Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Mike D'Antoni on MVP race: 'Melo yes, Kobe no
Greetings from behind the baseline at Staples Center, Newsday.com readers! Neil Best here filling in for Big Al out West this week.
Some quick notes from the coaches' pregame chats with the media:
Knicks coach Mike Woodson on Marcus Camby returning to rotation:
"He is going to play. We’re going to put him in there. We’re going to need him based on their bigs that they have up front . . . I don’t know [what to expect]. I have to gauge it as we go along. It’s not like I can sit here and say he’s going to play 30 minutes. I’d be lying if I said that . . . I really don’t know, honest to God I don’t, because he just hasn’t had a chance to practice. We’ll put him out there and see how it goes."
Woodson on playing on Christmas:
"I think anytime you give NBA fans around the world an opportunity to sit down and spend time with their families and loved ones and watch professional basketball, which I think is the greatest game the world, it’s a beautiful thing."
Woodson on Amar'e Stoudemire:
"We miss his leadership. We miss his scoring and his ability to rebound the ball. There are a lot of things. Stat is a big piece of our puzzle, along with Rook [Iman Shumpert], too. He’s still a rookie to me until he gets his 82 games in. We are desperately wanting him to get back in uniform, too, because he can do a lot of things to help us. They’re not far away. How far I don’t know yet, but we’ll patiently wait on them, I promise you that."
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni on Carmelo Anthony being an MVP candidate:
"Yeah, I think so. They’re one of the top teams and he’s definitely a big reason why they’re there so you have to talk about him. Durant’s always there, LeBron’s always there. I think you have to be one of the top three or four records."
What about Kobe Bryant, coach?
"Well, if we can get up to where we need to get up to, but we need to get up there. I don’t think you can put anybody MVP and you’re below .500."
D'Antoni on whether he recognizes his offense in the Knicks:
"Uhhh, I a little bit, but Woody’s added a lot of stuff, without a doubt. I do like their four out and one in and how they pick and roll. I like that."
D'Antoni on Knicks having to integrate Stoudemire:
"It will be a little bit of an adjustment. They’ll play a little differently, but you can play half a game one way and half a game another way. Any time you bring an all-star caliber player back to your team you would think they can figure out a way to make it better, and I think they will."
D'Antoni on the Knicks' early success:
"To me, they have really smart players. Adding Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, two point guards, I thought that was great to be able to do that… Melo is Melo. He’s uncontainable so far. And Tyson Chandler, I don’t think he gets enough credit for his ability to control the game defensively, his ability to do the pick and roll, just his presence in the locker room, walkthrough, all that is invaluable. He’s won a title. He just seems to be an unsung hero. I think he’s one of the best in the game."