Work in Sports
Ready to rumble
Knicks vow to get physical in Game 2
Posted: Monday May 08, 2000 08:43 PM
MIAMI (AP) -- Chris Childs wants the New York Knicks to be more physical, knocking players to the floor instead of allowing layups and dunks. The Miami Heat welcome the challenge.
Now this is more like a Knicks-Heat playoff series.
The Heat made about 10 layups, many of them uncontested, and had almost as many dunks in their 87-83 victory in Game 1 on Sunday. Even guard Tim Hardaway, with his bad knees and sore foot, dribbled coast to coast for any easy basket.
"We never fouled them once," Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said Monday.
So the Knicks plan to put a stop to their soft play, starting Tuesday night in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.
"It has to change around -- no layups," Childs said. "I mean, 21 points in transition? Nine dunks? And I don't know how many layups. That has to change. You have to put guys down. Not to hurt them, but to make them earn it at the free-throw line.
"Whoever goes to the basket, you have to foul them and make them earn it."
That's just fine with the Heat.
"As far as knocking people down, I mean, whatever," forward P.J. Brown said. "It doesn't bother me. It's going to be a tough, physical game as always, so it doesn't matter what they bring. We'll be ready."
No two NBA teams have sustained a better -- and more bitter -- rivalry over the past several seasons than the Knicks and Heat. And the series has had its share of physical play.
Knicks point guard Charlie Ward boxed out Brown at the knees in the 1997 playoffs as they battled for rebounding position. Brown then flipped Ward to the ground, and several of the Knicks ran off the bench to join in the melee.
The following year, Van Gundy clutched onto Alonzo Mourning's leg while the Heat's center and Knicks forward Larry Johnson exchanged punches.
So Childs' remarks shouldn't surprise anyone, although both teams refrained from such exchanges prior to Game 1.
"If it's a hard foul and it's legal, you get up, knock your shots down and continue to play," Childs said.
Or tempers flare and fights erupt.
"Why don't you just raise the ante, Chris?" Heat coach Pat Riley quipped. "What the hell. Here it comes. All right, I'm going to knock people down."
Hardaway and Knicks center Patrick Ewing probably could do without the physical play. Hardaway did not practice Monday but still plans to play the rest of the series with a sore left foot.
"Hopefully I'll be able to play the same amount of minutes I played [Sunday] and make more shots," he said. "I felt good about my play. Some of my shot selections were terrible, but I set the tempo."
Hardaway played 30 minutes and had six points, seven assists and three turnovers in his first game since April 16. He was 1-for-6 from 3-point range.
Ewing also played despite having back spasms last week. He had 17 points and nine rebounds.
After Monday's practice, Ewing had seven bags of ice wrapped onto his 37-year-old body. He had two on his back, two on his left Achilles' tendon, one on each knee and one on his right wrist.
"My back is the only thing that is really hurting me right now," said Ewing, who has undergone acupuncture treatments since injuring his back last Friday.
"I've been doing everything that I have to do to make sure that I am ready to play."