Not Much Time Left For D’Antoni To Fix What Dolan Left Him

Published on: 31st March, 2011

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DIGIPIX
Not Much Time Left For D'Antoni To Fix What Dolan Left Him

Knicks Chauncey Billups clapping. New York Knicks vs Miami Heat. Original Filename: _HS91862.JPG  | read this item

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New York — The Knicks won the game tonight against the New Jersey Nets. It was a game they had to win, a game they knew was crucial for their playoff positioning, and a game they knew they should win against a less-talented, losing team, especially at home in front of their own roaring MSG partisans.

So, they won. But, they didn’t impress anyone with how they won. In fact, they were losing and losing big the entire night until the end of the third quarter. And, they had to get monster games from their own version of a Big Three in order to pull this one out.

It was 68-50 at the half, Nets winning at Madison Square in front of a booing, disgruntled crowd.

“We came in at halftime, and I was really frustrated, I had some words to say,” Billups said. “A couple other guys were frustrated. And it was just like: ‘Sixty-eight against a team that played last night?'”We’re fresh, supposed to be fresh, this is a big game for us, we’ve got a lot to lose, they don’t, and they looked like they wanted it more than we did. And we talked about that, we came out and immediately in the second half kind of turned the tide. The momentum went our way,” said Billups, who had his highest-scoring game as a member of the Knicks. “If we can get to a point where we can scrap like that from the start of the game, we should have some easy games.”

The fact the Knicks had to have three monster games from each of their newly-acquired, highly-paid stars to defeat a New Jersey Nets team that has won all of 23 games this year does not bode well for their playoff hopes. Nor does it bode well for any sort of positive future for this team, with their roster as currently constructed.

In a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, the Knicks weakened themselves in a variety of areas just to gain the big scorer in Anthony.

Gone is the team chemistry they had prior to the trade. Gone is the bench that actually was developing into an an asset with a little depth and some situational players who could be put on the floor to take advantage of different matchups. Gone is D’Antoni’s ability to utilize his offensive system known and respected throughout the NBA for its ability to move the ball, take quick shots before the defense can get set, and make havoc for any team trying to stop it.

Now, D’Antoni, hired for his offensive genius, is being asked to scrap his teachings and to install an offense that takes advantage of the one-on-one skills of Anthony and Stoudemire, with an aging Billups to orchestrate from the top. Not what D’Antoni signed up to do, is it?

And, this same coach, not known for his skill at teaching defense, has been handed a new roster of players who couldn’t play defense if it was being coached by Red Holzman, the old Knicks coach from the seventies. Anthony hasn’t focused on the defensive side of the floor since he entered the league seven years ago. Stoudemire is a power forward asked to guard centers who outweigh him by 40-50 pounds. And, Billups is 34-years old, and not getting any quicker. The way Brandon Jennings schooled Billups last week for an easy 34-points was sad to watch.

No matter how this team scraps and fights to win its final regular season games and then, it’s playoff games, it is going to be a struggle to win games because of the makeup of this roster.

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