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Rapid Reaction: Landry Fields' Rookie Challenge performance

2/19/2011

WHAT IT MEANS: An hour and a half before tip-off, while fan favorite Blake Griffin was stealing the show and doing interviews, and John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins humored themselves by competing in a sit-down shooting contest, fellow starter Landry Fields was one of the only rookies putting in work early. He was taking shot after shot from the 3-point line. Then, he walked over to the bench and sat down, hardly saying a word to any of his teammates, taking in the scene. You can only imagine what he was thinking. How did I end up here? But the second-round afterthought has proven himself all season with that unwavering focus, and Fields helped his rookie squad upset the sophomores tonight, 148-140. As Mike D’Antoni put it after his career game against the Sixers on February 6th (25 points), “He hasn’t hit that rookie wall yet.”

LANDRY PLAYS ENTIRE FIELD: Fields started at shooting guard and mostly guarded the Blazers’ Wesley Matthews. He showed why Spike Lee calls him “Muddy” because he doesn’t mind getting dirty, doing all the little things. Fields finished with 15 points, including two 3-pointers, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks and zero turnovers. He even showed off one move out of his usual shooting and intangible playmaking. He drove on Matthews, then spun and hit a fallaway 20-footer.

LOVE FOR LANDRY: PA announcer David Courtney, of the Clippers, introduced Fields by paying homage to his hometown, saying “Born in Long Beach, California, from the New York Knicks, Landry Fields!” After he missed his first attempt, a layup after driving down the middle of the lane, a fan screamed, “Let’s go, Landry!” But a few minutes later, Fields connected on a fastbreak layup and got the and-1, which prompted the crowd behind the basket to erupt into applause.

FIELDS-FAVORS CONNECTION: Not once, but twice, Fields drove and found Nets rookie Derrick Favors slashing to the basket. In one sequence, Fields stole the ball, dribbled the length of the floor and dished to Favors for the dunk. It happened once more in the halfcourt offense, and this time Favors drew the foul and hit one free throw. Their two-man game highlights will make fans want to see more of that between Fields and Amare Stoudemire.

AMARE-MELO MOMENT: Carmelo Anthony is not a Knick yet, but he may have given fans a taste for what’s to come when he appeared at halfcourt with Stoudemire during a first-half timeout. They were interviewed by the game’s MC about getting voted in by the fans to the NBA All-Star Game. Anthony served as an assistant coach for the sophomore team and Stoudemire was an assistant for the rookies.

IT’S GOTTA BE THE SOCKS: Every player wore classic-themed square-patterned socks, which featured their team’s colors. Fields was rocking the colors blue and orange, along with his Nike sneakers.