Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Injured Knicks Prepare for Three Games in Three Nights
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks are coming off a win, yet are battered and bruised as they head into a showdown with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls that kicks off a brutal stretch of three games in three nights.
Amar’e Stoudemire has a sprained ankle but will play. Carmelo Anthony is still battling a series of injuries but returned to the court after a two-game hiatus Tuesday and scored 25 points in a 113-86 win over the Detroit Pistons. And head coach Mike D’Antoni concedes he has “no clue” when Baron Davis will debut.
“Everybody will be ready to play all three games hard as they can play,” D’Antoni said Wednesday after practice, referring to Anthony and Stoudemire.
Neither player spoke to the media Wednesday.
After hosting the Bulls (18-5) Thursday, the Knicks (8-13) will visit the Boston Celtics Friday before hosting the Nets Saturday.
Stoudemire sprained his right ankle on a jump rope at halftime of the Pistons game, but returned in the second half.
“He went through everything we had to go through [Wednesday], but he left to get treatment,” D’Antoni said. “He’s fine.”
He added: “We need to win every game we can win and we’re going to approach the game with that winning mentality. Now, if that means Amar’e’s really banged up or tired, can he go the second game? No. Then we won’t.”
As for Anthony, he said after the Pistons game he felt “refreshed,” but conceded he wasn’t certain if he would play all three games this weekend.
“He might not,” D’Antoni said, “but the plan going in is that we’re playing all three and winning three. Now we’ll see how that goes.”
The Knicks were 6-4 before Anthony injured his ankle and wrist against Memphis Jan. 12, but 2-9 since that game.
“If we can keep Melo healthy and keep him where he was last night, we’re a better team than what we’ve been doing, that’s for sure,” D’Antoni said.
Davis, meantime, has yet to play this season, and D’Antoni said, “As soon as he’s ready, we’ll put him out there, but he’s not ready yet.”
In the meantime, the Knicks must prepare to host the reigning NBA MVP and one of the league’s top teams.
“[Rose] is unbelievable,” D’Antoni said. “He’s turned into one of the best players in the game, without a doubt. He’s great.
“Somehow you gotta try and contain Rose a little bit and not just let him run wild, but he runs wild most of the time. And then at that point you gotta make sure you’re playing well.”
Knicks center Tyson Chandler said trying to defend Rose was a double-edged sword.
“He’s coming at you full speed all the time,” he said. “He’s the main reason why the Bulls are the top offensive rebounding team in the league because he puts so much pressure on the bigs. He’s constantly driving and drawing contact and when he does miss, if I’m going after the shot it’s hard for me to keep [Joakim] Noah or [Carlos] Boozer off the glass. He applies the pressure and they come in and get a lot of tap-ins.”
Still, Chandler said he and his banged up teammates were looking forward to the challenge of playing the Bulls.
“I’m excited about it and Chicago is a great test for us,” he said.
“Coming off a good win [Tuesday] night, I feel if we play the same way and lock in defensively, I like our chances.”
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.