After a dreadful opening to the season, the New York Knicks somehow entered the All-Star Break with a 17-18 record.
Since the break has arrived, the public attention has finally turned slightly away from the Knicks new star point guard, Jeremy Lin. This will hopefully give him the time he needs to rest his body and prepare with his teammates for the second half of the season.
The Knicks got very lucky and have a very fortunate schedule after the break ends. The Knicks have a game on Wednesday against Cleveland and then don’t play again until Sunday. This gives the players a chance to relax until Monday and then have basically a full week of practice together, which they desperately needed.
You have to assume the Knicks will look drastically better after the break since this will be the first time the full team will get a chance to practice together.
I’m most interested in seeing who elevates their game during the second half of the season. Will Carmelo Anthony take back his role as primary scorer? Will Amar’e Stoudemire finally start knocking down his jump shot? Or will Jeremy Lin put the team on his back again and carry the Knicks into the playoffs?
We will find out the answers to all these questions soon enough when the Knicks resume play later this week. Here’s the latest news, expert analysis and Twitter buzz about the Knicks from the All-Star break and what’s in store for the second half of the season.
During Saturday night’s festivities, Allan Houston represented the retired NBA player for the New York team during the Shooting Stars Challenge and looked like he's still been practicing his trademark jumper.
Houston’s responsibilities during the event were to hit a jumper from the elbow, then a three from the wing, followed by attempting to hit a half court shot.
During the first run, Houston hit the first jumper in one try, the three in two and then swished the half court shot in only one attempt to give the Knicks the fastest time in the first round.
In the finals, Houston came through again for Team New York, hitting the elbow shot in one try, the three in two and the half court shot again, this time in two attempts to give his team the victory.
When asked after if his success in the competition made the former Knick want to consider a comeback, Houston responded:
This was a lot of fun. It was good to put a uniform on again but that's about it.'
If you follow the Knicks closely, one of the places you always check for new info and rumors is the Twitter account of New York Post’s Knicks writer, Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman).
This week, Mark used his break to follow around, you guessed it, Jeremy Lin. Mark listened in on a full Asian press conference that Lin held for the Asian media and here’s what he had to say about it:
“Attended Asian press conference yesterday for Jeremy. Most bizarre question to Lin came when asked why he didn’t kiss Landry Fields when they were shown on bench Friday night on KissCam. Asian reporter said they kissed after a last-second win in Toronto. “That was pure emotion,’’ Lin said. “We were in the moment. That was a fun time. Not on a KissCam. Maybe every time we win a close game, we’ll do it (kiss).”
Really Lin? You want to make kissing Landry a tradition?
Just stick to the nerdy handshake you two already do. Adding the kiss would be unnecessary.
Like most NBA fans and analysts who watched this year’s Slam Dunk Contest, former contestant and the newest member of the New York Knicks, J.R. Smith, was not pleased with what he saw.
Smith is one of the most frequent Twitter users in the NBA and took to Twitter to express his frustration during the contest.
@TheRealJRSmith: By far the worst dunk contest I’ve ever seen!
Harsh words for his fellow ballers. I wonder if he would have been a little nicer if Knicks teammate Iman Shumpert had not pulled out of the competition.
Maybe Smith will get back into the competition next year and show the rest of the league how it’s supposed to be done?
@TheRealJRSmith: It’s official I’m never doing the dunk contest again! Y’all killed it!
Going into the break, three Knicks were out with injuries: Iman Shumpert (knee), Bill Walker (elbow) and Josh Harrelson (wrist).
Shumpert, clearly the most important of the three injured players, will reportedly practice Tuesday on a limited basis, but is doubtful to play in Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers. He has been superb on defense this season, so when he returns it will be interesting to see whether him or Landry Fields will be in at shooting guard during crunch time.
Josh Harrellson will also be cleared to practice Tuesday and is on track to return for the game Wednesday. At the beginning of the season, Harrellson was the primary reserve big man, but Jeffries has taken over that role in his absence.
Bill Walker will not participate in Tuesday’s practice and will be out for an undisclosed time. Even when he returns, he will most likely see few-to-no minutes since the Knicks now have an abundance of shooting guards and small forwards.
With the Dwight Howard saga now in full swing, don’t think the Knicks aren’t still keeping tabs on how things are playing out in Orlando.
Since New York isn’t on Howard’s list, bringing him to the Big Apple is definitely a long shot, but according to the New York Post, one Eastern Conference general manager believes that won’t stop James Dolan from trying his hardest:
"I’m positive the Knicks have called just in case Dwight changes up,” an Eastern Conference GM said. “I’m sure they’ve offered a combination of everybody, excluding Jeremy Lin, of course. Otis deserves a lot of credit for not putting it out on the street which teams have offered what."
Can the Knicks come out of left field and pull off another blockbuster deal at the deadline? We’ll soon find out.