Stoudemire willing to move to post… with Olajuwon’s help

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Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have yet to really click on the court, and until they do the ceiling for the Knicks is near their lofty goals. The numbers are clear — when both were on the floor together the Knicks were worse. Stoudemire was a pick-and-roll force while Anthony wants the offense to flow through him more where he creates the shot or play for others.

Which means someone needs to make changes, and Stoudemire seems willing to do that.

Stoudemire is a pick-and-roll player — he shot 60.2 percent and scored 1.22 points per possession last season when he shot as the roll man (via MySynergySports). That accounted for 13 percent of his offense. He got 10 percent of his offense on post touches and shot just 40.5 percent.

But Stoudemire sees the Knicks need for offense out of the post so he has been down in Houston for two weeks working with Hakeem Olajuwon to develop some post moves. The goal is to give him the tools to grow the part of his game that fits better with the Knicks offense.

Stoudemire told MyFoxHouston.com that he is optimistic.

“A lot of moves that he has really, really translate to my game. To now develop a post game is going to be remarkable for me. It’s going to catch a lot of my opponents off guard and it’s going to be a great year for me.”

His teacher told the New York Times it’s going well.

“You won’t believe it,” Olajuwon said in a telephone interview from his ranch outside Houston.

“It’s night and day,” Olajuwon said. “What’s so nice is he wants it; he likes the post. He’s always wanted to play there, but he doesn’t have the moves that would give him that option.”

Now, that is coming from a guy trying to pump up his player in public, so take it with a few grains of salt.

But Knicks fans, you need to give Stoudemire some credit here for the effort. New York brought him and Mike D’Antoni in to run one kind of offense, but really never assembled a roster to play that style. They just threw parts together. Carmelo was part of that, a star but one that was going to change how they played.

Stoudemire is the one trying to make the adjustment. He is trying to expand his game. We’ll see how it works out, we’ll see how many touches he gets on the block. But it’s a step toward making him and ‘Melo work well together. And that is what the Knicks need.

LeBron James flips elimination-game game on its head

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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His Cavaliers down 3-2 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, how does LeBron James assess his situation?

"I don’t enjoy being in the position where it’s you lose and go home," LeBron said before Game 6 tonight in Cleveland.

He might not enjoy this position, but he’s pretty good in it.

Since he first reached the playoffs in 2006, other teams have won 26% of their elimination games. LeBron’s teams have won 57% of theirs.

Of course, LeBron hasn’t gone 12-9 in elimination games just because he’s lucky. He has willed his team off the mat numerous times.

LeBron has scored 40 points and/or had a triple-double in six straight elimination games, winning five of them. His line in his last elimination game before that streak? Just 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

A full history of LeBron’s elimination games:

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Rockets played with fire with Chris Paul, got burned

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Chris Paul played 79 minutes in three days.

Prior to Games 4 and 5 of these Western Conference finals, he hadn’t done that in more than two years. He hadn’t done it without both games going to overtime in more than three years.

The Rockets leaned heavily on the 33-year-old Paul, and they’ll pay the price.

Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow. Given how quickly Houston ruled out Paul with a strained hamstring, he seems unlikely to play in a potential Game 7 Monday.

Injuries are somewhat – but not completely – random. Players are more susceptible when worn down. After missing the close of the 2016 postseason, Paul missed 45 games the last two regular seasons. He has accumulated a lot of mileage in his 13-year career.

Yet, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni drastically shortened his rotation, anyway. Not only did Paul play big minutes in this series, he shouldered a huge load. He took the reins of the offense at times, allowing James Harden to conserve energy for defense, while maintaining his own strong-two way play. That’s never easy, especially in these high-intensity games.

This was the risk.

We can feel bad for Paul and his predicament. We can also acknowledge Houston got this far by gambling on Paul’s health.

That’s not to say it was a bad bet. This is what you save him for, the biggest playoff series of his career and maybe one of the last before he exits his prime. The Rockets would have been far worse off to this point resting Paul extensively and protecting him. Even with such a heavy workload, an injury was never fait accompli. And Houston got plenty from Paul before he went down. He was instrumental to wins in Game 4 and Game 5 that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Now, they just must hope that’s enough of a head-start into a world of playing without Paul.

Chris Paul out for Rockets-Warriors Game 6

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The Rockets bought themselves margin for error by earning home-court advantage and taking a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

They’ll need it.

Chris Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow with a strained hamstring.

Rockets release:

The Houston Rockets announced today that guard Chris Paul will miss Saturday’s game at Golden State with a right hamstring strain that occurred during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Warriors. He will be re-evaluated after the team returns to Houston.

Golden State was already heavily favored at home. This will tilt the odds even further in its favor.

But the Rockets aren’t completely incapable without Paul. They went 15-9 without him this season. James Harden and Eric Gordon can assume extra playmaking duty.

Still, this is a massive loss. When Harden is overburdened offensively, his defense suffers. Gordon is already playing a lot of minutes, so greater responsibility will come in role, not playing time. To fill Paul’s minutes, Mike D’Antoni will have to expand a rotation he had masterfully tightened. Gerald Green could play more. Luc Mbah a Moute could return to the rotation.

A Game 7 looks increasingly likely. Will Paul return for that? The 2018 NBA title might hinge on that question.

Given how quickly the Rockets announced Paul would miss Game 6, there isn’t much reason for optimism about Paul’s availability three days from now, either.

Report: Chris Paul’s hamstring injury ‘not good’

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The question looming over the Western Conference finals: How is Chris Paul?

The Rockets revealed little last night about Paul’s hamstring injury. Time to see how his body responded would provide clarity.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

That stinks. It’s also a fairly expected development. Paul appeared to be in rough shape before leaving the court.

The Rockets have bought themselves margin for error, but a sidelined or even hobbled Paul would sap a lot of it.

If Paul can’t play in Game 6 tomorrow, expect Eric Gordon and James Harden to receive a larger offensive roles (though not necessarily more minutes). Gerald Green could play more, and maybe Luc Mbah a Moute gets back into the rotation.