Posts Tagged ‘Andy Rautins’

Brazil Upsets Hosts Argentina

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Wednesday’s action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata saw host Argentina get upset and Venezuela get one step closer to play for an Olympic berth next summer. But there’s still plenty on the line on Thursday, when pool play concludes with four more games.

Trending up: Brazil (6-1)
Trending down: Argentina (6-1)

Canada 70, Uruguay 68 (Box Score)

Canada kept itself alive for fifth place with a 7-0 run to end the game, capped by Andy Rautins‘ game-winning 3-pointer with 58 seconds left. Uruguay had plenty of chances to tie or take the lead after that, but they missed their final eight shots.

Rautins hit four of his six treys overall, but the star of the game for Canada was Levon Kendall, who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. That helped make up for the absences of Joel Anthony (ankle) and Aaron Doornekamp (concussion).

Despite the absence of Anthony, the Canadian defense was still strong … or maybe the Uruguayan offense was just awful. Either way, Uruguay shot just 32 percent from the field, with Esteban Batista connecting on just one of his seven shots.

To finish fifth, Canada needs to beat Panama on Thursday (which shouldn’t be a problem) and have Uruguay beat Venezuela.

Venezuela 110, Panama 74 (Box Score)

Venezuela remains in position to finish fifth and grab a spot in the Olympic qualifying tournament thanks to an easy victory over Panama, who clinched eighth place with the loss.

The Venezuelan offense has been ridiculously good from the start. They lead the FIBA Americas tournament in offensive efficiency, scoring 119 points per 100 possessions. But their defense has allowed nearly as many. On Thursday though, they face the Uruguayan offense, which has been worse than Panama’s.

The fifth-place scenarios for the final day of pool play are simple, assuming that Canada beats Panama (a pretty safe assumption) in the 10:30 a.m. ET game. If Venezuela beats Uruguay (at 1 p.m. ET), they finish fifth (holding the head-to-head tie-breaker over Canada) and play in the Olympic qualifying tournament next July. If Uruguay beats Venezuela, then Canada finishes fifth.

Brazil 73, Argentina 71 (Box Score)

Exactly one year after they gave us a thriller at the World Championship, these teams gave us more quality basketball, just with smaller stakes and a little less offense. That elimination game was won by Argentina, sending Brazil home from Istanbul. This game of little consequence was won by Brazil, despite an 0-for-7 performance from Tiago Splitter.

With Splitter in foul trouble, Rafael Hettsheimer came to the rescue, scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Marcelo Huertas played all but one minute of the game and added 17 points.

Argentina cooled off considerably after shooting 18-for-28 from 3-point range against Venezuela. After combining to shoot 12-for-15 from downtown on Wednesday, Manu Ginobili and Pablo Prigioni shot 3-for-11 from beyond the arc on Thursday. Luis Scola led the hosts with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he turned the ball over six times.

The bad news for Argentina came before either team scored a basket. For some reason, Andres Nocioni jumped center for the hosts, and when he came down from the jump, he landed on Splitter’s foot, turning his right ankle. Nocioni left the game and probably won’t play Thursday against the Dominican Republic. His status for Saturday’s semifinal is unknown.

Puerto Rico 79, Dominican Republic 62 (Box Score)

Despite a quiet game from Carlos Arroyo, Puerto Rico kept pace with Argentina and Brazil. It was a five-point game late in the third quarter when Puerto Rico put it away with a 14-0 run spanning the third and fourth.

J.J. Barea picked up some of Arroyo’s slack with his best game of the tournament, scoring 14 points and dishing out seven assists. Alex Galindo continued to shoot well, hitting five of his 11 threes and leading Puerto Rico with 16 points.

Francisco Garcia was pretty awful for the Dominican Republic, shooting 1-for-10 from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point range.

