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Schmeelk’s Stance: Start Of Something For Knicks?

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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By John Schmeelk
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It’s nice the Knicks beat the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night, but it doesn’t mean anything if the win doesn’t turn into any sort of consistent play and success. There are some good things to take out of the win:

-          The Knicks new starting lineup with Ronny Turiaf is probably a keeper. There’s energy coming out of the gate, the unit is solid defensively, and has enough scorers to keep teams honest. More important, it leaves Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas as the first two guys off the bench where they provide an effective spark both offensively and defensively.

-          Danilo Gallinari, for the second consecutive game, is showing he is far more than a shooter. Gallinari isn’t a great athlete, and he is starting to use his savvy and smarts to create fouls and get to the line. He will never take the next step as a player as solely an outside shooter. Wisely, he is now using the pump fake to draw fouls or get around his defender, who has to respect his jumper.  He will make himself a much more productive player if he can get to the line 6-8 times a game. Maintaining the aggressive mindset Gallinari has shown is the only way that happens.

-          A successful pick and roll. It’s telling that a Felton-Stoudemire pick and roll that resulted in a dunk for Stoudemire is something I actually have to report here. It’s something that should be happening far more often. Give Mike D’Antoni credit, however, because he has gone away from that play and focused on other sets since it hasn’t been working.

-          The Knicks pushed the ball consistently for the second consecutive game. With the halfcourt offense still out of sync, the Knicks have to push the ball to get easier looks. Raymond Felton, while struggling to find the pick player after they set the screen, has done a good job pushing it.

-          Has Mike D’Antoni finally given the red light to his team for shooting threes? I doubt it, but the team (Wilson Chandler particularly) looked far more interested in driving the ball to the basket than taking rushed threes earlier in the shot clock. It made for a much more efficient and fluid offense with better ball movement.

Can this continue? Will the team defense get better? Can the team take this win, improve their confidence level and play consistent basketball for an entire game?

As much as I loathe some of the things Mike D’Antoni says in his postgame pressers, he is right when he says the team has a confidence problem. They definitely get tight, and play scared at the end of games. The only way to beat that is to win, and use those wins to build belief. The team is good enough to win games and it’s time they started believing that. With two more winnable games on the west coast, it can start now.

UP AND UNDER

Up: Landry Fields, a basketball player. There aren’t many players coming into the NBA like Landry Fields, who gets his points by moving without the ball, getting to the basket and crashing the offensive glass from the guard position. He finishes great around the basket and you can see his confidence growing.

Under: Timofey Mozgov, who is playing himself out of the rotation. He is doing a good job challenging shots, but cannot find a roll in this offense with no one able to get him the ball cutting to the basket.,

AROUND THE WORLD

So much for Chris Paul wanting to leave the Hornets because they can’t win. I had them out of the playoffs in my NBA preview and right now I’m looking pretty stupid. Monty Williams has the team playing good defense, and getting everyone involved on offense. Imagine how good Chris Paul’s numbers would be if the Hornets had a consistent perimeter scorer he could feed the ball too. I still think they fall into the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture, but their start has been impressive.

THE FADEAWAY

After seeing Carmelo Anthony play on Tuesday, and thinking about it more and more, I don’t think he is a good fit for the Knicks. Yes, he instantly makes the team better and probably gets them to fifty wins – but he is an isolation player that shuts down the entire offense and ball movement, something Mike D’Antoni can’t stand. He’s also a bit of a knucklehead. Obviously, you can’t pass on a talent like that but someone like Deron Williams or Chris Paul would be a far better fit.

pixy Schmeelks Stance: Start Of Something For Knicks?