Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Billups: Toney's confidence at all-time high
By Jared Zwerling
There's a 16 percent chance Toney Douglas will score at least 19 points in a game. But, hey, when he does, the Knicks are really good -- 75 percent-winnable good. They're 9-3 this season when he's reached that mark.
Tonight against the Raptors, Douglas scored a team-high 28 points (his seventh time leading the way in scoring this season), behind another a team-high: 6-of-9 shooting from downtown. Sparked by his 66.7 percent outside shooting, the Knicks connected on 15 threes (fourth-most in a game this season), improving to 26-7 when hitting at least 10, 16-4 with at least 12 and 6-0 with at least 15.
Now, while we can't expect TD to reach end zone-numbers more than three times a game, his double-digit contributions will be key to the Knicks' success this postseason. When defensive traps are thrown at the Knicks' Big Three, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups, and in the likely event that Landry Fields is not an offensive threat, Douglas will have to be the Glen Rice (sixth man of the 2001 Knicks playoff team) of this year's squad.
In the locker room after the game, Mr. Big Shot said the sky's the limit for Douglas right now.
"I just think his confidence is at an all-time high," Billups said. "I try my best to keep him playing that confident. I want him to always play like he's starting -- to go out there and have that starters-type of swag where you feel like you're better than the next guy. You have to understand that it's not saying it; it's just going out and having that confidence and that aura about yourself, and I think right now he's doing that and he's feeling that as well."
Billups said that momentum is everything in the postseason -- no matter if a team's at home or on the road. So it's a special topping for the new-look Knicks that Douglas has already found his groove before the regular season finale. In fact, since the All-Star break, he leads the league with the most 3-pointers (59) and he's only had three bagel games from beyond the arc.
Douglas has also improved his playmaking, a big concern of Mike D'Antoni's earlier in the season. Before the All-Star break, the most assists he had in a game was seven (just once). Since then, he's had five games with seven or more, including an 11- and 10-dish night.
Now if only the Knicks could hold an opponent to under 100 points, which they didn't do for the third straight game against a bottom-of-the-barrel team.