Amar’e Stoudemire was back with the Knicks on New Year’s Day, welcomed by a standing ovation from the Madison Square Garden faithful.
Then he went out and looked like a guy who missed training camp and the first third of the season following knee surgery. There were flashes — a block in the paint, a baseline cut for a dunk off a J.R. Smith pass — but mostly Stoudemire looked rusty, like a guy where the game was just moving really fast for him during the Knicks loss.
Stoudemire finished 3-of-8 shooting and was a -9 on the floor because LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson outplayed him (Hickson has outplayed a lot of people this season while you weren’t watching). It wasn’t an impressive performance for STAT, who played just shy of 17 minutes off the bench.
But what did you expect?
It’s going to take a few games for him to get his conditioning back, his feel for the game back, for him to adjust to a new role off the bench. Like the video above shows there were flashes. Give him a chance to see if he can start to do that regularly. And wait for Raymond Felton to get back next month from a broken finger — Stoudemire and Felton had good pick-and-roll chemistry before.
And here’s a stat to watch going forward — lineups with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire on the floor together were +2 in five minutes on the court. That one night and small sample size is meaningless, but that is the combo Mike D’Antoni could not get to work together and Mike Woodson needs to if the Knicks are going to be the real elite threat in the East they played like early on.
Mike D’Antoni on Chris Paul suspension: ‘What is he supposed to do?’ (VIDEO)
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni took exception to Paul’s suspension, saying that he thought it was “not equitable” that Paul had to face suspension.
The NBA determined that Rondo indeed did spit in Paul’s face, or at least in the direction of him, directly preceding Paul’s eye poke on Rondo. That kicked things off into full force, and it devolved from there.
“At least they didn’t suspend Boris Diaw again,” Mike D’Antoni strongly disagrees with the decision handed down by the league suspending Chris Paul for two games. pic.twitter.com/nATdU8XVgy
All the suspensions were fairly weak. Ingram got just four games for his initial instigation and giant, loping punch toward Paul. Rondo received three games for spitting on Paul and landing punches. Paul received two games for punching Rondo.
It’s unlikely that anybody was going to be happy with the result of the discipline just because of the bad blood involved. However, the league made comment about the suspension afterward, with the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe taking to television later on Sunday.
The NBA’s Executive VP of Basketball Operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe joins #GameTime to discuss how the league determined suspensions for players involved in Saturday's Lakers/Rockets altercation pic.twitter.com/mX5tvd64YB
VanDeWeghe’s explanations don’t satisfy me, and they certainly wouldn’t if I were a Rockets fan. Guys going chest-to-chest and having tensions rise as one thing. Spitting at somebody is another. It’s a level of actionable disrespect that directly influenced and raised tensions during the incident.
Ingram looked childish for shoving James Harden, but his punch came after Rondo got Paul wound up by spitting on him. It’s hard for me to understand how Rondo didn’t get a matching sentence with Ingram at the very least.
For reference, Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games in 2006 after he clocked a player on the New York Knicks during a fight as a member of the Denver Nuggets. Given that precedence, something approaching double digits for both Ingram and Rondo seems like it would have been more appropriate.
Juancho Hernangómez bats game-clinching block to beat Warriors (VIDEO)
That was good recognition by Juancho to crash down on Jones. The risk was leaving Kevin Durant open, lot of guys wouldn’t have done that. But he saw that Steph had his head down and basically an impossible angle out to Durant, and crashed down for the game-winning block. pic.twitter.com/TtS1nKoAVC
Lowry and DeRozan are best friends, and their budding romance has been a sentimental point for fans in Toronto and abroad.
But life goes on, and the Raptors again are one of the teams expected to challenge for an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. That hasn’t kept Lowry from doing the same handshake routine he used to do with DeRozan before games this season.
The only difference? DeRozan isn’t there to help dap up Lowry.
Here’s the relevant details per the NBA’s release.
Ingram has been suspended for aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting a game official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden. Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul. Paul has been suspended for poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo, and throwing multiple punches at him.
Here are the financial implications from the altercation between Houston and the Lakers: Brandon Ingram will be fined $158,816 for the four games suspended. Rajon Rondo will be fined $186,207 for three games suspended. Chris Paul will be fined $491,782… https://t.co/GjEm6F8yPO
We have been waiting on these suspensions largely to see how the NBA would discipline one of the first actual fights in some time. A maximum of four games seems a little light to me. Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games in 2006 when he clocked Mardy Collins during a fight between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets.
Rondo only getting three games despite having spit on an opponent is also pretty wild. That’s crazy disrespectful and I would not believe you if you tried to tell me that this bad blood will end here.
Both the Lakers and Rockets will miss some of their most important players as they start duking it out in the tough Western Conference.