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April 19, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jared Zwerling

Jared Zwerling
  (12:03 PM)

Let's get this chat going ...

Matt (NJ)

Whats the latest on Prigs?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:04 PM)

He could miss Game 1. We'll know more today after practice.

Jason(New York) [via mobile]

What impact can Quentin Richardson have? What is the update on Amare Stoudemire? Will he be back first round?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:06 PM)

Richardson = 3-point shooting, rebounding and some toughness. That's what Woodson likes about him. He can get under some guys' skin. He's not a great overall defender, but his wide body helps him make some stops. I don't expect him to play too much, but when he does, he has some good postseason experience to make some big plays.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that the New York Knicks will Reach the NBA Finals?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:07 PM)

I have the Knicks going to the Eastern Conference finals. They're going to beat the Heat on the 3-point shot, as they did three times this season, or they're going to lose with that 3-point shot. As Jeff Van Gundy told me the other day, "It's the most highly volatile shot in the league."

J-boog from the bronx [via mobile]

Why is shumpert not going to the basket as much as he did last season? he looks hesitant out there & way to comfortable shooting 3's...if were gunna b succesful we need shump to step up offensively & defensively...

Jared Zwerling
  (12:09 PM)

I would argue that he's doing a better job of that, especially in the last two games when he was running more point guard. He's been really improving as far as going to the basket. He's a tough kid and his confidence is coming back. His ability to facilitate will be a nice addition to the team in the playoffs, because it will help the Knicks continue their ball movement from different angles, putting more pressure on the defense. And he can hit the 3-point shot; even better with Melo on the court.

Ben (ny) [via mobile]

Jared, are earl Barron and q rich going to have any impact or playing time come Saturday and beyond?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:09 PM)

Little playing time.

Ed (Queens Village)

Are Knicks going 8 or 9 guys?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:11 PM)

They could go 11 guys. Off the bench: Kidd, Smith, Richardson, Novak, Copeland and Martin. Camby could help against the Celtics and Pacers, two bigger-sized teams.

Michael (New York, New York)

Jared,I was watching NBA playoff preview last night on ESPN. Flip & Bruce were boasting about the Celtic's ability to turn it on come playoff time, and that they are going to be able to defend the 3 point line against the Knicks. This team has 3 players with distinguished playoff experience (Garnett, Pierce,

Jared Zwerling
  (12:14 PM)

The Celtics' starting five, as of now, will have a tough time defending the Knicks' 3-point shooting because of their bigger size. The Celtics' speed on the court will be lacking on the perimeter. They're going to have to mix up their lineups to counter the Knicks' faster pace.

Matt (NJ)

If Boston plays their big lineup of Bradley, Pierce, Green, Bass & KG, how will the Knicks try to matchup? Having Shump guard Pierce (early foul trouble) or Prigs on Green scares me.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:17 PM)

Woodson and Chandler yesterday said that they're going to go the same way, with Melo at the 4. They said they have an offensive flow going right now and don't want to mess it up. They want the Celtics to adjust. If Prigioni can't go in Game 1, perhaps we'll see a lineup of Felton, Shumpert, Copeland, Anthony and Chandler. That would be interesting, and perhaps a valuable combination for down the road. Defensively, the Knicks could try some different things -- perhaps a zone defense or more traps -- which they used more against the Celtics in an earlier matchup this season.

Parvej (Queens NY)

Who is going to be the x-factor for the Knicks for the Knicks to win against Boston?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:18 PM)

No question, J.R. Smith, and it will be that way for the entire postseason. Yeah, he proved himself down the stretch in the regular season, but can he be consistent in the playoffs? That's the big question.

SAL (Long Island, NY)

Who do you think will win the Knicks vs. Celtics series and if its the Knicks, in how many games do you think they will beat them in?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:21 PM)

I have the Knicks in 5. The key disadvantage is the Celtics not having a guy who averaged 17.3 points, 11.9 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals in the playoffs last year. That would be, of course, All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. On the flip side, the Knicks are fully loaded offensively, and defensive threats Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin are set to return.

Parvej (Queens NY)

Do you put Kenyon Martin on Garnett and Melo on Pierce for the Knicks to be effective?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:23 PM)

I think you'll see at times Shumpert on Green or Pierce, Melo on Green or Pierce, K-Mart on Bass and Chandler on Garnett.

