D'Antoni Likes Felton, Douglas in Backcourt | Zagsblog
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Monday / April 22.
  • D’Antoni Likes Felton, Douglas in Backcourt

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    NEW YORK — One of the major questions of the Knicks’ preseason has been who will get the nod as the team’s starting shooting guard.

    Head coach Mike D’Antoni has experimented with Wilson Chandler and Roger Mason at that spot, and even given rookies Landry Fields and Andy Rautins a shot at proving themselves.

    But in Tuesday night’s 117-111 victory over the Nets at Madison Square Garden, D’Antoni found a backcourt combination he was pleased with.

    And it didn’t involve any of the aforementioned options.

    With Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas working together in the backcourt, the Knicks were able to play a faster, more up-tempo offensive style that could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the season.

    Felton started at point guard and finished with 13 points and 11 assists, while Douglas came off the bench to score 24 points and make six steals. He hit a huge 3-pointer with under a minute to go to extend the lead to 115-111.

    “I think you can [go with it as the starting backcourt],” D’Antoni said. “There will be nights where you need size there. Raymond can guard twos really well. He is really strong. He has had to guard the big twos. We can, it may not be ideal at the time, but they are going to play a lot of minutes together.”

    Felton is 6-foot-1 and Douglas 6-2,  so they present a smaller backcourt compared with using the 6-8 Chandler or the 6-5 Mason, who has struggled to hit shots.

    “Guys like Kobe, D-Wade, it’s going to be tough [defensively],” Felton said of guarding bigger twos. “At the same time, when we do that we’ve got to make a difference.”

    Still, Felton and Douglas seemed to enjoy what they can do together on the offensive end.

    “I love it,” Douglas said. “Run and gun…I told Raymond if he gets it I am out right away and If I get it I am pushing it. Let’s go, let’s run. We are all versatile and all athletic enough to run the floor and get buckets.”

    Felton echoed those comments.

    “You got two playmakers out there on the court who both can score, who both are scrappy on defense the way we are,” Felton said. “Cause problems for other teams, man.”

    Amar’e Stoudemire, who poured in 39 points and 11 rebounds, also said he likes the look of them playing together.

    “It adds some versatility to us,” he said. “Both of those guys are extremely quick. They’re hard to guard and it makes it easier for me to make a decision. I can go to either one of them for a screen-and-roll. Both guys are pretty good shooters.

    “It creates some creativity for us. And defensively, TD has been great defensively in the past, creating havoc and applying fullcourt pressure. All that helps us.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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