Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
We left the bad blood on the court and traded off five questions with Posting and Toasting guru Seth Rosenthal. He gave me a little insight on how the Knicks have managed to post a 12-4 record, thus far equalling the Heat.
1) For a while there, New York was the Jeremy Lin show. How has Raymond Felton handled the pressure of replacing him?
Raymond Felton's been pretty solid. I don't think he worries too much about filling Lin's shoes and, especially since the Knicks have been quite good and Lin's been a little spotty in Houston, that storyline has been mercifully subdued so far. But yeah, Lin aside, Felton's not blowing anyone away, but he's running the Knicks' offense smartly and carefully. He's got an excellent, ever-growing rapport with the team's primary offensive weapons.
2) Amare Stoudemire is expected to miss another month or so recovering from his knee surgery. Will the Knicks suffer a setback when he is reintroduced into the rotation?
I hear that question a lot. Obviously, I don't know. The Knicks' defense hasn't been so good that I worry much about Amar'e hurting it, but I suppose that's possible. In terms of Amar'e's offensive presence hurting New York's efficiency or, more specifically, Carmelo Anthony's effectiveness...we'll see. I'm one of those who still thinks there were extenuating circumstances hindering the possibility Melo, Amar'e, and Tyson Chandler forming a coherent whole last season, but I do recognize that Melo has played his best ball at the four and that Chandler and Amar'e often ran face-first into one another around the rim last season. It'll be interesting to see how often and with which units Amar'e plays upon his return.
3) Marcus Camby is easily banged up, and has played only 46 minutes thus far this season. Does he have anything left in the tank?
Well, between the time you asked me this question and right now, Camby has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, so...maybe? Not much in the tank right now.
4) Miami leads the NBA with a .495 shooting percentage and a .425 three point percentage. The key to beating Miami lays not in shutting them down, but in exploiting their sometimes suspect defense. With time running out and down by one, which Miami player is the most susceptible defensively, and who do you want taking the last heave?
It sure seems like those former Sonics-- Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis-- have been key to some defensive breakdowns this season. Ideally, Melo's the guy you want trying to score late in a game. Even more ideally, though, I'd prefer that he not try to get that bucket with a one-on-everyone isolation. You can use Melo to get a good, open look for one of the Knicks' shooters or run Melo through screens or as a decoy to the pick-and-roll to get him a good, open look instead of a tough one.
5) Many have the Heat and Knicks facing off in the Eastern Conference Final. Never mind one game...how could New York take down the champs four times out of seven?
Hard to imagine that happening, but I imagine it'd take near-perfect health, some excellent shooting from the perimeter, and some serious stifling of Miami's transition game. One thing the Knicks have had going for them is a very low turnover rate, and they'd need to keep that up to avoid giving the Heat easy baskets.
Be sure to visit the Knicks blog and see my answers for Seth, here at Posting and Toasting