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  1. #1
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    Melo confident after Knicks conquer London

    Seems Shump may just start at the SF spot.




    Melo confident after Knicks conquer London
    By MARC BERMAN
    Last Updated: 4:27 AM, January 19, 2013
    Posted: 1:40 AM, January 19, 2013



    The Knicks flew back yesterday morning from England — with a band of players Carmelo Anthony believes is the best he ever has been a part of.

    Perhaps the perspective of being back where he won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team and seeing a key component return in Iman Shumpert underscored the point to Anthony.

    Anthony has not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in two tries with the Knicks and has done so just once in his nine NBA seasons.

    “By far,’’ Anthony said Thursday night in London when asked whether this is his strongest team. “I have been on good teams before. But as far as being a complete team from top to bottom, this is the best team I’ve been a part of.’’




    The Knicks’ British Invasion went perfectly. They whipped the Pistons at a sold-out O2 Arena, 102-87, after leaping out to a 16-2 start. Shumpert started at shooting guard in his season debut, the last piece added to the Knicks’ mix.

    Anthony (26 points) and Amar’e Stoudemire (17 points) played together with ease and without ego. The only chemistry issue in Britain was whether yesterday’s snow would become a blizzard.

    “We know the type of players we have,’’ Anthony said. “We have fun. We’re a fun team to watch. We trust each other in the locker room. We have fun with one another. Nothing else can come between us.’’

    The Knicks, at 25-13, are one game behind the Heat for the best record in the East and two games up on the Nets in the Atlantic Division. They don’t play again until they host the Nets on Monday in an Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee before what could be a contentious showdown in Boston on Thursday. (London’s favorite filmmaker, Spike Lee, has already guaranteed a victory over Brooklyn.)

    The Knicks are not whole yet and may never be, but it may not matter. As coach Mike Woodson said, “I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a full deck.’’

    The Knicks may have to do without starting point guard Raymond Felton for only two more games. Felton broke his right pinkie on Christmas Day. He said in London he plans to return in Philadelphia on Jan. 26.

    All signs point to Felton rejoining the starting lineup in a three-guard alignment with Jason Kidd and Shumpert. That keeps Anthony at power forward, Tyson Chandler at center and the improving Stoudemire as a key bench ingredient.

    As Marcus Camby said two weeks ago, “Our best lineup is with Melo at the 4.’’

    Stoudemire repeatedly has said he is content with his bench role because the team keeps winning and he doesn’t want to disrupt the Big Apple cart. He is allowed to play 30 minutes now, but Woodson still is keeping him in the 20-minute range, possibly in anticipation of how the timing will work out when Felton and Shumpert are both active.

    Woodson has had ample opportunity to start Stoudemire in the past few games due to the injuries, but he has chosen not to. He wants Stoudemire, who had his most comfortable offensive showing of the season in London in his eighth game, to familiarize himself with coming off the bench for the first time in his career. It is a similar situation to Woodson refusing to start sixth man J.R. Smith despite injuries.

    Shumpert’s 15-minute London debut boosted the Knicks defense, especially at the outset, curing their recent slow beginnings.

    “It’ll help when we get Raymond and Iman both,’’ Woodson said. “It starts with them up front in terms of applying pressure.’’

    Aside from Felton, the Knicks are waiting on reserve big men Rasheed Wallace, 38, and Camby, 39, both of whom have chronic left-foot injuries.

    Wallace and Camby probably never will be well at the same time. Camby is dealing with his second bout of plantar fasciitis and is at least two weeks away. Wallace’s return keeps getting delayed. There is concern Wallace’s stress reaction will turn into a season-ending stress fracture without proper rest.

    In their injury-depleted state, the Knicks have routed the Heat twice by 20 points but have lost all three to the Bulls — without Derrick Rose. Still, Stoudemire fears the Heat the most.

    “You got to show respect to the defending champs,’’ he said. “They won a championship last year. Miami is definitely playing well this year.’’

