Every Saturday, I’ll dump my notebook for you with the previous week’s news, notes, quotes, mini stories and links to reports or interviews, that I’ve collected from practice, shootaround, games. Some of these reports you may have seen on the MSG Knicks Broadcast, but most of my reports don’t make it to the sidelines. But I want to get all that I’ve covered, out there in a timely bases. That’s why I give fans … Tina’s Notebook!!
What are the Knicks doing … after the lineups are introduced and they huddle up?????
Since the first game of the pre-season versus New Jersey, the Knicks are doing something they didn’t do last year. They all form a circle, put their arms around each other, and sway. It’s hard to see, but Iman Shumpert is in the middle of the circle, on the floor, in what looks like he’s polishing the floor. Well, here’s what’s going on…
Shumpert told me, in that first preseason game, he didn’t realize what the team was doing when they locked arms, and he got stuck in the middle. So he dropped to his knees, and did something he’s been doing since high school. He writes out, with his hand on the court, K N I C K S, the writes out the opponent … either city or team name. As Shumpert does this the team sways. Then, Shumpert stands up, and stomps on the opponents name, the team follows. Even when Shumpert was out four 4 games with a knee injury, he got on the floor, had to keep his knee straight, sometimes take off his dress jacket, and went through the ritual. The only game Shumpert did write out the team names in the circle was the Sacramento game, because he was still in the training room getting worked on by the training staff.
No one can explain his injury better, than the man himself. Here’s Carmelo Anthony on MSG before the Knicks played the Oklahoma City Thunder, with updates on his ankle and wrist injuries.
Anthony has been dealing with quite a few bumps and bruises, aches and pains already this season … here’s my report before the Pistons Game in Detroit, Saturday, January 8, on his back/hip/groin/ injury. (Also included here is the news of Iman Shumpert joining the starting lineup and Toney Douglas going to the Bench)
On MSG’s Knicks Game Night before the Philadelphia 76ers game at Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, I got the latest on why Iman Shumpert was getting cramps at the end of games, and what he and the Knicks training staff are doing to eliminate them.
While I talked to Shumpert at his locker, he was drinking water with electrolytes, several bottles of blue Gatorade, and eating a huge bowl of fruit. Mostly fresh watermelon. Here’s why …
At the morning shoot around in Oklahoma City, I had a great conversation with Bill Walker, who was starting for the injured Carmelo Anthony:
After the win over Philadelphia, Tyson Chandler gave credit to Bill Walker for playing smart defense, making heads up plays on some of the Sixers top scorers, and switching and rotating at the right time. Walker says, after playing a season and a half with the Knicks (since being traded to New York in February 2010 from Boston) this year, “there’s a different focus, different approach to defense, our whole attitude is geared towards defense.” Walker points out that Chandler brings and unbelievable amount of intensity, specifically on the defensive end. “When you have one of your best players doing that, everyone follows. I see that, and I want to win on the level he’s won.”
As the Knicks try to come together as a team, overcoming a short training camp and condensed schedule that eliminates practice time, Walker says the Knicks defense is “predicated on helping the helper. Then you can trust, when you’re defending your man, there will be help for you.” As the Knicks continue showing the help, and getting the results, the trust will continue to build, and there will be less errors when players rotate.
It’s a joint effort guarding All-Star Kevin Durant. Starting for Anthony, and with the way the Knicks were matching up, Walker was preparing for one of the great challenges in the NBA, guarding Durant. “It’s his length. He has a 7-foot wing span. That makes it even harder. You have to try to make his catches more difficult, make his looks more difficult, you can’t keep a guy like that from scoring, you just have to contest everything. It’s a great challenge for me, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
When Anthony knew he wasn’t going to be playing Saturday he said the team knows I’m not there, they will all step up. Walker says without Anthony, the key is to “not change anything, do what you have to do. Everyone has to do what they’re good at. It’s not one guy stepping up, I’m not playing FOR Melo, everybody has to give a concerted effort and play their best game.”
- Iman Shumpert said the Memphis game was “a bitter pill to swallow” after shooting 5 –of-20 from the floor. He took responsibility saying, “I played a bad game. Criticism follows. I’m fine with that,” because he knows what he did wrong and what he has to do better. Shumpert says he was attacking, and trying to play aggressive, but he rushed some shots, especially in transition. He says he’s even more upset with the 6 turnovers he had, and he has to do a better job with handling the ball, again, especially in transition.” Shumpert is a rookie, still picking up things, and learning game by game.