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Knicks End Slump, Resumes Pre-Game Shootarounds

By: Tim Ahmed

The Knicks finally end a six game losing streak, after a quality win against the fourth seed Orlando Magic.  Not only did the Knicks play with great defensive intensity from tip-off, they had their first practice before a game in a long time.

Coach Mike D’Antoni decided to take away morning shootarounds before the start of the 2009-10 season.  He was concerned about the location of the Knicks practice facility.  It’s in Greenburgh, New York, in Westchester County.  D’Antoni knew how the Knicks struggled to get to their home court on time at Madison Square Garden due to the traffic that any major city would offer.  He decided to completely remove it after having a shootaround at 10 am before a 3:30 game.  He was pretty new to coaching in a large city, and thought this change would take the stress away from the players.  But the Knicks had a losing slump as of late, losing nine of the last ten games before playing Orlando yesterday.  Coach D’Antoni made the move to resume morning shootarounds, to get the team back on track.

It certainly worked out for them.  Their defense was able to shut down big man Dwight Howard, enough to stop him from making a field goal in the first half.  Carmelo Anthony talked about how this game is almost a must-win for them.  He certainly proved his tenacity, scoring 39 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.  He had the fans believe that the Knicks can play defense against teams who try to take control of the Knicks height disadvantage.  But the Knicks still need to have better ball movement like they did earlier in the season.  It’s great to have a player like Anthony to get hot throughout the game, but you won’t always have nights like last night.  You can see that flaw during the last possession before regulation.  It’s great that Carmelo has the ball, but he has the responsibility to get the best possible shot.  Normally, when you drive to the basket, other teammates would be open.  If we push for more ball movement towards the end of every game, we won’t have many problems sealing the win.  Anyways, they needed a win during a very important time of the season, and the Knicks prevailed.

But something still bothers me regarding the Knicks practicing in Westchester. Why doesn’t Knicks owner Jim Dolan find a practice facility near the Garden?  There is always space in the city, even with the high population and numerous high rise buildings.  There are way too many parking lots that are less than a mile away from the garden.  You can always put a building there.  You’re not taking their business away; they would still function as a parking lot, only it would be inside a building.  He has the ability to instantly buy any vacant building on the island.  No matter where he buys one in Manhattan, it will always be closer to the Garden than Greenburgh is.  I think it’s ridiculous how the Magic can practice a day before the game at Baruch College, which is about 15 blocks away from MSG. Yet the Knicks can’t have a game day shootaround because they are too far from the court, in their own hometown.  If Jim Dolan wants this team to excel, he should give them all the resources needed to win a championship.  New York is a versatile city. This problem should have been resolved a long time ago.

Otherwise, if the Knicks continue to play the way they did against Orlando last week, they shouldn’t have a hard time this season.

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