Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks Pre-Game News and Notes March 6th

Knicks News: 
It was announced earlier this afternoon that Shooting Guard/Small Forward Bill Walker will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to his left elbow. Walker had been a part of the Knicks rotation through January and the early February before suffering the injury February 17th against the New Orleans Hornets. It is widely considered that if need Walker could have toughed through the injury, but because of the new found depth of the Knicks roster, minutes for Walker would have been hard to come by. Coach Mike D’Antoni is hopeful to have Walker back in time for the playoffs, but in the mean time will have to make due without the services of Sky-Walker. 

There are a number of people that are starting to become aware of Iman Shumpert’s play thus far in his rookie season and want to see him on the court more. These are mostly the same people that would like to see Shumpert take over the starting role from current Shooting Guard Landry Fields. D’Antoni acknowledges that Shumpert has been playing well, but has no intentions of changing the lineup. "I’m sticking with guys, we’re getting better," D'Antoni said. "You never know what the ripple effect is. The team is always fluid. That’s why I always said, even Baron, that’s always fluid. I’m never going to put a ceiling on somebody. But I like what we’ve got. Landry didn’t have a great game yesterday, but I’ve got complete confidence in him." In my opinion, there is no reason to mess with a good thing. Yes the Knicks have a losing record, but changing the lineup would only cause more chaos for D’Antoni in managing minutes for everyone. As long as the Knicks keep developing as they seem to currently be, everyone should be happy in the end. 

What To Watch For vs. Mavericks 

-How Tyson Chandler responds to his injuries 
Tyson Chandler has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career, and this season seems to be no different. Chandler has been battling through nagging injuries to his back and both wrists, and it seems now that the injury to his left wrist could cause some problems. When asked about the injury, Chandler responded with "It’s a lot of doctor stuff that me and you both would have to go back to school to understand. We’ll just say it’s sprains and stuff..... It’s a couple of different things." An MRI taken 3 days ago revealed the damage but Chandler intends to continue playing through the injury. It is believed as of now that the left wrist injury will not require any surgery, but will require plenty of rest. It will be interesting to see how Chandler comes out in the game against the Mavericks as he will be running on high adrenaline receiving his NBA Finals Championship ring and returning to the place he called home last season. 

-Can The Bench Keep It Going 
In the first meeting against the Mavericks, a 104-97 Knicks win, the bench play was lackluster for the Knicks. Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to a fast start, but Iman Shumpert was unable to run the offense allowing the Mavericks back into the game. This time around the Knicks will have Baron Davis to replace Lin, which should make the offense run a little bit smoother this time around. Bench play has been strength for the Knicks the past couple of games and look to continue their strong play against a formidable Mavericks bench which sports annual 6th man of the year candidate Jason Terry as well as veteran Lamar Odom and up and coming youngster Roddy Beaubois. 

-New Face In The Starting Lineup For Mavericks 
The Mavericks have been able to keep healthy for most of the season, but may have suffered a blow to their starting lineup. Starting Center Brandon Haywood badly rolled his ankle in the first minute of the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday and did not return. Replacing him was Ian Mahinmi, who had a strong game in his place against a tough Thunder interior of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, finishing with 13 points on 5-6FG’s with 5 rebounds 2 assists 1 block and 2 steals. Judging from those stats and his 6 fouls, Mahinmi showed a lot of energy and hustle off the bench and was prepared to play. The Knicks have to watch out for him and make him commit fouls just as the Thunder did to take him out of the game. The less inside presence the Mavericks show the easier it will be for the Knicks to work the paint with Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. 

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