    There was a nice moment in London, with Anthony and Stoudemire sharing the dais after the win, looking sharp in gray suits and comfortable together. When a British scribe asked whose team it was, Stoudemire interjected: “It’s Melo’s team.’’

    Anthony countered, “No, it’s Jim Dolan’s team.’’

    They laughed. Maybe they are simply a team.

    marc.berman@nypost.com



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  2. #2
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    Awesome article. It's great he believes this team is even better than that 09 Nugs team that almost made the finals.

    I try to be objective in my posts for the most part, and this might sound very homerish, but I think we have the best team in the league from to to bottom when at full health.

    Think about it, this team is a half game from the 1 seed in the East and we're one of the very few teams in this league that have never had a fully healthy roster at our disposal. Our starting 5 hasn't even been on the court this year together yet, and we're still in the hunt for the 1 seed.

    They should let Camby and Wallace rest for as long as they need to so we can make the big time push after the All Star break. I seriously think that if the roster can stay healthy, we can beat anybody in a 7 game series. We're stacked at every position.

  3. #3
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    Woodson has had ample opportunity to start Stoudemire in the past few games due to the injuries, but he has chosen not to. He wants Stoudemire, who had his most comfortable offensive showing of the season in London in his eighth game, to familiarize himself with coming off the bench for the first time in his career. It is a similar situation to Woodson refusing to start sixth man J.R. Smith despite injuries.
    Also thought this was big. It seems these two guys particularly Woody isn't going to put them in the starting lineup for a game here a game there during injuries and than take them out. They are going to come off the bench for this team from start to finish. I personally think its going to click to the point where our bench is straight demolishing teams with Prigs-JR-Novak-STAT just going ham. Would love to add Sheed to that unit.
    The value of elite scoring ability, by Phil Jackson:

    "This is a guy, we recognize his talent, and his skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky, grind-out, and basketball becomes a force game and suddenly you need to have a player who has the capabilities of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that’s critical. He’s one of those players, one of the few players who can do that.”

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    I am also weary of having Shump guard guys way bigger and stronger on a nightly basis fresh off ACL surgery. I wouldn't do it but I'm willing to ride with it and give it a shot, Shump one of those smaller guys who can defend guys of different sizes. He can give himself some space on speedy PG's, use his lengthy frame to stay in front of them laterally and contest their shots and step backs. He can get up in a bigger guy and give them no space to the point where he pretty much suffocates them ala Dahntay Jones type D we've seen on Melo and similar to the strategy Nellie's Warriors had on Dirk throwing way smaller guys like Barnes and Stephen Jackson on him.
    The value of elite scoring ability, by Phil Jackson:

    "This is a guy, we recognize his talent, and his skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky, grind-out, and basketball becomes a force game and suddenly you need to have a player who has the capabilities of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that’s critical. He’s one of those players, one of the few players who can do that.”

  5. #5
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    Great article. Watching that London game, In my mind I was thinking to myself that if we beat the Pistons easily (which we did) we can go on a run after this. It was a great time for the team to have fun together off the court, separating themselves from the rest of the NBA and it also reminded Melo and Tyson of the Olympics and what they're trying to accomplish. With Shumpert returning is like its a new season.

    I think we're gonna go on a nice run. Hopefully we murder Brooklyn and Boston.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dankster View Post
    Awesome article. It's great he believes this team is even better than that 09 Nugs team that almost made the finals.

    I try to be objective in my posts for the most part, and this might sound very homerish, but I think we have the best team in the league from to to bottom when at full health.

    Think about it, this team is a half game from the 1 seed in the East and we're one of the very few teams in this league that have never had a fully healthy roster at our disposal. Our starting 5 hasn't even been on the court this year together yet, and we're still in the hunt for the 1 seed.

