Size isn't everything? It is when the entire NBA knows there is a welcome mat in the Knicks' paint.
But despite their shortcomings along the undersized front line, where 6-9 David Lee starts alongside 6-8 Wilson Chandler, it doesn't sound like there is a lot of interest from Mike D'Antoni in filling the open roster spot with a big man from the D-League. But it's mainly because D'Antoni seems skeptical that a D-League prospect can play well enough to crack his rotation, which in Tuesday's loss to the Celtics was trimmed to seven players.
"That's just tough," D'Antoni said when asked about adding a some size from the NBA minor league pool. "For them to come in and make a difference, that's tough."
The Knicks were even smaller last night with the only 7-footer on the team, Jonathan Bender, left on the bench in favor of energetic guard/forward Bill Walker. The tallest Knick was 6-10 Danilo Gallinari, who spends most, if not all, of his time on the perimeter.
The Knicks had three blocked shots in the game and two of them came from guards Sergio Rodriguez and Tracy McGrady. David Lee had the other block, which was a rejection of a one-handed driving layup attempt by 5-9 Nate Robinson.
Though the interior defense was much better than in the first half against the Bucks, it is still quite obvious to anyone advance-scouting the Knicks that you can easily get to the rim at will. Ray Allen did it all night long. The Celtics scored 60 of their 110 points in the paint. The more telling statistic is that 30 of their 44 field goals made came from in the paint.
* * *
* - Sergio Rodriguez had a strong bounce-back game with his shooting (7-for-10) and had 18 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 37:36 as the starting point guard. D'Antoni said the key with Rodriguez, who loves to push the ball in transition, is that he has teammates running with him and filling lanes. This should be where Wilson Chandler thrives the most and perhaps even Gallinari can get a lot of looks as a trailer.