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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

D’Antoni on Rondo: ‘I’d like to see him on Minnesota’

D'Antoni on Rondo: "I'd like to see him on Minnesota and see how well he does." But quickly adds, "He's a really good player."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Mike D’Antoni should’ve been worrying about his New York Knicks beating Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics.

After all, D’Antoni’s Knicks were trailing their series 3-0 when he spouted off on whether Rondo could succeed without The Big Three on a weaker squad like the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The sideline boss had to field a team without starting point guard Chauncey Billups. Instead of preparing a solution like, say, inserting veteran Anthony Carter earlier on, D’Antoni provided bulletin board material for Rondo.

Know this: Rondo would be a player in The Frozen Tundra of ‘Sota -or anywhere else, for that matter. He’d pile-up assists with Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, and anybody else.

And Rondo makes his squad go, as demonstrated by his 21 points and 12 assists in game four against the Knicks. Now his Celtics are going to the second round after sweeping D’Antoni’s Knicks.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Mar , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Carmelo Anthony: ‘There’s no need to panic’

After the buzzer, (Carmelo) Anthony sat alone on the Knicks bench long after his teammates left the court. Asked what he was thinking, the Brooklyn native said, "This ship is going to turn right."  For now, the ship be sinking -- to borrow Micheal Ray Richardson's famous Knicks quotation.

"We just got to a point where I thought we panicked," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "This is a work in progress and we have a month to get this thing figured out. If we can figure out fourth quarters, we can get a lot smoother. With two scorers on the floor like Carmelo and Amar'e, we just have to figure it out." We're going to get it right," Anthony said. "There's no need to panic."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There's no need to panic, but the New York Knicks should be concerned.

Last night, they crumbled in the fourth quarter against a steely, calm Boston Celtics team, who took particular pleasure in beating up and exposing the Knicks’ many flaws.

The Knicks’ problems have nothing to do with talent. Their problems have everything to do with chemistry.

Mike D’Antoni’s crew spent two-thirds of a season establishing familiarity. Amar’e Stoudemire was the undisputed top dog, and everybody else had a supporting role.

That arrangement is out the window with Carmelo Anthony in the fold. Knick players seem confused as to whether Stoudemire or Anthony gets the ball in the decisive fourth quarter.

Before the Anthony trade, the Knicks could always get a good shot by running a pick-and-roll between Ray Felton and Stoudemire. This, in fact, was their bread and butter play.

Well, Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Anthony. And come crunch time the ball goes in to Anthony or Stoudemire on an ‘iso’ play. Good defensive teams - like the Celtics did last night - will take that option away.

Finally, Anthony is a mixed bag. While he’s a talented offensive player, Melo has many bad habits. He doesn’t move the ball; he switches too often on screens defensively; he’s mentally weak.

This won’t change overnight. Neither will the Knicks. They are not a championship contender. They are a decent team with two supremely talented scorers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sooner the faithful at Madison Square Gardens accept this, the better.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Jan , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Charles Barkley: the Knicks can’t win playing D’Antoni’s system

"I do not think (the Knicks) can win with that system. I saw it in Phoenix. And let me tell you something, they had a lot more talent in Phoenix. A lot more. Let me just tell you this -- the three most critical areas of the game are defense, rebounding and turnovers. That's one of the fundamental flaws of that system."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The NBA won’t like it. New York won’t like it. And the legions of Charles Barkley haters certainly won’t like it.

But ‘The Round Mound of Rebound’ is absolutely right: the Knicks can’t possibly win the NBA Title playing Mike D’Antoni’s ‘Seven Seconds Or Less’ system.

After all, defence wins championships. Shot-happy, entertaining basketball does not.

Consider that the Los Angeles Lakers have won consecutive championships playing air-tight defence. Same with the Boston Celtics, last year’s Eastern Conference champion.

Getting stops has been the key to the start-studded Miami Heat turning around their season. While the league-leading San Antonio Spurs are playing a more up-tempo brand of basketball, they still hold their own defensively.

How can the Knicks buck the trend? Especially since the Phoenix Suns, D’Antoni’s previous team, were never able to break through and win a championship with this brand of fire-wagon basketball.

