Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Tonight, Derrick Rose is expecting to end his three-game absence from back spasms against the Indiana Pacers.
“That’s the plan,” Rose told assembled media after Monday’s practice. “I just want to put all these injuries behind me and get on with the season.
I think it’s just a one-shot thing. Before I fell I wasn’t worried about it. Things like this are going to happen. It comes with the season — bumps and falls. I just got to find a way around it. I can’t let it get to me mentally.”
How valuable is Rose’s success to the Knicks? Just look at their record since the explosive point guard has been sidelined. After playing just 10 minutes against the Phoenix Suns last week, Rose left for good with the back injury. The Knicks would lose the game in overtime following several late miscues from rookie point guard Ron Baker.
Two nights later, Golden State cruised to a 103-90 victory. And in New York’s last game against Denver, the Knicks were out-hustled in a 127-114 defeat.
Rose’s production (16 points, 47% FG) coupled with his penetration ability is essential to getting his teammates open looks. And with the Knicks nearly toppling back to .500, his return couldn’t have come at a better time.
By the time the first quarter ended, the Melo-less Knicks had scored a just 13 points on 30% shooting and were looking at a 17-point deficit. Being a “Knicks loyalist” feels more like being a sadist these days, as the team never got within striking distance and ended up losing 105-78.
WESTBROOK UNSTOPPABLE: In his first game back from a broken right hand, Westbrook was a terror on the Knicks’ hapless defense. He slashed to the rim for dunks and layups, hit pullup jumpers, and even dished the ball when necessary. He ended up with 32 points and 8 assists, with most of his damage being done in the first 24 minutes with OKC scoring a season-high 59 first half points. New York was held to just 33, the second fewest all season by an OKC opponent.
EMBARRASSING DEFICITS: Jose Calderon’s return has seen a marked improvement in the ball movement, but the team is still composed of too many players that can’t create their own shots and have to settle for long, contested jumpers. The Knicks were 2/19 from three-point land and could only muster 39% shooting from the field.Only two players managed double figures (Stat, 20 points and Hardaway, 11 points). In the second quarter, the Knicks were down 40-13. By the third, the deficit had ballooned to 37 points.
ALARMING NUMBERS: Right now, the Knicks are out of the playoffs by about 4 games. However, the team has went 0-3 on this road trip and 1-9 in their last 10 games.The schedule gets much tougher in December, meaning if the NY doesn’t find some type of continuity in the next several weeks, it’s likely they’ll be a lottery team headed into 2015.
MELO UPDATE: Our leader spoke to the media before the game and advised he’s getting “closer” to coming back from back spasms that started during the first quarter of the Rocket game. In addition, he’s still dealing with some nagging left knee soreness.
UP NEXT: New York gets their first crack at the new look Miami Heat on Sunday night at MSG. Although nowhere near as bad as the Knicks, the Heat are also off to a sluggish start with an 8-7 record.
Knicks center Tyson Chandler has confirmed that he will return to the starting lineup tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Chandler has been sidelined since November 6 after fracturing his right fibula in a collision with Bobcats guard Kemba Walker. In his absence, the Knicks have struggled mightily on the defensive end, posting an overall record of 7-17.
In the four games Chandler has played this year, he’s averaged 7 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal and 2.5 blocks.
Coach Woodson has also confirmed that the addition of Chandler will move Andrea Bargnani to the bench, and Carmelo Anthony to the power forward position.
Finally, some good news! I’m not expecting Chandler to be an immediate savior since the team’s problems are varied. In addition, it’ll take some games before his timing and legs are fully back. But from a morale standpoint, just his presence will be a huge energy burst for this team. The road to .500 begins tonight…
Raymond Felton, currently out with a right pinky fracture, completed his first non-contact practice yesterday at the Madison Square Garden training facility. It’s no secret that the Knicks desperately need Felton, who’s been out since late December. The loss of Felton has forced New York to put heavy minutes on its aged guard reserves Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni.
From the below clip, the recovery period has already done wonders for his shooting form. If everything continues to go well, Felton could be back this Saturday when NY heads to Philly to face the Sixers.
Knicks co-captain Amar’e Stoudemire will make his long-awaited season debut tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Portland Trailblazers.
Stoudemire had been sidelined the entire season after undergoing a left knee debridement procedure in October. He completed his first scrimmage on December 19 and completed a full contact practice with no problems.
Stoudemire is expected to come off the bench for the forseeable future, manning a formidable second unit with the team’s second leading scorer, JR Smith.
Source: Yahoo Sports
A low-post presence? More rebounding? Scoring help? Stat’s return couldn’t have come at a better time with Melo and Sheed questionable for tonight. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Stat has a monster game to start his season off right. I know for sure the Garden will give him a thunderous ovation. Once Shumpert is back, the circle will be complete.