Barry (norwalk ct)

With Wallace out, will A'mare be able to step in for 10-15 solid minutes down the line?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:23 PM)

Sure, but when is he returning? Woodson basically ruled him out for the first round. We'll see what happens.

Les (East Windsor, NJ)

Hey, Jared. Novak has not been the threat he was last year, but, since he was ineffective in the playoffs, that might be a good thing this time around, as the Knicks won't be so reliant on him. I know that this is turning a negative into a positive, but do you see it that way too? Anything he gives us will thus be a plus.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:25 PM)

He does two things well: he catches and shoots. That's his offensive game. But look, his presence alone scares opponents. Because you can't give him in an inch, it puts more pressure on the defense. What do you do when the guard attacks off the pick-and-roll? So Novak on the court is more good than bad.

Forest (NY)

How many games does this series go? who wins?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:25 PM)

I have the Knicks in 5. See my earlier response.

Homie the Clown (Springville)

Jared, can you beat me in strat-o-matic basketball?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:26 PM)

lol let's do it!

Jonah (NJ)

How many games do you think this series is going to go? Also with melo at the four who is most likely going to guard pierce?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:28 PM)

As I said, 5. Shumpert, Melo and Copeland.

Parvej (Queens NY)

I think the Knicks will win the series against Boston, but most articles and analysts are picking Boston, what do you think?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:29 PM)

Knicks. If you don't believe me, Stoudemire guaranteed it last night ;) ... See the Knicks Blog for the story.

Amare (NYC)

do you think me guaranteeing a first round victory was a mistake?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:29 PM)

I respect the confidence. Hopefully we'll see you in the second round ...

AB (San Francisco, CA)

Would Amare returning to the lineup during the playoffs be a detriment to the offense flow and defense of the team?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:30 PM)

No, not at all. He would be another great post presence off the bench, which Melo has been more so in the starting five. It would offer some offensive balance. If Amar'e looks as good as he did when he first returned in the low post, then teams are going to have to start doubling him, therefore creating open looks from 3-point range.

Peter (Sydney)

If the Knicks make it to the 2nd round and Stat is available, do you think he will be good for the team or a detriment?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:36 PM)

Good for the team. See my earlier response.

Forest (NY)

Will anybody be fined for flopping in this years playoffs?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:37 PM)

Yes, the fines for Violations 1 through 4 are $5,000, $10,000 $15,000 and then $30,000. If a player violates the rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

Les (East Windsor, NJ)

Copeland gonna get about 15 to 20 minutes a game even if Prigs plays? I know he's not a strong defender, but other than Melo & JR, they have no other scorers,

Jared Zwerling
  (12:38 PM)

I would say that's about right.

Brett (New York)

Do you still seeing jr resigning with the Knicks next season. Won't he be able to get a lot more money from a team with more cap space?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:39 PM)

He will be able to get more money. Here's an article I wrote on the topic -- http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/40431/what-is-the-potential-value-of-j-r-smith ... But to answer your question, I see him re-signing here.

Parvej (Queens NY)

I love Amare's game, but do you think its best if he doesnt play. Knicks are playing so much better without him. Will Amare disrupt the flow or will he help the team?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:39 PM)

See my earlier response.

Joel (John)

What would you say is the general mind set of the Knicks players heading into game 1?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:42 PM)

They know it's going to be a physical battle, but they believe the Celtics won't have an answer for Melo, and their ability to move the ball against a bigger-sized lineup will help them get it going from 3-point range. Defensively, the Knicks' starting five will be smaller, but with Chandler and Martin back, the Knicks have good versatility where they can mix up their lineups -- not to mention, a lot of experience. That's key against the Celtics.

TK (Philly)

Any chance at all we could unload Amare's contract in the off season? Can we still use our amnesty clause?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:42 PM)

No. Amar'e will be a Knick.

Cilin (Yonkers, NY)

Do you see Prigioni missing more than 1 game? Prediction for ECF, NBA finals and champs?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:43 PM)

He's a tough-as-nails guy, having that overseas experience in him where guys play more rugged. He doesn't even ice after games. So I see him maybe missing Game 1 if the Knicks want to be careful. But if you ask him, he'll want to play.