Simply put, they can’t. Sure, the Knicks can win 50 games. Sure, the Knicks can win the Atlantic Division Title. And sure, they can make some noise in the playoffs.

However, they can’t win it with a run-and-gun style. Eventually, New York will realize this. When they do, D’Antoni -turnaround or not- will be expendable.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Saturday , Oct , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Mike D’Antoni on Amar’e Stoudemire: ’I’m hoping he’s the MVP’

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is touting forward Amar'e Stoudemire as an MVP candidate this season. "I'm hoping he's the MVP this year," D'Antoni said. "That's kind of what he should shoot for and I'm sure what he's trying to be."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You’d think the New York Knicks would have learned –hope is not a strategy.

The classic franchise spent three years wooing LeBron James. They cleared cap space. They promised him the world. And they hoped The King would be their saviour.

Well, James took his ‘talents to South Beach’, which left the Knicks giving Amar’e Stoudemire a 5-year, $100 million contract.

Now Coach Mike D’Antoni has to hope Stoudemire can be his saviour.

While Stoudemire has moments of greatness, he’s not an MVP. His offensive game is limited; he treats defense like a contagious disease; and he doesn’t make those around him better.

The Knicks will be better, though. Ray Felton is an upgrade at point guard. Danilo Gallinari should continue developing. And Stoudemire is a legit’ All-Star at the four-spot.

Most importantly, D’Antoni’s crew can finally play to win, not bide their time and hope for the best from The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010.

Playing to win, not hoping, is the only way the Knicks succeed.

-Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jalen Rose on Mike D’Antoni: ‘he was determined not to play me … HATER’

I didn't leave the NBA washed or banged up..Mike D'anPHONY didn't let me contribute my last year..he was determined not me play me..HATER. 

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Gee, ever wonder why Jalen Rose hasn’t made it big as an analyst?

After retiring from the NBA, Rose was seen as the next big thing in the broadcast booth. Many were predicting he’d give TNT stars Charles Barkley and/or Kenny Smith a run on the mic`.

Well, they were wrong.

While Rose hasn’t flopped, his second career hasn’t gone as planned, either. Currently, he’s a secondary analyst for ESPN, and calling a former coach - who happens to ply his trade in the league’s biggest market – a ‘HATER’ won’t help.

Oh yeah, let the record show Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns went 61-21 in 2006-07, which was Rose’s final season in the NBA.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 15 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Don`t Believe Hype: Shaq and Knicks flirting, but not serious

The Knicks have reportedly discussed a sign-and-trade with the Cavs for free agent Shaquille O'Neal.

Reports, however, have O'Neal headed to Atlanta for Marvin Williams. A Knicks source said, "I don't think it would work with us on all kinds of levels."

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Big Diesel in The Big Apple would be The Big Disaster.

Simply put, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t right for the New York Knicks. And the New York Knicks aren’t right for Shaquille O’Neal.

Both sides can flirt with each other in the media. These antics are self-serving. Player and team are manipulating the headlines for their own purposes.

After all, Shaq wants to play for a contender. Well, the Knicks – after losing out on Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade in free agency – will struggle to make the playoffs in 2010.

Shaq no longer has the Phoenix Suns’ outstanding trainers to keep his weight down and body spry. At 38, girth-filled, and injury prone, he’d struggle in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less system.

While not disastrous, the O’Neal-Amar’e Stoudemire pairing in Phoenix had challenges. If absolutely necessary, these two could play together.
 
It’s not something even the Knicks would choose to do -although they may be just crazy enough to rehire Isiah Thomas as GM, so who really knows what James Dolan and his lackies are capable of?

Well, why the rumors? 

Shaq is hoping the New York buzz prompts a competitive squad like the Atlanta Hawks and/or San Antonio Spurs to reconsider his services down the middle.
  
The Knicks, of course, must appear busy. They must appear to be doing everything possible to improve in hopes of distracting the masses from their failed attempts to sign Bosh, James, and Wade. In this respect, the publicity O’Neal generates can be useful.

So the rumors serve a purpose. Provided they don’t become reality.

--Oly Sandor.

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