So here are your scenarios for Thursday, when Argentina will face the Dominican Republic and Brazil will face Puerto Rico…

  • If Argentina and Brazil win, then Brazil (1st) will face the Dominican Republic (4th) and Argentina (2nd) will face Puerto Rico (3rd) in Saturday’s semifinals.
  • If Argentina and Puerto Rico win, then Argentina (1st) will face the Dominican Republic (4th) and Puerto Rico (2nd) will face Brazil (3rd).
  • If the Dominican Republic and Brazil win, then Brazil finishes first and second, third and fourth place will come down to point differential in games played between Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
  • If the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico win, then Puerto Rico (1st) will face Argentina (4th) and the Dominican Republic (2nd) will face Brazil (3rd).

Reminder: The two winners of the two semifinals qualify for the Olympics. The two losers will join the fifth-place team (Venezuela or Canada) at the 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament in early July. The top three finishers in that tournament will qualify for the Olympics.

Top Four Clinch Semifinal Spots At FIBA Americas

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – With two more days of pool play left, we already know the four teams that will be playing for two berths in next year’s Olympics. Thanks to wins on Tuesday, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have all clinched spots in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Those two games will take place on Saturday, with the two winners earning trips to the Olympics and the two losers being relegated to the Olympic qualifying tournament in early July. But we still don’t know who will be playing whom (the other three teams would surely like to avoid Argentina), and we still don’t know who will finish fifth and earn the final spot in that Olympic qualifying tournament.

Trending up: Venezuela (2-4)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (5-1)

Puerto Rico 79, Canada 74 (Boxscore)

Canada came oh so close to putting themselves in position to finish fifth, coming back from a 17-point deficit to tie the game with two minutes left. But they couldn’t get over the hump and now will surely need some help to qualify for meaningful basketball next summer. Canada needs to beat both Uruguay (Wednesday) and Panama (Thursday) and hope that Uruguay can beat Venezuela (Thursday).

Puerto Rico lost control of this game with both Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Barea on the bench early in the fourth quarter. But Arroyo saved them with two huge pull-up jumpers in the final two minutes.

  • Arroyo is clearly the better FIBA player of Puerto Rico’s two NBA guards. He finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting on Tuesday. Barea did add five rebounds, six assists and four steals to his 11 points, but he simply hasn’t found a groove offensively.
  • Joel Anthony, nursing a bad ankle, did not start for Canada. So for the second straight game, Daniel Santiago provided a size advantage for Puerto Rico. But Santiago was lost late in the first quarter with his own injury. Santiago is out for the rest of the tournament with a plantar fasciitis tear in his right foot.
  • Anthony did play six minutes in the second quarter, but was not moving well and didn’t play at all in the second half.
  • Andy Rautins had his best game of the tournament, leading Canada with 18 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
  • Puerto Rico is missing wings Larry Ayuso and A.D. Vassallo, but they may have found a suitable replacement in Alex Galindo, who has been their secondary scorer in each of the last two games. Against Venezuela and Canada, Galindo has totaled 31 points and hit six of his 10 attempts from 3-point range.

Dominican Republic 84, Uruguay 76 (Box Score)

The Dominican Republic had an up-and-down first round, but opened the second round with a strong win over Panama on Monday. A day later, they looked to be down again, or at least slow to recover from the gruesome injury Edgar Sosa suffered at the end of the Panama game.

Uruguay led this one by 11 midway through the second quarter, but the Dominican took a two-point lead into halftime thanks to Elpidio Fortuna‘s buzzer-beating three off a full-court baseball pass from Al Horford. The teams traded runs and it was still a one-possession game early in the fourth. But the Dominican got big shots from Luis Flores and Sosa’s replacement Ronald Ramon down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

  • Horford filled the box score with 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
  • Charlie Villanueva had his second straight solid game, scoring 11 points on 4-for-8 from the field.
  • Martin Osimani was the star for Uruguay, scoring 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting.
  • Uruguay is still alive for a chance to qualify for the Olympics. If they win their last two games against Canada and Venezuela, they’ll finish fifth and play in next summer’s 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament.

