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Knicks better without Stoudemire? No, but different.

May 2, 2012, 12:35 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

Amare Stoudemire is out, having lost his fight with a fire extinguisher in Miami.

Which has a number of Knicks faithful saying it is a blessing in disguise — Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were not working well together. The Knicks played some of their best ball this season with a small-ball lineup where Anthony was the four, now they can go back to it. After two games in Miami where it didn’t look like there were a lot of ways for New York to get back in this series, this change brings some hope.

Stoudemire’s absence will give the Knicks a new look, but better is up for debate. And it still doesn’t seem like enough.

Anthony is clearly more comfortable at the four, where he is a mismatch. According to, Anthony scores nearly 10 more points per 100 possessions at the four and his effective field goal percentage (which includes a bump for made threes) jumps from 42.7 at the three to 51.8 at the four. Or look at it this way, at the three his PER is a slightly above average 16.5, at the four it is an all-world 28.9.

Also, with Anthony at the four it frees up room for more of Tyson Chandler’s rolls to the hoop off a high pick, which is an effective weapon. It allows them to space the floor with Steve Novak and J.R. Smith.

Mike Woodson may try to go small against the Heat, but that’s where the loss of Iman Shumpert really hurts. Shumpert made the Knicks small ball lineup work because he could be a perimeter defender that worked, something Novak and Smith cannot do nearly as well.

The other problem here is the opponent — the Heat are the best small ball lineup in the league. LeBron can still cover ‘Melo at the four spot. Smith and Novak cannot handle Wade. Also, the Knicks still run a lot of isolation sets and the Heat were the best isolation defensive team in the league this season, holding teams to 33.7 percent shooting on those plays.

The Knicks clearly need a change in this series to have a chance, and Stoudemire being out brings them back closer to a lineup where they had a lot of success. It gives some hope.

It just won’t be enough.

  1. rexismybff - May 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    “Also, with Anthony at the four it frees up room for more of Tyson Chandler’s rolls to the hoop off a high pick, which is an effective weapon. It allows them to space the floor with Steve Novak and J.R. Smith.”


    Shades of the 2011 Dallas Mavs. Now we get to see if the Heat have gotten over that abuse to their psyche – or if they are going to fold up into the fetal position again.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    JR can guard Wade, he just won’t get any benefit of calls from the refs. Don’t make Wade out to be Kobe. He just doesn’t have the footwork and spends more time flopping, throwing himself to the floor and spinning out of control than actually making a defender work hard.

    • rexismybff - May 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      I agree. The last time Wade was truly “unstoppable”, he had Shaq and Alonzo taking care of things in the middle.

    • juanandonly24 - May 2, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Even if Wade was an average shooting guard, JR Smith couldn’t guard him. He’s an awful defender, and you should know that.

  3. Mr. Wright 212 - May 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    The Knicks are better without Stoudemire. The numbers bear it out. They also cut more and move without the ball with greater alacrity with the lineup that will be featured. Without Shump, it’s obviously not going to be enough to defeat Miami, barring some historical feats by several guys outside of Anthony, but all the talk about Miami’s defense is overblown. They can pull, grab and butcher in the lane without concern for fouls. they are super quick and play the passing lanes better than anyone other than Denver, but they are not invincible. If Davis and Lin were healthy, this would be more of a series after Sunday, whereas it may be OVER after Sunday.

    • george3246 - May 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      You’re right on, Mr. Wright. He was soft in Phoenix and hasn’t improved with age. You could say that he has permanent stomach problems – no guts! Stoudemire seems to wander away from rebound position so that he doesn’t have to bother.

      As a Spurs fan, it was always good to have the “no defense” Suns with Amare and Steve on tap. Where as the Suns could always count on full team effort from Nash, Stoudemire was all about his numbers. Hopefully for him, his mental maturity will arrive before his body gives out. Maybe he could watch Spurs film to help him lose his selfish ways.

  4. buffalowned - May 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Knicks better without melo Lin chandler and shumpert? No but different

  5. baron30 - May 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    only Linsantiy can save them now

  6. canehouse - May 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    No Shumpert is a big variable to this looming equation. Miami’s defense is just too stout for this next incarnation of the knicks. Now the knicks could get hot from outside and steal this game… but with as hard as the knicks will have to work on both ends of the court and the lack of total team depth… i see the knicks withering down the stretch in this game from attrition.

  7. turnmymicup - May 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Miami is in position to finish these guys. Funny how Stoudemire gets injured and everyone thinks this will help the team. So I guess Shumpert going down doesnt affect that small ball lineup that was working so well. Gimmie a break. Melo will have to drop 50 for them to win game 3. Not impossible but stopping lebron from dropping 50 of his owm will be the problem.

  8. franchiseplaya - May 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I got angry last night and punched a pillow. woke up this morning and my hand feels fine.

  9. david8726 - May 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    The hard evidence says that the Knicks ARE a better team with just Carmelo and no Amare.

    From –

    “Here’s the scoreboard with Stoudemire on the floor this season:

    Knicks 3,052, Opponents 3,099 — or losing on average by 1.3 points every 48 minutes.

    With Stoudemire on the bench?

    Knicks 3,406, Opponents 3,153 — or winning on average by 7.4 points every 48 minutes. ”

    That’s an incredible swing. Amare and Carmelo just don’t seem to compliment each other at all.

  10. canehouse - May 2, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    @ david8726… do those numbers include or exclude Shumpert?? If included… throw those numbers out with yesterdays fish wrap. It matters!

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