Carey Smith from Philadunkia decided to feature KnickerBlogger for his “Fo’ with the Foes” series. He asks 2 questions about the Knicks, and then asks for 2 insider points on the team. Here is my response.
Philadunkia: Raymond Felton is obviously playing out of his mind this year. Can you pinpoint for us what things Felton has changed about his game that have helped produced such a banner year or was it simply a “change of scenery” that has led to his explosion this season?
KnickerBlogger: It depends what you constitute as improvement in Felton. He started off the year playing out of his mind. However he’s hit a sharp decline since. In Charlotte, Felton was a poor shooter until his final year when he was closer to the league average. This year he started off way above his norm, and has since cooled off. The question is where will Felton level off, at his last year numbers with the Bobcats or closer to his first four years in the league?
I delve deeply into the issue in this article.
Philadunkia: 76ers fans are viewing this two game weekend set as a big “series” which could draw the Sixers closer to the 6-seed in the 2011 Playoff race. Can you give us a little insight as to what importance level (if any) is being placed on this two game set by NYK fans?
KnickerBlogger: After years of being on the outside (and the very far outside), Knick fans have the inside track for a playoff spot. So New Yorkers aren’t looking behind, but rather ahead. With an improved team, led by All Star Amar’e Stoudemire, it seems as if the Knicks can beat any given team. Not that they are likely to, but that they have a fighting chance. With this kind of mindset, it seems that every game is important. A win in February is just as important as April, no matter the opponent.
On the other hand Alan Hahn of Newsday quotes Donnie Walsh calling the match-up a “challenge” and Raymond Felton describing it “like playoff games” and expects “a dogfight, no question.” So what do I know?
KnickerBlogger Insider Point #1: Keep track of Landry Fields at all times. He moves incredibly well without the ball. He’s that unique type of slippery player that any time your eyes leave him, it’s an opportunity for him to break to the hoop for an easy bucket. He’s very good finishing at the basket, like a smaller version of David Lee, that you have to stop him from receiving the ball there. Also he’s a tenacious rebounder for a shooting guard.
KnickerBlogger Insider Point #2: Danilo Gallinari is just another Euro-outside shooter, right? Wrong! He’s very adept at getting to the hoop and drawing contact when there. He attempts 6.2 free throws per 36 minutes, 2nd best on the Knicks after Stoudemire. The Rooster excels at turning contact on a drive into a trip to the charity stripe, and at 88.4% he’s very good at converting his tries. Additionally he’s good at shielding the ball from his opponent. In the paint when cut off on his right side, he’ll unleash a left hand scoop shot across his body. If an opponent concentrates on his three point shooting too much, he’ll find himself starting at Gallo hitting free throw after free throw after free throw…