Argentina 111, Venezuela 93 (Box Score)

This was a matchup of the best offensive team in the tournament thus far (Venezuela) vs. the best defensive team (Argentina). The defensive team won, but as you can see from the score, it was very much an offensive game.

Venezuela hung tight and was down just five early in the fourth quarter, but Argentina relentlessly picked apart their zone and pulled away with their long-range shooting. The hosts were a ridiculous 18-for-28 from 3-point range for the game, and that included an 0-for-4 performance from Carlos Delfino.

Check out these numbers… Manu Ginobili: 6-for-8 from downtown. Pablo Prigioni: 6-for-7. Andres Nocioni: 4-for-5. And with Luis Scola doing his typical work (17 points on 7-for-11 from the field) inside, it didn’t matter how good the Venezuelan offense was.

Venezuela needs to take care of business against Panama on Wednesday and then they should be playing for fifth place against Uruguay on Thursday.

Brazil 90, Panama 65 (Box Score)

Brazil picked up its third straight easy victory, again allowing its stars to stay fresh. It gets tough from here on out though, as they’ll face Argentina on Wednesday, Puerto Rico on Thursday, and then play the semifinals on Saturday.

The Argentina game (5 p.m. ET) is a rematch of a terrific round-of-16 matchup at last year’s World Championship (arguably the best game of the tournament) and should certainly be entertaining. Of course, Brazil has fewer NBA players on their squad this year (no Leandro Barbosa or Anderson Varejao) and Argentina has more (Ginobili and Nocioni were not in Turkey last year).

Venezuela Picks Up Big Win As First Round Wraps Up

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – On the final day of first round action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina saw just one matchup of any interest. But it was a very important game regarding the standings and Olympic qualifying.

After a day off, the eight teams remaining will proceed with the second round on Monday. There’s still a lot to be determined, but a clear hierarchy has begun to develop.

Trending up: Venezuela (2-2)
Trending down: Canada (2-2)
Going home: Cuba (0-4), Paraguay (0-4)

Venezuela 103, Canada 98 (OT) (Boxscore)

Other than the two semifinal games next Saturday (which will determine which two teams qualify for the Olympics), this was probably the most important game of the tournament. Here’s why…

  • The teams that finish third, fourth and fifth in the FIBA Americas tournament qualify for next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, where the top three teams (of 12) will qualify for the Olympics. A berth in that tournament would be a big step forward for either Canadian or Venezuelan basketball.
  • Now that the first round is over, the top four teams from each group will each play the top four teams from the other group in the second round. So Canada and Venezuela will each play two teams they should beat (Uruguay and Panama) and two teams they shouldn’t (Argentina and Puerto Rico).
  • After the second round, only the top four teams qualify for elimination-round play. Those four teams should be Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Fifth place (and that final spot in next year’s qualifier) will be determined only by the round-robin results.
  • A Canada win would have put them two games ahead of Venezuela in the standings and virtually ensured them of that fifth spot. But a Venezuela win ties them with Canada in the standings and gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker, putting them in the driver’s seat for fifth.

Appropriately, this was the most exciting game of the tournament. There was an ugly stretch in the second quarter and both teams botched their final possession of regulation, but it was otherwise entertaining.

In the end, it was probably Canada’s mistakes that made the difference down the stretch. They committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter and another two in overtime. They were down by just one when Greivis Vasquez fouled out with less than three minutes to go, but Venezuela scored on each of its next five possessions to go up six and pick up the win.

