Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Felton to Rescue

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Felton to Rescue

Article excerpt

The Knicks have proved that they can win games almost solely on the offensive talents of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, putting the ball in the hands of the creative duo and letting them score just enough to win.

They've also shown that, playing that way, just as often they can frustrate and infuriate their fan base while looking like far from the championship contender they profess to be.

The pick-and-roll offense that propelled the team to a red-hot start this season has faded as teams now cling to Tyson Chandler as he rolls toward the hoop, taking away the easy dunks. Left behind have been isolation plays for Anthony and Smith.

But with the return to the lineup of Raymond Felton on Saturday after he missed 12 games and the slow return to form of Amar'e Stoudemire after he rehabilitated from knee surgery, the Knicks have seen in stops and starts the potential to balance the attack once again.

The first night that all of the pieces were in place (Saturday in Philadelphia), the Knicks could chalk up the result to rust -- or at least hope that was the reason for the trouble. The Knicks scored just 80 points and posted an offensive efficiency rating of 87 -- a season low -- against the Sixers and their middle-of-the-pack defense. Felton made his return to action and struggled through a 2- for-8 shooting night, although he was far better than Smith (0-for- 8) and teammates Iman Shumpert and Jason Kidd, who also were scoreless.

But Sunday against the Hawks in a game that was hardly a defensive battle, the Knicks' offensive efficiency soared to a season-high 123.3. If the Knicks can't expect Felton and Stoudemire joining in to always produce that positive result, they also believe that getting back more weapons will avoid not only the horrid nights like the Sixers game but also avoid the struggles that preceded it. …

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