Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Knicks vs. Portland Trailblazers - What To Watch For

Despite the circus that has surrounded the New York Knicks today, the team is still entrenched in a six-game losing streak and play a similarly flailing team in the Portland Trailblazers tonight at 7:30. All week I had looked at this game as one the Knicks could most likely use to snap the losing streak. Winning cures everything, after all. But now the Knicks find themselves in a big old, chaotic mess and Mike D'Antoni, Dan D'Antoni, and Phil Weber are not around to try and find the remedy.

Take the jump for some things to watch for. This won't be a full preview with a scouting report, because I'm really not in the mood to be quirky and silly about the game. Not today. So, jump. NOW!!!

 - HOW THE HECK WILL THE KNICKS FUNCTION UNDER MIKE WOODSON?!
  • Not that the Knicks were really playing very organized or cohesive basketball before, but it looked like a mold of D'Antoni's famous offense. Now with Mike Woodson at the reins, what will they play? In Atlanta, Woodson ran a very heavily isolated offense, where Joe Johnson would hold the ball and dribble around for 15 seconds at a time (Carmelo Anthony just got an erection). Will they do the same? Or will they keep their same schemes as it is very late to try and start anew? 
 - WATCH THE BODY LANGUAGE!
  • We know a lot of Knicks supported Mike D'Antoni and his system. But that doesn't mean it's not a relief for some of them to have at least one of the constant clouds over their heads removed. They may find it invigorating to just focus on basketball, and maybe even have a new voice on the sidelines. I think how the team plays tonight will be a big indicator of what the rest of the season will look like.

 - POUNCE ON A WEAK TEAM!
  • As mentioned above, Portland has been the New York Knicks West this last month. They've lost seven of their last ten, and are only 6-15 on the road. Nate McMillan's job security is very much in question, and there have been rumored deals for Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford. They just got blown out by Indiana last night and shot only 31% from the field. The Knicks - if their minds are right - can beat these guys.
 - RAYMOND FELTON MAKES HIS RETURN TO MSG!
  • This is pretty miniscule compared to what's going on, but Felton was one of my favorite players to put on a Knicks uniform in his brief tenure. He's having a terrible season, but ex-Knicks (especially ones who were as upset about being traded as he was) tend to go off when they meet again. I just hope he gets some cheers from the crowd.

The first two points will be particularly interesting to watch as they are sort of the same. Will the rest of the Knicks freeze out Carmelo, who is very much at the center of all the drama? Will they play inspired basketball? The next few weeks are going to very interesting and it all starts tonight. Right now it's sort of hard to say, but... go Knicks.

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