  • Vasquez had another huge game, scoring 29 points on 8-for-18 from the field. At one point in the second quarter, he had 15 of his team’s 30 points and had a hand in another seven via three assists.
  • But Vasquez got a lot more help in this game than he did in Venezuela’s previous three. David Cubillan dished out 10 assists and hit a huge three in overtime. And Gregory Echeniquerecorded a double-double that included a couple of put-back dunks down the stretch.
  • But the player of the game for Venezuela had to be Hector Romero, who scored 28 points on 7-of-9 from the field and 11-of-14 from the line. Romero finished great around the basket all night and even drained a three early in overtime. His biggest play was an interception of an Andy Rautins cross-court pass that he took the other way for a dunk that gave Venezuela a six-point lead with two minutes to go.
  • That costly turnover was just part of Rautins’ rough afternoon. He shot just 3-for-9 from the field and missed three crucial 3-pointers down the stretch.
  • Carl English carried Canada in the first quarter, but Jermaine Anderson took over after that. Anderson scored more points on Saturday (28) than he did in Canada’s previous three games combined (23).
  • Joel Anthony had a couple of Canada’s late turnovers, but his defense around the rim was critical in getting them to overtime. Anthony finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Uruguay 79, Paraguay 66 (Boxscore)

Uruguay may be the team that can take that fifth place standing away from Venezuela. And they’ll get a chance in the next round after finishing third in Group B. Esteban Batista recorded his third straight double-double in this game that was never really close after Uruguay took an 11-point lead early in the third quarter.

Paraguay finished 0-4 and can look back at Guillermo Araujo‘s missed free throws at the end of Thursday’s loss to Panama as the reason they’re going home.

Brazil 93, Cuba 83 (Boxscore)

The final score of this was closer than it should have been, but the result was never in doubt. Brazil led by 15 at the half and by 22 at the end of the third quarter, allowing both Tiago Splitter (four points in 10 minutes) and Marcelo Huertas (six assists in 15 minutes) to get plenty of rest.

Like Paraguay, Cuba goes home without a win. They lost their four games by an average of 24.8 points.

Argentina 90, Panama 71 (Boxscore)

This was another game that was never in doubt and another display of Argentina’s terrific teamwork. The hosts didn’t shoot particularly well, but had five guys in double figures and assisted on 24 of their 34 field goals. Luis Scola led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds and Pablo Prigioni made Panama pay for leaving him alone on the perimeter, connecting on five of his seven attempts from 3-point range.

Panama advances to the second round thanks to that narrow escape over Paraguay on Thursday, but looks destined to finish eighth in the standings.

Argentina Wins Battle Of Unbeatens

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 4 of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina brought the two biggest matchups of the tournament thus far. Neither game disappointed, though a couple of guards (Marcelo Huertas and J.J. Barea) did.

Trending up: Dominican Republic (3-1)
Trending down: Brazil (2-1)

Canada 84, Cuba 62 (Boxscore)

Canada went back to shooting poorly (4-for-15) from 3-point range, but that didn’t matter, because Cuba was much worse (1-for-14). After the teams each scored a bucket in the first two minutes, Canada went on a 15-0 run and never looked back, earning their second straight win.

After hitting some big threes against the Dominican Republic just 17 hours earlier, Andy Rautins was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, but he got to the line eight times in 21 minutes.

If Canada beats Venezuela on Saturday, they’d finish in a three-way tie for first with Brazil and the Dominican Republic. But thanks to the tie-breaker (see below), the best they can do is finish third in Group A (unless Cuba pulls off a miracle upset of Brazil).

Uruguay 77, Panama 61 (Boxscore)

Uruguay established itself as the third best team in Group B with a comfortable victory. The game was close until early in the third quarter, when Uruguay took control with a 19-6 run. Esteban Batista was the star of the game, finishing with 24 points (on 9-for-13 shooting) and 10 rebounds.

Dominican Republic 79, Brazil 74 (Boxscore)

After the way the Dominican Republic played against Canada just 24 hours earlier, this was maybe the most surprising result of the tournament. Brazil led by seven late in the third quarter, but a pair of Francisco Garcia threes highlighted an 11-2 Dominican run that gave them the lead heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was tight throughout, but the Dominican defense was at its best and never gave up the lead. Garcia sealed the game when he stripped Tiago Splitter in the post in the final minute.

