With their big guys, Knicks make a series of it. Without ...
Posted: Sunday June 20, 1999 05:29 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 the big deal about playing in New York.
NEW YORK -- Everyone talks about the New York fans and what an advantage
they'll be to the Knicks in Game 3.
This will be an emotional high for the Knicks at a time when they need it
the most, down 0-2 in the NBA Finals. Their fans are among the best in the
league. They know basketball.
But there's more to it than that.
The Knicks will start to get more foul calls going their way at Madison
Square Garden, because Jeff Van Gundy will make sure they get them. He's
already started working on the refs, talking about the disparity in free
throw shooting. The San
Antonio Spurs have attempted 66, the Knicks 31 in the first two games.
That'll help the Knicks stay closer, and that'll keep the fans in the game
-- and that, the Knicks hope, could finally crack the Spurs.
Game 3 is the best one to get for the Knicks. They have to have this one.
If they don't, with all the Knicks have going for them in this one -- the
two-day rest, being back home -- it's over.
Check back on Monday when English takes a look forward to Game 3.
This is a special NBA Finals edition of "The Week at a Glance." Check
back every day until the Finals are decided for a new glance.
NEW YORK -- With the San Antonio Spurs barrel-rolling over the gimpy New York Knicks in the
NBA Finals, you have to wonder what this series would have been like if the
Knicks had their full complement of players.
Would the Spurs still be up 2-0 and streaking toward their first NBA title?
Would the Knicks have a chance?
"I think it'd be a different series," said the Spurs' Mario Elie. "It'd be a
The Finals still could go seven, of course. But, as poorly as the Knicks
have shot in the first two games, few are expecting a miraculous recovery.
After all, New York is still missing its center, Patrick Ewing, out with a
torn Achilles' tendon. Larry Johnson, a starting
forward, is still hampered by a balky right knee. Center Chris Dudley is bothered
by a hyper-extended elbow that he says especially hurts his shooting,
though it doesn't affect him much on defense.
And there are other assorted bumps and strains and bruises that are eating
at the bodies and psyches of the Knicks.
All that has prompted a whirlwind of talk about switching lineups. The
favorite mythic scenario is starting both Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell, to take
advantage of diminutive Spurs point guard Avery Johnson.
Given the players who can play, though, the lineups really have little
bearing on the picture as a whole.
"The eight guys we play are going to have to play more efficiently,"
Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
The search for an answer has reached such a peak that there was a rumor
floating around that Ewing might make a reappearance for Game 3 on Monday
"That boot on him is kind of heavy," Elie said.
Whatever the case, the absence of Ewing and the ineffectiveness of the
hobbled Johnson have had a huge impact on the series. Though some have said
the Knicks are a better team without Ewing clogging up the middle, it's
clear that the Knicks badly need an inside presence to combat the Spurs'
Robinson and Tim
And the Knicks, too, need somebody to help Latrell Sprewell and Allan
Houston on the offensive end, someone who can free Houston for jumpers and
let Sprewell create his shots.
"With Patrick not being in there," the Spurs' Johnson said, "we know their
offense is going to end up in one of their two guys' hands [Houston or
Sprewell] every time down the floor."
| Half full, half empty
| Sunday in New York |
The good : More rest
for the beat-up Knicks, a chance for the Spurs to get a little tight, and
the series maybe will get to be interesting.
The bad: Are we
delaying the inevitable here by two off-days before the middle three games
The New York media |
The good : They've built the Knicks into
this Goliath-killing fairy tale soap opera, which really has become the
best story of the playoffs.
The bad : And now, they may have to
do a quick autopsy on them when the truth finally hits home.
| Storylines We'll Be Following
| The Spin |
NBA commissioner David Stern
makes his "State of the NBA" address to the media on Monday morning. It'd
help his cause a little if this series weren't so clunky. Still, it'll be
interesting to hear what Stern has to say about measures to increase
offense, the effect the lockout has had on the postseason,
anyone still care? |
We're not talking TV ratings. We already know those are
through the floor. We're talking about New Yorkers as a whole. Yeah,
they're still behind the Knicks, and the Garden is sold out for Game 3. But
a loss Monday and all hands may abandon ship, big-time.
| Holding it together |
Subtle signs are always there with
the Knicks. Sources telling Sports Illustrated Sprewell wants out if
Van Gundy stays. Looking bad in a series to a former ABA team that has
never won an NBA title. The constant pressure from the media. We're not
saying a Knicks blowoup is in the cards. But you're a fool if you turn your
head on this squad.
| The Bandwagon
| Sean Elliott
Man has tired Allan Houston out|
| Spurs fans ||Enthusisasm is infectious -- but "sweep" cheer infuriated
Knicks fans ||For now,
they're still with their team|
| Knicks' assists ||Can
anyone here pass? |
| NY 3P ||Can't get
inside? Take a 3! Ooops. 4-for-22 in series.|