Friday, April 22, 2011
Melo on MSG atmosphere: 'Crazy is an understatement'
By Ian Begley
What’s the atmosphere going to be like at the Garden on Friday night when the Knicks host their first playoff game in seven years?
“I’m pretty sure it will be crazy,” Carmelo Anthony said. “I think crazy is an understatement but that’s the word I’m going to use right now.”
The Knicks haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2004. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2001 and last won a playoff series in 2000.
And there wasn’t much to be optimistic about prior to Amare Stoudemire’s arrival last summer. The Knicks were in position to sign Stoudemire thanks to team president Donnie Walsh, who brought the team back under the salary cap in his first two seasons at the helm.
“It’s going to be exciting for me because I was on the other end of that,” Walsh said on Thursday.
The Knicks last won a home playoff game on April 22, 2001 – exactly ten years prior to Game 3 against Boston. It’s unclear whether Chauncey Billups or Stoudemire will be on the floor. But you can bet the Garden crowd will be fired up.
“We understand that… and we want to match the fans’ energy,” Anthony said.
STYLING WITH SURGICAL TAPE? Anthony wore surgical tape on his left wrist during practice on Thursday. When asked about the tape, Anthony replied “Just stylin, man.” He was joking around, but the wrist may be something to keep an eye on Friday night … Anthony also watched Denver’s 106-89 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday in which the Nuggets trailed by 26 points in the second quarter. “I didn’t expect that game to turn out the way it did, as far as the margin of victory but it happens,” he said. Take that, George Karl.
DONNIE HAS NO BEEF WITH LAST PLAY: Walsh definitely doesn’t have a problem with Anthony’s decision-making in Game 1 or Game 2.
Anthony passed to Jared Jeffries instead of shooting with the Knicks down by one and four seconds remaining in Game 2. He also shot a long three-pointer with the Knicks down two and four seconds to play in Game 1.
“He made the right plays in both cases and that’s all you can ask of the guy,” Walsh said. “If all the games come down with Carmelo taking a shot, I’m OK with that.”
BILLY BALL: D’Antoni thinks Bill Walker will have no problem bouncing back from his 0-for-11 shooting performance in Game 2. In fact, D’Antoni praised Walker for his efforts in Game 2, despite the awful shooting night.
“I thought that was the best 0-for-11 performance that I’ve ever seen,” D’Antoni said. “I thought he played great. His defense on Paul was great. His toughness, his rebounding … his spacing. I just thought he was one of our better players out there.”