Tag: Kenyon Martin

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Deron Williams returns, chooses to come off the bench in Nets’ blowout win over Knicks

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NEW YORK — The last time the Nets faced the Knicks, they were without Deron Williams and Paul Pierce due to injury, and a fully healthy New York squad thumped Brooklyn back on Dec. 5 at Barclays by a 30-point margin.

A little more than a month later, things have completely changed for both sides.

The Nets have been on a roll since the calendar turned to 2014, and they got Williams back in time to blowout the Knicks 103-80 in a Monday matinee at Madison Square Garden to improve to 7-1 in the new year.

Not that they needed him.

Brooklyn has been using excellent ball movement and riding Joe Johnson during this recent stretch, whose big early scoring performances have gotten the Nets out to some very fast starts. And the team has been stronger defensively with Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson at the guard spots, so Williams kept continuity, and made the easy decision to come off the bench.

“It was my idea,” he said afterward. “Just because we had been playing so well with that lineup, why shake things up? It doesn’t matter if I come off the bench, start, whatever. The way [Joe Johnson] has been playing in first quarters, first halves, I don’t want to disrupt that.”

Johnson had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the game’s first 12 minutes, and the Nets had opened up an 11-point lead by the time the first quarter was finished.

Paul Pierce knows a thing or two about going from a starting to a reserve role, having had to deal with that for the first time in his career with the Nets earlier this season. It was tough on Pierce at the time, but he believes that while it will be an adjustment for Williams if it continues, he’s more than capable of figuring it out.

“I haven’t come off the bench my whole career until recently, but I think it’s a mental adjustment,” Pierce said. “It’s just something you’ve got to figure out, and it’s totally different when you’ve been playing your whole life in the starting lineup. You have to have a different mental approach, you have to be ready as soon as you come in — it’s just a different type of preparation, I think. He’s a smart player, he understands the game, and he can figure it out, whether he continues to come off the bench or until he returns to the starting lineup.”

While the Nets have gotten healthy (minus Brook Lopez, of course, who is expected to be out the rest of the season with a foot fracture), they’ve also begun to come together as a team. Andray Blatche, who played well when the game was out of hand for the second straight contest and finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, says the defense is what’s made the difference.

“It’s our effort on defense and we’re trusting one another on defense,” Blatche said. “We’re talking, and things are working out for us. We’re hanging our hat on defense first.”

Kevin Garnett echoed those remarks, and credited Jason Kidd for getting his message to the team across in terms of what the expectations are in defensive situations.

“We’re not guessing anymore,” Garnett said.

On the Knicks side, they’re missing two key rotation big men in Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire, but the problems seem to run deeper than simply available personnel. The defense is a joke at times, and Carmelo Anthony rarely gets any consistent help offensively beyond high-volume, low-percentage shooting from his teammates.

The Knicks and the Nets traded plenty of jabs through the media following the offseason acquisitions of Pierce and Garnett, but Brooklyn wouldn’t place any special emphasis on this victory afterward. Pierce was among those exchanging the playful remarks, but at this point he’s focused on how Williams’ return can help impact this team as it tries to live up to those lofty preseason expectations.

“We need Deron,” he said. “No matter how we’ve been playing, at the end of the day if we’re going to make some noise here in the East, we need what he’s able to do.”

“I know there was a lot of talk in the preseason about the rivalry, you know, the inner-city battle,” Pierce said. “But us as a team, at this point we’re looking at the big picture. We’re looking at how we’re going to develop, how we’re going to get better and how we’re going to continue to move up in the East.”

Knicks lose Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin for at least two weeks due to injury

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire waits to take a foul shot against the New Orleans Hornets in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York

NEW YORK — The Knicks didn’t just lose to the Pacers on Thursday in blowout fashion, they lost two of their rotation’s big men in the process.

Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin both left mid-game with ankle injuries and did not return. The team has placed the same timetable on each of them as far as when they’re expected back.

“I just heard that they’re going to be out at least two weeks,” Mike Woodson said as the Knicks were getting set to face the Clippers on Friday.

When asked whether or not that would mean he’d have to go deeper into his bench and give seldom-used guys like Cole Aldrich and Jeremy Tyler some run, he sounded like a man without a choice.

“Yeah, they would have to play some now,” he said. “Absolutely. Yes.”

It could also mean smaller lineups for the Knicks at times, but as always seems to be the case in Woodson’s eyes, that’s going to be a decision made based on matchups.

“It’s a possibility, yes,” he said. “But it depends on who we play. This team tonight has a big front line, so we’ve got to go big.”

Woodson also mentioned the possibility of tinkering with his lineups to get Carmelo Anthony some additional opportunity playing the power forward position, where he was so potent last season. It may mean Andrea Bargnani coming off the bench.

