Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Should Mike Woodson consider playing Carmelo Anthony at the start of the second quarter?
It went overlooked, but Woodson arguably made a costly error at the start of the second quarter in Game 2. After Anthony had played the entire first quarter, which he had also done in Game 1, Woodson inserted Steve Novak and Chris Copeland into the game to start the second. What happened? The Celtics went on an 11-1 run, and then Woodson quickly brought back Melo, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler.
While Novak and Copeland are offensive threats with their quick release from 3-point range, against the Celtics and in the playoffs in general, it will put the Knicks at a disadvantage when both shooters are on the court at the same time. One or the other on the court will be better. In that scenario, they could get away with a few more lapses on defense, not their strong suit.
In the past two games, the Celtics have won the second quarter, their biggest offensive period in the first-round series, and it should behoove Woodson to use Anthony earlier on. The Celtics, after the extended rest between the first and second quarters, have looked to attack the Knicks right away when they returned to the court -- and they rode that momentum to a halftime lead in both games.
The playoffs are all about what adjustments a team will bring to the next game. Woodson flipping it up a bit to give Anthony a few minutes rest at the end of the first quarter to get him ready for the second could give the Knicks a boost heading into halftime.
Earlier this season, Woodson made a key adjustment by letting Chandler rest at the end of the first quarter to play him at the top of the second -- when the team was hurting inside -- and the move paid off well for the Knicks. Chandler was able to anchor the second unit's defense, protecting their weaker interior.
That was when the Knicks were short-handed due to their big men injuries, and that's the same situation now with these Knicks. Marcus Camby is not playing at the present moment, and there's no more Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace. Even Chandler is not 100 percent healthy, dealing with conditioning issues.
Therefore, playing Anthony with the bench at the start of the second quarter could give them more offensive balance from one period to the next.
Do you think Woodson should consider playing Melo at the start of the second quarter? Or is there another substitution pattern you'd like to see that would benefit the Knicks? Leave us your comments below.
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