Josh (NYC)

Does Amare return in this series?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:44 PM)

Woodson said yesterday he doesn't believe he will return in the first round.

cake (NY)

if the playoffs started this past Wednesday, would Kenyon and chandler played?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:45 PM)

I think Chandler would have; not sure about K-Mart. He said he was in a lot of pain after his injury happened. He was worried it was worse than a sprain.

Isabelle (Ohio)

Who do you think will be the X-factor of the series? Also, who do you have winning?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:45 PM)

As I said, it will always be J.R. Smith. Can he finally come through in the postseason? It's a new season. I have the Knicks winning the series.

cake (NY)

is it me or does Shumpert look a bit too small to guard SFs but still not back to speed to guard fast SGs

Jared Zwerling
  (12:47 PM)

He can knock around some SFs, but he's better suited defensively on the perimeter. It depends on how much his opponent posts up. He's better on the ball.

Kyle (NY)

Can the Knicks beat the Bulls if they cross paths?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:48 PM)

Good question. With a healthy Chandler and Martin, I think so. The Knicks didn't have those guys in the last matchup. A big question is the health of not only those guys, but also Noah. He's been dealing with right plantar fascitis.

Donnell (FAR ROCKOCKAWAY)

Should kmart and tyson see the court together anytime in THIS series??

Jared Zwerling
  (12:52 PM)

Absolutely.

Alex (Anaheim)

What is the key to shutting down Boston in the upcoming series?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:53 PM)

First of all, health. Second, keeping emotions in check. Third, keeping them off the foul line. Pierce, Green, Bass and Garnett are going to play physical with the Knicks. The Knicks need to keep the Celtics out of the bonus early on.

Jamal (NYC)

Do you see a scenario where woodson puts Melo at the 3 and Martin in at the 4?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:53 PM)

I do. They play well off of each other.

Gabe (Tallahassee)

Is Felton back to 100% after a couple games off?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:54 PM)

He said yesterday he is.

Stephen Curry (Bay Area)

Who do you think will be the champs this year???

Jared Zwerling
  (12:54 PM)

I still have the Heat in that spot. Can the Knicks upset them? What do you guys think?

Parvej (Queens NY)

Do you think Melo will win the MVP, J.R Smith 6th man, Woodson Coach of the year? I feel like Knicks get no love and everyone keep bringing up you only won 1 playoff game.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:55 PM)

Smith should be a lock for Sixth Man. LeBron will likely get MVP. Woodson's right there for Coach of the Year. He's a top-three candidate, no question.

Gabe (Tallahassee)

Please tell me ABC/ESPN will air the starting lineups on Saturday- LIVE?!!! It's a part of the game/entertainment I miss from the NBA on NBC days of old.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:55 PM)

Good question. Not sure, but that seems likely.

Ozair (NJ)

Who has more pressure going into this series, the Knicks to prove that they are contenders, or the Celtics to prove that they aren't old and washed up?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:57 PM)

Knicks have more pressure, no question. The Celtics have had the Knicks' number in recent years, but now they don't have Rondo and they're older. People won't be surprised if the Celtics lose -- they'll say the writing was on the wall -- but they will be if the Knicks. That's how I see it.

Ian (Atl, GA)

Who do you think Woody would start if Prigioni misses time? Copeland at the 3 and move shump back to 2, or KMart at 4 and slide Melo to the 3. Is there another likely option?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:58 PM)

Woodson said yesterday he would seriously consider starting Copeland, so it could be Felton, Shumpert, Copeland, Anthony and Chandler.

Jay (Astoria, NY)

But Amare can't guard a paint can. Isn't that going to be a huge problem if he comes back in round 2 and is rusty?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:59 PM)

He's an asset as a help defender more around the basket. He's not as good helping on pick-and-rolls. That's Chandler and Martin's domain, as far as being out more toward the perimeter.

Jeff (NY)

Do you see Jason Kidd as an x-factor as well? It definitely helps when his threes are falling.

Jared Zwerling
  (1:00 PM)

For sure. Woodson called him a "freak" yesterday for his ability to make big plays at the right time, among other reasons. His postseason value is huge.

Jared Zwerling
  (1:01 PM)

Hey guys, I have to run, but if you have any additional questions or thoughts, hit me on Twitter @JaredZwerling ... thanks!