In the Knicks’ last three games -– wins vs. Boston and New Jersey and a surprising 8-point loss to Cleveland on Friday night -– New York has employed three different starting lineups. A rotation in flux is not what the Knicks need heading into the playoffs against either Chicago or Miami.
“There’s definitely a few different lineups,” Amare Stoudemire said. “I think coach is trying to figure it out and work on a few things.”
Last Tuesday, Baron Davis started vs. the Celtics but only played 18 minutes in comparison to reserve PG Mike Bibby, who logged six assists in 26 minutes. The Knicks’ offense churned out 118 points behind Carmelo Anthony’s triple-double, New York’s primary scoring threat. Five of Anthony’s 10 assists came off of 3-pointers from J.R. Smith and Steve Novak. The two shot 15-of-20 from deep.
On Wednesday, Bibby started in place of Davis, who was out with a stomach bug. In the 104-95 win over the Nets, Bibby played 36 minutes, 23 more than his season average.
Finally on Friday night vs. Cleveland, the Knicks failed to galvanize their offense with the return of Stoudemire, playing his first game since March 24. The Knicks shot just 31 percent (13-of-42) in the first half en route to a 45-34 halftime deficit. Stoudemire finished 5-of-11 from the field with 15 points and just three rebounds but most of his points came in the second half, as the Knicks trailed by double-digits.
The Knicks still have three games before the playoffs to adjust to their new-found post presence and Stoudemire isn't concerned about the team's offensive chemistry. “Again, there’s no room to panic at all,” Stoudemire said. “We feel like we’re in a good position right now with the seventh seed so just gotta make sure we keep playing hard and take some positive momentum into the postseason.”
On Sunday vs. Atlanta, the Knicks may see their fourth different starting lineup in four games with Davis’ potential return as the primary point guard.