Knicks

Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Second half opens with big questions for Knicks

The Knicks are filled with big names and plenty of questions as the second half of the season is about to start. Two of the biggest involve two of their biggest players.

Tyson Chandler’s left wrist is still bothering him to the point where he said he may consider missing some games. That’s a last resort, but Chandler said he was going to see the doctor about it since it didn’t get better during the All-Star break.

“I was hoping that the time off and the rest would help me out a little bit,” Chandler said. “It’s still pretty sore.”

Another big question is about Amar’e Stoudemire and whether he can get his explosiveness back.

“Stay tuned,” Stoudemire said. “Stay tuned.”

Naturally, Stoudemire and coach Mike D’Antoni believe the Knicks big man will turn up his game the rest of the way. If he does, the Knicks could become one of the top teams in the East.

Everyone will see tomorrow when the Knicks return to action to face the Cavaliers if there's any change in Stoudemire .

Chandler is expected to play. So are rookies Iman Shumpert, who missed three games with a knee injury, and Josh Harrellson, who has been out six weeks following wrist surgery. Bill Walker remains out with an elbow injury.

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One major question is how will it all fit? That something D’Antoni worked on a lot during the break. When Walker returns, the Knicks could have 12 “rotation” players.

Not everyone will play, but D’Antoni doesn’t want to remove Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries from the rotation. It’s also going to be difficult to cut Shumpert’s minutes. He gives the Knicks a defensive presence on the perimeter that they need.

For all the praise Jeremy Lin has gotten and deservedly so, the Knicks don’t beat the Raptors or Timberwolves during their seven-game winning streak without Shumpert’s fourth-quarter defense. The Knicks missed him against the Nets and Heat last week.

It’s going to have to be some juggling act by D’Antoni because Baron Davis and J.R. Smith have to get minutes too.

“Both of them have a talent that we need if we want to advance in the playoffs,” D’Antoni said.

That’s some of the stuff D’Antoni and the Knicks have to work out this week. They had their first practice today and have three more this week to sort out things.
 

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