Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Just No Rest for the Weary

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Just No Rest for the Weary

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- The numbers have ticked down, just three games and five days left in the regular season for the Knicks. But with a playoff berth clinched already, the approach to the finish line presents a race between the need to rest an exhausted squad and an equal need to develop a chemistry among the disparate pieces.

The anticipated return of Amar'e Stoudemire on Friday raised the nagging questions again about how the Knicks can fit him beside Carmelo Anthony. The good feelings that filled the 13 games he was absent, with Anthony emerging as the star the Knicks thought they were getting last year when they dealt for him, were wiped out in 48 hard-to-watch minutes as the Knicks lost to the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

The effort across the roster was miserable. The chemistry was non- existent. The Knicks, in the afterglow of clinching their second straight postseason berth a night earlier when they were idle and Milwaukee lost, went idle again on the court.

"I think guys are a little fatigued, a little tired right now," Anthony said. "Coming down the stretch run, a couple games to go, three games, I think guys are just a little tired, a little fatigued and trying to take it one game at a time."

Coach Mike Woodson deemed it unacceptable afterward, and it was. With the coach pushing the team to realize they could give nothing away, the Knicks simply came out lifeless.

The Knicks are nearly locked into the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference, needing to win every remaining game and Orlando lose its final three to move past the Magic into sixth. Behind them, the Sixers finish with a brutal stretch of road games, and the Knicks hold the tiebreaker over them.

Woodson insists he will not give his team the much-needed rest, putting chemistry and momentum ahead of a day off for his players. The Knicks have seen -- like most teams -- almost every key player sidelined at some stretch. …

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