staff are “reteaching fundamentals, like even how to pass. It’s refreshing.”

Earlier this week, Shumpert said his family got on him for looking so visibly upset last season. Shumpert said he has nothing to be angry about now, but admitted circumstances weren’t perfect entering last season’s training camp after owner James Dolan fired general manager Glen Grunwald four days before the first practice and replaced him with Steve Mills, who tried to ship out the former Georgia Tech product.

“There was a lot of other stuff going on,’’ Shumpert said. “We had to do team meetings before practices to sort of explain what’s going on. I think this year it’s more straightforward, a positive energy and positive from [the media] and New York fans.’’

Shumpert, in the final year of his rookie contract, thinks part of the new energy is also being at West Point for training camp.

“You’re more appreciative of the time spent with teammates,’’ he said. “You come to the training facility every day, you lose sight of what’s going on. You never want it to become a job.

“We thought it would be more militant and job-oriented, but it’s more family-oriented. We had run to together in one line. With whatever we do we want to do it together, just because we’ve been on the campus. We just hopes it carries on to throughout the season.’’

Amar’e Stoudemire, who observes Jewish customs, will fast Saturday for Yom Kippur and still practice. Stoudemire said it’s the fourth year he will have fasted.

While legend Willis Reed spent three days at West Point, Walt Frazier stopped by for Thursday night’s practice, but didn’t work with the players. Frazier has expressed interest in doing some instructing during the preseason.

“He’s always working with players on fashion tips but no on-court work this week,’’ Fisher said.

Spike Lee has directed a new special for MSG Network entitled “What is the Triangle Offense?’’ to premiere Oct. 24.
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