Tuesday, February 14, 2012
D'Antoni: Novak will remain in rotation
By Ian Begley
Mike D'Antoni is going to have to make a few lineup adjustments Tuesday night when Amare Stoudemire returns to the floor.
It sounds like those adjustments won't affect Steve Novak much.
Since Jeremy Lin took over as the Knicks starting point guard, Novak has emerged as an integral piece for the Knicks (13-15).
Novak has scored 15.3 points per game since Lin first got the starting nod last Monday, including back-to-back 19 point nights. He scored 15 against Minnesota on Saturday, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 36 seconds to play.
He's played an average of 28 minutes per night over the Knicks' last three games.
On Monday, D'Antoni was asked about the challenge of getting Novak and others off the bench minutes now that Stoudemire is back in the fold.
"Novak has proven -- mostly on the defensive end and rebounding -- that he needs to be on the floor with [Lin]," D'Antoni said. "We knew he could shoot it and now he's doing the other things."
Novak gives the Knicks something they'd sorely lacked in the first six weeks of the season -- a legitimate 3-point threat.
Coming into the year, New York had hoped that Bill Walker and Mike Bibby could hit shots from beyond the arc. Hasn't happened; Bibby is shooting 27.5 percent from 3-point land and Walker has hit 32 percent of his attempts (down from his career average of 38). The Knicks are 25th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (30 percent).
Novak enters play Tuesday shooting 48 percent (28-58) from beyond the arc. He's gotten several open looks since Lin took over, thanks to the ball movement and penetration created by the 23-year-old guard.