“I know we were great last year with Melo at the four spot, and Melo hasn’t had an opportunity to play a lot of four this year based on Bargnani and having Kenyon and Amar’e,” Woodson said. “You’ll probably see more four [for Anthony] now that those guys are out, and Bargnani could possibly come off it and back up Tyson at the center spot.”

The Knicks had won six of seven before dropping two straight to Charlotte and Indiana this week. New York plays its next eight games at home, a critical stretch for the team if it plans to continue to try to turn things around.

Lance Stephenson’s career-high 28 points lead Pacers to blowout win over Knicks

Boston Celtics  v Indiana Pacers

The Pacers will almost certainly have two players representing their team at All-Star weekend in New Orleans in Paul George and Roy Hibbert, with George likely to be voted in as a starter by the fans, and Hibbert likely to be selected as a reserve by the Eastern Conference coaches.

It’s also possible that the team with the league’s best record, now at 31-7 after a thorough 117-89 demolition of the New York Knicks, may see a third player added to the midseason exhibition in Lance Stephenson.

Stephenson has been huge all season long for the Pacers, posting triple-double stat lines more than once while making the leap from hit-or-miss role player a season ago to legitimate NBA starter who demands the attention of the defense. He posted a career-high 28 points in Thursday’s blowout win over the Knicks, which was a team-best for the night and tied Carmelo Anthony for game-high scoring honors.

New York actually led this game 31-30 after one, thanks to a hot start from Anthony that saw him score 18 points in the period on just eight shots. But his teammates couldn’t provide much help offensively, and injuries suffered during the game took away two of the Knicks’ key defenders.

Kenyon Martin left in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return, and later Amar’e Stoudemire left in the third quarter with something similar. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said afterward that both players would likely miss the next few games.

J.R. Smith was back in the lineup after his second suspension in recent days, and played fine in finishing with 12 points on 12 shots in 28 minutes of action. But messing with the team’s chemistry after it had put together a streak of wins proved costly, and between the lineup shuffling and the injuries — along with facing the league’s best team record-wise on the road — the Knicks didn’t have a shot.

As for Stephenson’s All-Star chances, the East is so weak this year that it may very well be decided that there’s nothing wrong with the Pacers having three players make the squad. If that’s the case, Stephenson will likely get the nod over teammate David West, and then will have to battle it out among the coaches for what might only be one available reserve backcourt spot. And when you take away the injured stars in the conference, it may come down to Stephenson or someone like DeMar DeRozan, Arron Afflalo, or Joe Johnson — all of whom have numbers showing they’re deserving, but only Stephenson has the wins that may solidify his case.

Carmelo Anthony out with sprained ankle, will not play Christmas Day vs. Thunder

NBA: Knicks v Magic

The best laid plans of mice and David Stern… have been blown up by injuries.

In another blow to the NBA’s Christmas Day showcase lineup, Carmelo Anthony will not play due to a sprained ankle suffered Monday night. Anthony wanted to go, came to the arena and met with the team’s medical staff, but the Knicks made it official just 20 minutes before tip-off.

That destroys the hope of an Anthony vs. Kevin Durant shootout — the two leading scorers per game in the league last season had a chance to make this a great show. Now we will get Durant and Russell Westbrook going against the gunning of J.R. Smith and the defense of Tyson Chandler. But at least everyone is wearing those swell Christmas Day jerseys!

Metta World Peace also is out for the Knicks Wednesday, however Kenyon Martin will play.

The NBA tries to showcase its biggest stars on Christmas Day, but injures have crushed what should have been a great lineup of games. The opening game saw the Bulls without Derrick Rose and the Nets without Brook Lopez. Now Anthony is out. Later on Wednesday Kobe Bryant will be out as the Lakers try not to get blown out by the Heat. Also James Harden is a game time decision in the Rockets when they take on the Spurs.

Amar’e Stoudemire denies he’ll be out “a while”

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

Because the Knicks don’t have enough other issues to deal with…

Mike Woodson said on Tuesday afternoon that he could be without Amar’e Stoudemire for a while — with Kenyon Martin out too Tyson Chandler can’t bet back fast enough (likely Friday). Here’s Woodson’s direct quite, via ESPNNewYork.com.

“Amar’e’s going to be out a while,” Woodson said. “I don’t know, but he won’t play tomorrow.”

Stoudemire wants you to know he’s not injured.

Stoudemire was 1-of-7 against the Wizards in 19 minutes off the bench Monday night, but then again a lot of the Knicks were bad in that ome. Now he’s going to take a little time off. But why would you think he was injured?

To be fair, Stoudemire has had some solid games lately and a good one against the Celtics (18 points on 9 shots, playing 30 minutes).

Just as a reminder, Stoudemire has one more season at $23.4 million left on the Knicks books.