    They should let Camby and Wallace rest for as long as they need to so we can make the big time push after the All Star break. I seriously think that if the roster can stay healthy, we can beat anybody in a 7 game series. We're stacked at every position.
    I just hope we can get and stay fully healthy. We haven't seen it yet which is the exciting thing. I wasn't getting as excited about Shumps return as many on here because I didn't know if he would be the same after the ACL this year. But he is a game changer and he looks every bit the same. Can't wait for Felton to be back and hopefully camby sometime as well. Then wow look out. Challenge on woody though to find the right rotations.

  7. #7
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    Great article....I think we'll be alright with Shump at the SF. The main thing is him being in the starting lineup with Kidd and Melo together. He gives us that energy we lacked starting the game.

    Felton
    Kidd
    Shump
    Melo
    Tyson

    This will be an instant energy group both offensively and defensively.

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  8. #8
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    I would hope the remark in the article is just a personal guess. The knicks would be better off with having a real shooting guard and small forward start.

    I know it was the pistons, but the opp field goal percentage with Shumps on and off the court was crazy. The knicks need that for 30 minutes a game. Kid can still bring his "intangibles" off the bench.
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    Shumps mins eventually need to go up to the 30 min range, because of his defensive intensity.
    I think Kidd should be playing in 5 min Spurts, gonna be interesting to see how the lineup and minutes get divided when Felton comes back and Shump is 100%

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    The next week has 3 big Atlantic Division Rivals. We need to get them.

    One game at a time. Brooklyn is playing well recently and so is Boston.

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    There is only one team I can think of that I wouldnt want to have that projected starting line up with Shump at sf and that is OKC. Yes Shump is a very good defender but KD thrives off of his height. Our best bet would be to have Melo guard him and replace maybe Kidd with Thomas on Ibaka.

    Other then that, there is no other sf that I think would be very difficult for him to guard. J.R. would most likely sub in as a sf when Shump is in moving him back to the sg position.
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  12. #12
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    Shump can guard anyone 1-3. He will handle whatever defensive assignment he has coming to him and fulfill it.

    Also this article is speculating that it will be a 3-guard mix, but it's not set in stone. I'd honestly much rather have Kidd off the bench conserving his minutes playing back-up PG, over Prigs.

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    I was very surprised at Shump's return. He looks all the way back. Didn't expect that. In fact, he looked even better on the offensive end. I still would give him limited minutes (maybe 25) until March though.

    On topic, he is 6'5 and long, and strong and he can definitely guard most SFs. That 3 pg lineup, with Melo also very capable and often running the pick and roll or playing point forward....is going to be sick offensively, and I think can generate a lot of turnovers, and be great on rotations defensively with that quickness. But that lineup will have 4 guys who are great running the pick and roll, and Melo/Tyson are good finishers out of it...Amare will play a lot with these lineups too.



    Most dynamic roster in the NBA. All they're missing is that other big with both Wallace/Camby out.

    Hopefully they continue to correct things defensively and it shows up next week vs division rivals. Because as Amare has gotten into a groove offensively and Shumpert bringing an extra gear...it shows how great they can be offensively. Just so many ways to beat teams, and can matchup with anyone. They can isolate and exploit matchups with Melo (the best in the world at it), Amare, JR, felton, Shump. Possibly the best pick and roll team in basketball. One of the best 3pt shooting teams in basketball, post up with Melo/Amare, and fast enough to run you out of the gym with 2-3 pg lineups and athletic frontcourts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anji View Post
    I would hope the remark in the article is just a personal guess. The knicks would be better off with having a real shooting guard and small forward start.

    I know it was the pistons, but the opp field goal percentage with Shumps on and off the court was crazy. The knicks need that for 30 minutes a game. Kid can still bring his "intangibles" off the bench.
    Agree. Shump can guard Small Forwards but do you really want him having to this this regularly? Who guards Rose or D Wade with this line up? I hate watching Melo try to guard big PFs also. Melo guarding KG like the last game? Just got Melo in trouble.

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    I would start Brewer at the 3..

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