New lineups, new strategy -- Knicks look for answers
Posted: Friday June 18, 1999 12:50 PM
Half full, half empty | Storylines | The Bandwagon
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
| English Lesson |
Alex English , an eight-time All-Star with the Denver Nuggets, takes a
look at Game 2 of the NBA Finals. You can catch his English Lesson every
day throughout the NBA Finals.|
SAN ANTONIO -- Here are three
things the New York
Knicks need to do to steal a win at the Alamodome:
1.) They need another big body to go against Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Chris Dudley needs to keep
out of foul trouble, like he did in Game 1, and he has to help run those
big guys of the Spurs a little more than the Knicks did in Game 1.
2.) The Knicks need to continue to rebound, 'cause to fuel their
run-and-pass game and their fastbreak, they have to rebound. They did a
decent job of it in Game 1.
3.) They need to find a way, somehow, to get some more rest for Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell, their
big scorers. Down the stretch in Game 1, I think they were a little
fatigued. Houston played 43 minutes, Sprewell 46. That's a lot of minutes.
And here are three things the San Antonio Spurs need to
do to take that big 2-0 lead they want:
1.) They need to get a better start. They got the rust out in Game 1. Now
they should be better prepared.
2.) They need to continue to go into David Robinson and Tim Duncan. It got
them this far.
3.) They can't be complacent because they won Game 1. Too many teams have
letdowns in the second game of a big series like this. They have to come
out aggressively and play like they did in Game 1.
Alex English is the NBA analyst for CNN/SI, the 24-hour sports news
network from CNN and Sports Illustrated. His column, the English Lesson,
appears exclusively on CNNSI.com.
Check back on Saturday for his analysis of Game 2.
This is a special NBA Finals edition of "The NBA at a Glance." Check
back every day until the Finals are decided for a new glance.
SAN ANTONIO -- In his unrelenting quest to find something that will work
against the San Antonio Spurs -- anything, really -- New York Knicks coach
Jeff Van Gundy knows that there are no magic strategies.
"I'm not sure," a haggard Van Gundy said, "there is a good way right now."
Lineup changes? Some say he should start Marcus Camby, but Camby
got into early foul trouble in Game 1 coming off the bench. As a starter,
he could be in even more trouble.
Someone suggested he should use Larry Johnson sparingly,
considering the big forward's bad knee. But Johnson needs to start to
loosen the knee up, Van Gundy says.
There have been thoughts about putting scorer Latrell Sprewell back on the
bench, to provide a secondary spark.
But, heck, the Knicks need a primary spark, too.
"I really believe we need Latrell out on the floor to give us a chance to
score enough," Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy, of course, also has to find a way to stop San Antonio. He was
reluctant to double-team Tim Duncan in Game 1, and Duncan went off for 33
points. The Knicks would double, but only when absolutely forced to.
"Doubling all the time is not the answer," Van Gundy said in defending his
strategy, "'cause they certainly have capable 3-point shooters."
The sobering thought for the Knicks, as Game 2 looms Friday night, is that
there really may be no answers out there at all.
| Half full, half empty
| Gregg Popovich
good : He may be the coach of the next NBA champion, a coach even a guy
like Latrell Sprewell gets along with. He slyly got David Robinson to
accept a lesser role, without ever having to ask. And he made Avery Johnson, hardly a
superstar, into a winner.
The bad: With Robinson and Duncan
up front, how can you go wrong?
| 2-3-2 |
The good : The NBA
Finals format, unlike that of the Conference semifinals and finals, gives
teams a chance to settle in, with less traveling than the 2-2-1-1-1
The bad : If the visitors can steal
Game 1 or 2, they get close to a week at home to try to close it
| Storylines We'll Be
| The start |
The Knicks jumped out big in
Game 1 -- 27 points in the first quarter -- only to watch as San Antonio
crushed them in the second quarter. The Spurs always get better as the game
gets going, so the Knicks need a similar start -- maybe even better -- to
stay in this one.
the boards |
There's no excuse for the Spurs, with all their height, to
get outrebounded. But they did in Game 1, and they got embarrassed on the
offensive boards, 13-4. Look for them to really concentrate on rebounding
in Game 2.
| M*A*S*H |
Marcus Camby is dinged
up, Chris Dudley has a hyper-extended elbow, Larry Johnson has his bum knee
... the Knicks are bad off, and you can't get much healthier playing the
Spurs. Johnson figures to start, just so he doesn't stiffen up on the
bench. But how long can these guys last?
| The Bandwagon
| Twin Towers ||Make the
World Trade Center look wimpy|
Jackson ||An NBA
| Chris Dudley ||Lots o'
good 'D' in Game 1, but an offensive black hole|
| Latrell Sprewell ||Give him
credit; he's been up-front all season|
| Bill Walton ||Don't
agree with all he says, but at least he says something|
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