In our last encounter with the Spurs, it was Raymond Felton's penetration game that dismantled the Spurs hopes of withstanding a furious Knicks comeback.
With Felton out, an exhausted Jason Kidd, a seemingly less reliable perimeter shot team-wide, and some questionable defence, will the Knicks be able to outlast the ever crafty Spurs?
FACT: Chris Copelands dreads each contain enough friction to throw every woman in every fat fighters, weight loss center, dietary clinic etc. in to an orgasmic squirting frenzy. Don't believe me? F*ck you.
Though New York's front office has reportedly worked diligently to move him elsewhere, the MSG faithful were happy to see him come home, as Stoudemire was met with a standing ovation when he checked in at the 3:31 mark of the opening quarter: Unfortunately, the rest of the evening didn't go quite so smoothly for Stoudemire, who ó somewhat expectedly ó looked rusty on both ends of the floor, clearly didn't have his legs or wind back after so much time on the shelf and offered relatively little in the Knicks' 105-100 loss to the Blazers.
Shortly after entering the game, Stoudemire got his first touch on the left block, defended by Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and promptly turned the ball over by stepping out of bounds while trying to make a post move on Aldridge along the baseline. (Here's hoping Hakeem wasn't watching.) He got his first shot up two possessions later, hoisting a jumper from the left elbow that went wanting ... as did his next four shots, leaving him scoreless in 9 1/2 minutes of first-half action.
Things didn't go much better on the defensive end, where he routinely looked lost, especially on a second-quarter pick-and-roll possession on which he completely forgot about Blazers center J.J. Hickson, who cut behind Stoudemire unmolested to the rim to dunk a lob thrown by Portland reserve guard Ronnie Price. Not that Stoudemire was alone in his defensive lapses ó Hickson torched the Knicks' frontline for 18 points (on 9 for 10 shooting) and eight rebounds in the first half, while sterling rookie point guard Damian Lillard toyed with older defenders Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni en route to 12 points and five assists at intermission.
Stoudemire made his sixth shot, scoring his first points of the season at the 3:11 mark of the third quarter on a layup generated by rolling to the rim after setting a screen near the right elbow for Carmelo Anthony. Two minutes later, he sagged along the baseline as J.R. Smith penetrated the paint, drew the defense and dished it off, setting up a big Amar'e dunk over Blazers rookie Victor Claver:
Playing on a minutes restriction as Knicks coach Mike Woodson looks to slowly work the 30-year-old former All-Star into the rotation, Stoudemire finished with six points on 3 for 8 shooting, one rebound, one block and two turnovers in just under 17 minutes. Rust aside, he offered glimpses of an intriguing pick-and-roll pairing with Prigioni on the second unit and, at times, with Anthony in potential starting/closing lineups ó if nothing else, he draws more defensive attention than nominal starting power forward Kurt Thomas ó while resembling the unaware defensive liability NBA fans have come to know over the past decade.
Are you a believer? I, Crazy❽s, am not. Apologies.
I predict W in this one. We have been playing down to competition lately, but i think our players understand who they are dealing with tonight.
Should play D for 48 min. with playoff intensity.
Coach, can you please run a few plays for Novak. If not, dont play him at all.