Knicks-Spurs: What to Watch For

The Knicks sucked last night and now they play in San Antonio on a back to back. Great.

Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries, the two best front court defenders on the team, will sit out tonights game with injuries. Iman Shumpert will start for Landry Fields, probably in an attempt to slow down Tony Parker. The Knicks come into tonights game only 3 games up on the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th seed. The Knicks play Milwaukee on Friday and the schedule only gets harder after that. The Knicks need to start winning games. At 18-20, they cannot afford to keep losing or else they may find themselves out of the playoff picture. This is a big game for the Knicks and they will need to provide far better effort than they did last night in Dallas.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Chandler and Jeffries are out. This means that Amar’e Stoudemire will see a lot of time playing center tonight. Coming off a 26 point effort, playing center tonight may be the thing that sparks the Knicks star to shine the rest of the year. Offensively, he is much better playing center for a variety of reasons. Without Chandler taking up the middle of the floor, Stoudemire will have more space to operate with the ball. In Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the center is the primary pick and roll option. Many fans have called for Stoudemire to be running more pick and roll and tonight they should see more of that. I expect Stoudemire to be very involved running the pick and roll with Jeremy Lin and Baron Davis. Josh Harrellson will start in Chandler’s place and Steve Novak will see a lot of minutes coming off the bench. Both players can spread the court due to their outside shooting ability and that should also open some things up in the middle for Stoudemire.
  • Which Melo will show up tonight? God knows they need him tonight. San Antonio is already a tough team. They become tougher when Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries are sitting on the bench. The Knicks need a herculean effort tonight from Melo. I’m not sure they will get it. His effort and demeanor last night were disgusting. His body language gave off the impression that he did not care about the game. His pouting in the fourth quarter was childish and his smiling and joking with fans late in the game almost caused me to hack up my pre-game steak quesadilla. Here’s the deal on Melo. I called him Starmelo Manthony last night because that is what he deserved. That being said, that was one game. Melo is generally regarded as a mildly intelligent person. Anybody with mild intelligence should realize that New York is going to destroy Carmelo Anthony unless he pulls his head out of his *** and begins to produce. Even on nights in which he doesn’t produce, Melo needs to be a better teammate and display better body language on the court. I don’t know how Melo is going to play tonight. He has not been the Melo of old this year. Sure, Richard Jefferson is old but you don’t know how Melo is going to play. If he sucks again tonight, so be it. I want to see him show passion for the game. I want him to be pissed if the Knicks are losing. Playing bad is one thing. Having a horrible attitude is another. I’m more worried about Melo’s attitude than his play. Stay tuned.
  • Steve Novak versus Matt Bonner. I really would love to see this matchup tonight. Slow footed white sharpshooter versus slow footed white sharpshooter. Even better would be if they got into a fight. I feel like it would look like this:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ueUao3bN0s]
  • Is JR Smith the Mike Bibby of March? He’s 0/7 on 3′s so far… Just saying.
  • Iman Shumpert is starting for Landry Fields. I don’t think this is a huge deal. I love Shumpert providing energy off the bench but I think Mike D’Antoni made this move hoping that Shumpert can help the Knicks begin games a bit better than they have been as of late. They lost the first quarter 27-15 last night. Shumpert was already playing more minutes than Landry Fields anyways and he has shot better this season. Again, I love Shumpert coming off the bench but I think this is a nice move. Hopefully, Fields will log minutes at small forward now that he won’t be forced to play a significant amount of his minutes along side Carmelo Anthony. He is a better small forward than shooting guard and I think, in theory, he should play better there coming off the bench.
  • And now, here’s a video of Stephon Marbury eating Vaseline.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eUtSV519vU] [twitter-follow screen_name='tarmosino' show_screen_name='no']