Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton – not Iman Shumpert – guaranteed to start for Knicks

10 Comments

As Mike Woodson played mad chemist with the Knicks’ starting lineup last season, four players started both every game they played and a majority of all New York’s games: Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert.

All four return to the Knicks this season, and three will definitely start again. Sorry (maybe), Iman.

Mitch Abramson New York Daily News:

Woodson made no guarantees that Shumpert would be able to reclaim his spot as the starting shooting guard and said that for now the only guaranteed starters are Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton

If Shumpert doesn’t win the starting job, who will?

J.R. Smith is the most talented option, but Woodson just said Smith must grow up. Besides, Smith has shown he’s most comfortable as a reserve, and I doubt Woodson removes Smith from that role.

Pablo Prigioni or Beno Udrih could get the nod if Woodson wants to start two point guards. The Knicks often used two point guards last season, and that helped keep the ball moving, though that also contributed to defensive and rebounding issues.

Tim Hardaway Jr. has the frame to defend well and he’s at least a streaky shooter, but he’s still just a rookie learning the ropes.

Toure Murry, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Chris Smith might not even make the roster. Then again, who would have thought Chris Copeland would make the team last year, let alone start as often as he did?

Shumpert is not a perfect choice, but he’s probably the most complete option. There’s a good chance Woodson knows that and is using this to motivate Shumpert and/or the players behind him.

That’s just what early October is for. In a month, Shumpert is most likely starting.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

Leave a comment

Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Leave a comment

Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

Leave a comment

Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
2 Comments

James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.