By John Schmeelk
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There are a few things I need to get off my chest about the Knicks, of no particular connection. So here we go.
1) I happen to agree with Mike D’Antoni’s general philosophy of not fouling when you are up three in the final minute. I, however, have a more nuanced position. Depending on the team you are playing (if it has clutch shooters, three-point shooters, free-throw shooters etc), with under ten seconds to play, I believe you should consider fouling. I consider it even more when the opponent has no timeouts left, like the Celtics did on Sunday. There was a perfect time to foul with under 10 seconds left to play, and in that situation I would have done it. I would not, however, get into a free-throw shooting contest with a lot of time left on the clock. One never knows what will happen in one of those with twenty seconds on the clock.
2) Jeremy Lin is a rookie. He is going to have bad games, especially against good defensive teams like the Celtics. Overreacting to every single blip is just stupid and a waste of everyone’s time. I take solace in the fact that despite his bad game against the Celtics, he made three big plays in the closing moments of the game (a lefty lay-up, an open three and a nice bounce pass to Amar’e Stoudemire). He stayed in the game and played well late despite the problems. And no, Baron Davis is not taking his starting job.
3) I can’t believe some media outlets actually covered that Celtics game with the angle that Carmelo Anthony can’t close out games or make big shots. There is so much wrong with that, and I’d need three pages to go through it all. Anthony made two huge plays at the end of that game, and if not for Paul Pierce hitting a contested three he would have been the hero. Anthony has played within the offense since his return, is moving without the ball and is getting to the basket. His defense has improved. He is not a problem whatsoever.
4) I would like to see Stoudemire more involved on offense. He still lacks explosion, but he needs to be the screen man in more pick and rolls. If he isn’t contributing offensively, he is actually a detriment to the team when he’s out there on the floor because of his poor defense. The Knicks need to utilize him. If Tyson Chandler is going to have trouble catching with his bad hand it becomes even more important.
5) The Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith combination at shooting guard is going to end up being a situation where D’Antoni gives fourth quarter minutes to whomever is playing best. All three guys complement each other well. Shumpert is the best defender, Smith is the best scorer and Fields does a little of everything. It’s a good problem to have. Don’t be surprised if Stoudemire continues to play poorly if Anthony plays with two guys from this group at the two and three.
6) Finally on the ticket prices. As a four-year Knicks season ticket holder that sits in the upper bowl, last year was the first year I had my ticket prices raised. I went from $25 to $35. I thought it was a little steep, but reasonable. It’s being said that most of the price jumps this year will take place in the upper bowl, and I better not see too big of a jump again after a 40% increase last year. I’ll take a lot of pain in one season, but not two in a row. That’s not fair. You will hear me whine and complain about it in this space if it happens.
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