While Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups will soak up most of the attention in the first round, Toney Douglas' recent hot shooting and one-on-one defensive skills will be key in order for the Knicks to upset the Celtics and Rajon Rondo's playmaking. Throughout the series, Douglas, the team's main X factor, will give ESPNNewYork.com insights into how he and the team are sizing up the Cs. Here's Part 1.
How's the playoff vibe so far?
It's been fine. I had a good shootaround this morning. I feel like everybody is ready and prepared for the game tonight.
How are you personally preparing to go up against Rondo and Delonte West? You excel in the pick-and-roll with getting your shot off, but they're one of the best teams in the league at defending that play.
Just look at every option. They are a good defensive team, and they're a team that loads up and helps each other. We obviously have to move the ball and run, and play our game. I've studied a lot of film on the guy that I'd be guarding.
What holes in the Celtics' offense and defense are you looking to expose?
On defense, make sure every shot be a tough shot and you've got to guard Ray Allen. Rondo's really good at passing the ball and finding people, and [we have to] rebound the basketball and run. We'll be fine if we do that.
Since the All-Star break, you led the league in 3-pointers made (68). What do you credit that success to, and what do Melo and Amare do differently to get you more open looks?
I've got to credit my teammates, Amare and Melo. They create a lot of opportunities for me, having so many double teams and stuff like that. The main thing I always do is stay confident when I shoot, no matter if I'm having a bad shooting night, or staying confident knowing that I'd be in the gym, working all the time and I can hit shots.
What advice has Chauncey given you, especially to prepare for your first postseason appearance?
He means a lot, especially about just being a smarter player. It's not always about being faster and more athletic; it's becoming smarter. He's helped me a lot since he's been here and I'm just looking forward to all the wisdom and advice he gives me. Even when I'm on the bench, I watch him.
How has your one NCAA tournament appearance in 2009 maybe helped you adjust to this playoff atmosphere?
It's the NCAA tournament; it's a big stage. I didn't change anything that I hadn't been doing. Of course, I watch film even during the regular season. It's a big game, but I've just got to keep my poise and just do what I've been doing.
How did you develop your patented floater?
I work on it a lot because in this league there are a lot of shot blockers, so you gotta make sure you get it off. I just gotta keep working on it. This summer, I have to make sure I work on a lot more stuff.
I know you rock the adidas Pro Model sneakers. Will you be debuting a playoff version tonight?
I'm going to rock the same ones I've been wearing [black and blue]. I feel comfortable in them.
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