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Game 68 Preview: Blazers vs. Knicks

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A Look at the Knicks

The multi-headed monstrosity that is the Knicks roster is a wonder to behold.  Much like the mythical hydra of old, your first reaction upon seeing it is, "That ain't natural!"  The main man this year has been post pivot Eddy Curry.  He's averaging 19 and 7 with a gaudy 57% shooting clip.  He's also drawing 8 fouls per game but he's a sub-60% shooter from the line.  Surrounding Curry are an unholy conglomeration of score-first guards.  Stephon Marbury--at under 16 points and 6 assists per game "Starbury" no longer--heads the bunch.  Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson are both out of action.  Steve Francis has recently returned to the lineup but seems to be playing in his own world sometimes.  Spark plug point guard Nate Robinson is the youngster of the group.  None of these guys are shy about hoisting the ball and not a one of them shoots much over .420 when they do.

The other mainstay of the Knicks' roster is their collection of vanilla forwards.  They range from fancy vanilla with little bits of bean in David Lee (11 points, 11 boards, 60% shooting) as Damir correctly points out he's injured to the cheap old discount generic vanilla of Jared Jeffries  (5 points, 5 rebounds) and everything in between (Channing Frye, Renaldo Balkman, Malik Rose).

The Knicks shoot reasonably well and when they get on a roll are a tough matchup offensively.  Most nights they're not on a roll.  They also allow a good percentage, especially from deep.  Saying their perimeter defense leaves something to be desired is like saying Britney Spears might be a little bit messed up.  They are a VERY good rebounding team.  Their main guys turn the ball over a ton.  They draw a large number of foul shots, but they can't hit them.  For everything right about this team you can find something at least as wrong.  That's why they're 30-37 and severely unpredictable.  Depending on which Knicks team shows up this could be a cakewalk or a plank walk.  We probably won't know for sure until midway through the second half.

What I'd Like To See:

  1.  It's impossible to imagine us winning the battle of the boards in the absence of Zach Randolph but we need to limit their offensive rebounds and second chance points.  This is a team that will have trouble scoring on many nights.  If this is one of those nights let's not make it any easier for them.
  2.  For all of their offensive and rebounding potential inside they don't have any real defensive intimidators or shot-blockers.  I don't see this as the night for a low-post shot-fest.  Rather we should drive right past their perimeter guys and into the guts of that defense.  Lamarcus should be looking to run and slash as well.  If Outlaw sees any power forward time that's doubly true.
  3.  Make Eddy Curry pass the ball.  He'll blow it.  Let Marbury or Franics be the shooting star instead.
  4.  We should be able to beat these guys down the court most of the night.  I know we're not a fast-break team as a whole but that second unit especially should be running hard and wearing their guys out.
  5.  My gut says we better hit a good percentage of our shots tonight.  If we throw up jumpers and miss them we're probably not going to get a lot of sympathy.  I can see us winning a pretty game but we'll have a hard time in an ugly one.
  6.  Whatever their main guards score our main guards have got to match.
We've not done all that well in New York historically.  Here's hoping our guys are too young to know that...or care.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)