New York: Chris Duhon (PG), Wilson Chandler (SG), Jared Jeffries (SF), Al Harrington (PF), David Lee (C).
This is the best starting lineup that coach D'Antoni could throw out there. In previous seasons the thought of Jeffries in the starting lineup would make me cringe. However, due to his limited success in the pre-season combined with our need to showcase him for a possible trade it was a great move. Now to the Miami Heat…
Miami: Mario Chalmers (PG), Dwayne Wade (SG), Quentin Richardson (SF), Michael Beasley (PF), Jermaine O’Neal (C).
First off let me give a worthy congratulations to Quentin on winning the starting job. That was no easy task on a competitive Heat team and he deserves a pat on the back. I felt terrible how the offseason treated him and am happy that he ended up in a place he will enjoy. Moving on… The last second decision by coach Spoelstra to replace Beasley for Haslem caught me by surprise. What would be the reason for killing the confidence of your veteran big man before the season even starts? It was extremely unprofessional in the manner in which the situation was handled. You don’t tell a veteran they are yanked from the starting lineup just hours before the season starts. I’m going to keep an eye on the situation down there in Miami because this team could become fragmented over this decision (although it is way to early to tell).
If the Knicks can give the Heat a run for their money tonight maybe Wade will think twice about coming to New York next season. As the Knicks take their team on the road all season long each game must be thought of as an audition for the plethora of talented players that will be available next summer. If they believe the Knicks are just one or two players away from being a contender it will certainly increase our chances of landing a game-changing player. Jason Kidd, Andre Miller and Grant Hill all passed on the New York Knicks because they simply weren’t convinced that the team would be able to compete even with their additions. If next season is going to be a success we must increase our win total THIS YEAR. A majority of the fans and sports writers are simply overlooking this season as insignificant and as I wrote in my previous article this couldn’t be a bigger mistake. The entire league and all of the free agents for next season undoubtedly are keeping track of which direction the Knicks season will go compared to last. For this we are lucky to have a coach with such a competitive spirit. We could be 0-81 and D’Antoni would still be clawing and scratching for that last win. That is why he is one of the best coaches in the league and for that I am grateful.
The keys to winning tonight’s game include playing the defense that all the players have been bragging about throughout the pre-season. We know Wade will get his but as long as the Knicks remain composed and play lock down defense it should be a tight one. They must force Beasley into the 18-20 foot jumper range because this part of his game is simply unproven. If he has the ability to get into the lane and draw fouls it could open up the court for Wade to go crazy and will most likely be a long night for our beloved Knicks. Al Harrington MUST be the vocal leader of this team for the duration of the season (He has stated this himself in several interviews). Therefore from the opening tip it will be his role to exude confidence and composure no matter how tough things get on the floor. Pay close attention the first few minutes of the game… If Harrington is being vocal and the Knicks are playing good help defense they have a great chance to steal one in South Beach. As always I look forward to your comments and LETS GO KNICKS!!