When Andrea Bargnani tore a ligament in his elbow it was a blessing in disguise for the Knicks (and not that good a disguise, we and everyone else on the planet called it) — Mike Woodson could no longer try to force feed a big lineup that wasn’t working, he had to go small with Carmelo Anthony at the four and guards who could space the floor with their shot.
The Knicks have won four straight. Stunning.
So when is Andrea Bargnani going to be back? He told the New York Post he has he doesn’t know.
“I have no idea [on a return date],’’ Bargnani said. “It’s a ligament broke and you see how it heals and how strong the arm gets. You got to make sure it’s 100 percent. I really don’t know the timeline…
“It’s terrible, just terrible but what can you do,’’ said Bargnani, who was the Knick second-leading scorer at 13.7 points. “Because it’s similar to last year, it’s even more frustrating. It’s terrible sitting out — the worst.’’
Bargnani is not having surgery, the guestimates are he will be out a month but nobody really knows.
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There’s no rush Andrea, take your time.
The scary thing is Woodson sounds like he might experiment with the big lineup again — with Tyson Chandler at the five, Bargnani at the four and ‘Melo at the three — once Bargnani gets back.
“The small lineup, we know that that works,’’ Woodson said. “Hey I don’t know if we’ll go away from it this time….
“I know big lineups and like Bargnani at that spot,’’ Woodson said. “That was the reason to bring him over [from Toronto]. But we haven’t had that chance to have that core group develop some chemistry. We haven’t had a chance to do that.’’
Actually, we have. In the 189 minutes that the Anthony/Bargnani/Chandler trio are on the court together the Knicks are -11.2 points per 100 possessions (if you prefer, they are -8.1 per 48 minutes). The Knicks defense gives up a ridiculous 114.3 points per 100 possessions when those three are paired. And to make it even simpler, when Anthony plays the four by himself the Knicks are 9.5 points per 100 possessions better than when ‘Melo and Bargnani are paired.
Bargnani, don’t rush back. Woodson, when he is back, stick with the small lineup that works. Thanks for listening.