Diminished Playoff Role Frustrates Fields
Over the last four days, Landry Fields has been stoic and monotone as he answers questions about his preparedness, nervousness and readiness for his first playoff experience.
But upon returning to New York Wednesday, with Game 3 at Madison Square Garden awaiting Friday night, a frustrated Fields revealed some emotions on his Twitter account.
"Man, it's time, enough is enough," he said. "Let's do this."
The Knicks rookie, who started 81 of 82 games at shooting guard this season, has appeared lost on the court against the veteran Celtics. And as a result, he's getting lost on the bench.
Mike D'Antoni insisted on Monday, "My confidence is not shaken in him," but in both games Fields was not part of the rotation down the stretch.
Fields' troubles on offense clearly have D' Antoni looking elsewhere and the coach admitted before Game 2, "I'd be better served if I had more patience and kept him out there because we do need him and I trust him."
In crunch time in Game 2, however, D'Antoni went with Bill Walker (0-for-11) and veteran Roger Mason Jr . (1-for-4). Fields played just 5:05 in the second half and never got off the bench in the fourth quarter of the 96-93 loss.
On Sunday in Game 1, Fields played just 4:20 in the second half and not at all in the fourth quarter of the 87-85 loss.
Though he has tried to mask it, frustration with his diminished role is clearly building inside Fields, who had done a decent job defending his counterpart, 14-year veteran Ray Allen . Fields, the Stanford graduate, did "a pretty good amount" of cramming for this big test by studying video of Allen and the game's all-time three-point shooter's tendencies. "You just have to be there on the catch, he's a drop-dead shooter, everybody knows that," Fields said. "So you have to take away that and make him go to his second or third options."
Watching Allen drill three-pointers over the shorter defenders that D'Antoni has gone to, such as Toney Douglas and Anthony Carter, is undoubtedly maddening for the 6-7 Fields, who ached to be on the court.
"Yeah, every player wants to be out there and help out their team," Fields said. "Of course."
Allen has destroyed the Knicks from downtown, hitting seven of nine attempts, including 4-for-4 in Game 2. The Knicks entered the postseason with questions about the center position and their bench, but what has emerged is a bigger issue at shooting guard.
Fields has struggled to find a niche in the offense since the trade for Carmelo Anthony, which dramatically changed the look of the team and the offensive system. Before the trade, Fields averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 rebounds and shot 51.9 percent from the field. After the trade, his numbers fell to 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds and 45.3-percent shooting.
- Alan Hahn