If you watched the Knicks versus Raptors game on Monday then you already know how much the offense is struggling in New York. If you didn’t see the game then check out the shooting struggles on our previous posts. The team has been without their rookie phenom Iman Shumpert and team captain Amare Stoudemire due to knee and ankle injuries. Help may be on the way tonight against the Bobcats.
“I miss Amar’e [Stoudemire]. I miss Iman [Shumpert]. [Baron Davis] is not even here yet. I miss him, too,” Anthony said yesterday. “But the guys that are out there, we just want them to keep playing with the confidence that they have.”
Anthony and the Knicks will likely welcome Stoudemire and Shumpert back tonight to restore nearly the team’s full rotation.
Still, the coach said it’s promising.
“Game-time decisions. But it looks good,” D’Antoni said yesterday after practice. “We’ll see reactions and all that, but they feel a lot better.”
How important is Shumpert?
“Iman, believe it or not, he’s kind of a game changer for us,” Anthony said, decorating Shumpert with high praise. “Coming off the bench, the energy that he brings. Offensively, defensively. Still a long way to go with him. And it’s still a learning process for him. But for the most part, that’s something we’ve been missing — that energy level coming off the bench. He brings that.”
Shumpert will wear a knee brace for several weeks when he returns. He insists it does not inhibit him, saying, “It doesn’t really restrict any athleticism from me. It sort of just keeps it in place, just in case I was to hyperextend it, anything like that.”
Shumpert and Bibby have not played together this season, raising the question of who will run point when they are on the court at the same time. D’Antoni said they’re interchangeable.
“They’ll divide it,” he said. “It’ll kind of evolve naturally and we’ll see. But they can each play the two and they can both shoot it. They can both run the offense.”
“I feel good,” he said. “[Yesterday] was a great indication on how my ankle feels. I came out, was able to practice a little bit [yesterday]. We didn’t do much as far as physical play, but I was able to get out there and step the foot back on the basketball court and see how it feels. Still a game-time decision.”