Knicks Left With Few Lineup Options

NEW YORK — Chris Bosh is expected to be back in New York for Game 3 of the Miami Heat’s first round series with the New York Knicks (7 p.m. ET, TNT) at Madison Square Garden.

That doesn’t help the Knicks, who are down three starters.

Jeremy Lin is recovering from knee surgery and might be able to play in Game 4 on Sunday at the earliest. Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in Game 1 and is likely out through the start of next season. And Amar’e Stoudemire cut his hand on a fire extinguisher door after Game 2, taking himself out of Game 3 and maybe longer.

The Knicks still have 12 healthy bodies, but only seven that have played more than 20 minutes in the series thus far. So a player or two is going to have a bigger role tonight and coach Mike Woodson is going to have to go with a brand new starting lineup.

The Knicks have used 430 different lineups this season, but 344 of the 430 have included Lin, Shumpert, Stoudemire or Renaldo Balkman (who was waived in February). And the most-used lineup made up of five healthy Knicks — Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Josh Harrelson and Tyson Chandler — has played just 34 minutes together.

Of course, Douglas (zero) and Harrelson (nine) have combined to play just nine minutes in the first two games against the Heat. So don’t expect to see any of the above lineup on Thursday.

Woodson said Wednesday that he will start Anthony at power forward, with Chandler at center, and Baron Davis and Fields in the backcourt. Thursday, at shootaround, Woodson said he’s still deciding between starting Steve Novak or J.R. Smith at small forward.

Davis, Fields, Anthony and Chandler have played 207 minutes together, and they’ve had good results. But 168 of those minutes have been played with Shumpert. And only 17 have come with either Novak or Smith…

Knicks’ efficiency with Davis, Fields, Anthony and Chandler on the floor

Fifth player GP MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Smith 6 11 84.7 101.4 91.6 +9.7 0
Novak 3 6 102.2 88.0 141.1 -53.1 -6
Total 17 207 94.2 102.6 94.5 +8.1 +30

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

We’re looking at really small sample sizes here, so you might as well throw those numbers out.

With Stoudemire and Lin out, we know the Knicks’ offense will be run through Anthony. So here’s a look at how the Knicks have played with Anthony and either Novak or Smith on the floor…

Knicks’ efficiency with Anthony and Smith or Novak

Combination MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Anthony & Smith 521 93.4 104.5 106.6 -2.1 -19
Anthony & Novak 306 94.2 102.5 108.3 -5.7 +1

The Anthony/Novak numbers are a little strange, because they’ve been on the floor together for a lot more offensive possessions (617 by the formula’s estimate) than defensive possessions (584). If you ignore the +/- and just look at the efficiency stats, it appears that the Knicks have been better with the Anthony/Smith combo.

Now, with the way Fields has played of late, we may see a lot of Anthony, Novak and Smith all on the floor together. That trio is a plus-1 in 210 minutes together, again with a big difference between the number of offensive and defensive possessions. They’ve been decent offensively, scoring 103.9 points per 100 possessions, but pretty awful defensively, allowing 109.5.


  1. Knixfan says:

    Like Sir Charles said, The Knicks are just not that good.

  2. Gmoneymiami says:

    Miami is no.1 oh yah there just like getting a m.o.a.b in mw3 boom boom boom dead carmelo Anthony has no d what so ever

  3. zhiggi says:

    I don’t think it really matters for NYK because they don’t have any threats whatsoever given amar’e absence for game 3 or potential game 4 as well, and iman is out for the post season not to mention he really did do a good job of defending wade in game 1. But now its so much easier for wade to play his game given his numbers in game 2 was better than game 1. And as for james you just have to double team him if there is anyway to contain him…

  4. BFoulds says:

    Knickerbockers are done for, in 4.

  5. The heats d is on the three point shooters the needs some post scoring to draw double teams so they can free up the shooters.

  6. No way says:

    Knicks r done for this year. Preparation for next season : trade stoudemire, put carmelo playing PF regularly and get another decent center next to chandler.

    • LOL says:

      NO WAY that wont happen… you know why? Because nobody in this league is stupid enough to acquire Stoudemire. Knicks still owes Stoudemire $64 Million under contract next season and there is NO WAY any team can afford to buy that huge amount.