Friday, February 3, 2012
W2W4: Knicks @ Celtics
By Ian Begley
There were plenty of positive vibes in the Knicks' locker room after their loss to Chicago on Thursday night. But the cold, hard facts remain: the Knicks have lost 10 of their last 12 and four of five heading into Friday night's showdown in Beantown.
With that in mind, here are a few things to keep an eye on tonight as the Knicks take on the Celtics:
WHAT'S THE POINT? Boston's Rajon Rondo torched the Knicks for 31 points (11-19), 13 assists and five steals in the season-opener. The Knicks were similarly thrashed by Bulls guard Derrick Rose on Thursday. Rose went off for 32 points (15 in the fourth) and 13 assists. Knicks guards have been other PG's whipping boys for much of the season. Will that continue on Friday? Rondo (wrist) is listed as probable for the game.
LANDRY LIFT OFF? After Thursday's game, Mike D'Antoni said he felt as if he was watching the Landry Fields of old, the Fields that was touted last season as one of the league's top rookies prior to the Carmelo Anthony trade. The numbers support D'Antoni -- Fields has netted double-digit points in nine of his last ten games, scoring at least 17 in five of those games. He'll have a tough assignment against Ray Allen on Friday so it'll be interesting to see how he responds.
AMARE ON THE WAY BACK? Interesting quote from Amare Stoudemire after Thursday's loss to Chicago: "I've been working on my back all summer so I didn't have much time to really train or play basketball like most of the guys. So I'm finally getting back into a rhythm out there, taking what the defense gives me, playing smart basketball and having fun."
Stoudemire reached the 30-point plateau for the first time this season against Chicago. He finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds. For much of the season, Stoudemire has struggled, averaging nearly seven points fewer than he did last year and shooting 43 percent, down from the 50 percent he shot last year. Was Thursday night a turning point for Stoudemire?