Anthony Carter is another player whose must be included in the rotation as well. His experience will be in valuable, but more importantly, he is a good counter to either Toney Douglas or Chauncey Billups, should the team they are matched up against try to go small. I think Billy Walker is also making a strong case as he continues to hit timely three pointers. He's 6 for his last 13.
Which brings up the ultimate question and why I may be getting ahead of myself. The playoffs are all about matchups. Right now it would appear that the Knicks will be facing either the heat or the Celtics. First, the heat are new at this playoff thing and have had difficulty this season closing down the stretch when the pressure is on. The Celtics have the big 4 and big baby, and also seem to have the Knicks' number, but they are very thin up front especially sans Shaq and Krstic, who may be out for a little while.
If the Celtics go small, that plays into the Knicks' hands, but it also will expose the match up of Rondo vs. Billups. That's where you need Carter or Toney Douglas to guard Rondo and move Billups to guarding Allen. That means he's going to chasing and getting a workout getting over screen after screen. So the backcourt may not be all that favorable. It just seems to me that the Celtics have holes and still haven't completely jelled since the Perkins trade and may be vulnerable to a competitive series. But they are the Celtics.
The heat scare me in the sense that they are so good, maybe the best I've ever seen, defensively in terms of covering the court sideline to sideline. They are long, strong and athletic and contest every jump shot regardless of ball movement. The Knicks were able to win their last meeting because they didn't rely on standard D'Antoni ball, they came back with transition baskets and isolations and got timely defensive stops. They heat, however, do have the ability to lock you down defensively and hurt you offensively. I think when you look at offense verses defense, the heat's defense is the best of all 4 units when you talk Knicks offense/defense vs. heat offense/defense. But that could change if Lebron continues his solid back to the basket post play like he has showed especially last night in Newark. Still, you have to think that the Knicks matchup well and it will come down to bench play.
In the end, the playoffs are about the moment. The Knicks now have players who have lived this and know it. They will be competing against experience and teams that have made big plays in big moments.
It now comes down to will they face the team that has been relying on experience and getting it done together for a long time, or the one that hopes, like themselves, that they come together quickly.
Also, this is where the coach will earn praise or continue to be condemned by doubting fans. He and his staff will earn their keep through adjustments and rotations.