  • This was easily Garcia’s best game of the tournament. He hit four of his five attempts from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points.
  • This was easily Marcelo Huertasworst game of the tournament. He shot 7-for-11 from the field, but was sloppy with his passing, committing 10 turnovers.
  • One of those turnovers was a clean strip by Dominican big man Jack Michael Martinez, who switched out on Huertas on the perimeter at the end of the second quarter. Martinez stole the ball and found Al Horford under the basket on the other end to give D.R. a four-point lead going into the half.
  • Brazil was an efficient 25-for-41 from inside the arc, but made just five of their 22 shots from 3-point range and just nine of their 16 free throws.
  • Despite the loss, Brazil is still in position to win Group A. If both Canada (2-1) and Brazil (2-1) win on Saturday and there’s a three-way tie with the Dominican Republic (3-1), the tiebreaker is determined by the ratio of points to opponents’ point in the head-to-head games between the three teams. Brazil’s ratio was 143/136 (1.05), the Dominican’s was 151/147 (1.03), and Canada’s was 130/141 (0.92).

Argentina 81, Puerto Rico 74 (Boxscore)

This was the game to determine first place in Group B, and it lived up to the billing. It was tight until early in the third quarter when Argentina was finally able to corral Carlos Arroyo and used a blistering 16-0 run to turn a five-point deficit into an 11-point lead.

Arroyo didn’t get nearly enough help from his teammates. Meanwhile, Argentina played like a cohesive unit, getting big contributions from Manu Ginobili (23 points), Luis Scola (16 points, seven boards and two blocks) and Carlos Delfino (14 points and three steals).

  • Arroyo had a pretty amazing minute of basketball late in the first half, when he was wholly responsible for a 7-0 run that gave Puerto Rico a 33-27 lead. It started with a pretty pick-and-roll feed to Daniel Santiago. Then, after Ginobili missed a shot, Arroyo hit Alex Galindo with a nifty touch pass on the break. And on the possession after that, he stepped into a three on another high pick-and-roll. Less than two minutes later, he hit Santiago with another pretty dish for a three-point play.
  • Arroyo is about 10 times more entertaining (and aggressive) when he plays for Puerto Rico than when he plays in the NBA.
  • J.J. Barea is far less so. For the second straight game, Barea struggled from the field, shooting 3-for-10 after a 1-for-8 game against Uruguay on Thursday. And when Argentina double-teamed Arroyo in the second half, Barea wasn’t able to pick up the slack.
  • Delfino was just 1-for-4 from 3-point range, but had two incredible and-ones under the basket in the third quarter.
  • After scoring 10 points in the first quarter in each of Argentina’s first two games, Scola had just 10 through the first three quarters on Friday. But he hit three straight shots midway through the fourth to help put the game away.
  • After sitting out the first two games, Fabricio Oberto got his first action of the tournament. He scored two points in 12 minutes.

Canada Pulls Off An Upset

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 3 of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata brought us our first upset of the tournament. It also brought us some upset Paraguayans.

Trending up: Canada (1-1)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (2-1)

Panama 89, Paraguay 86 (Boxscore)

There are 10 teams in this tournament, and after four first-round games, eight of them (four from each group) will reach the second round. There are four solid teams in Group A and we don’t have any problems with Canada or Venezuela playing three more games next week.

But after Argentina and Puerto Rico, there’s a big drop-off in Group B. Of the Panama-Paraguay-Uruguay group, two of those teams will advance to the second round, so this matchup meant a lot to both teams.

Panama was in control, up 70-55, after the third quarter. But Paraguay came all the way back and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with 19 seconds left. Enrique Martinez found Guillermo Araujo under the basket with five seconds left and Araujo was hammered hard by Ruben Garces.

The Paraguayans were looking for an unsportsmanlike foul call (which would have resulted in two shots and the ball back), but they only got a standard foul. Still, Araujo had the opportunity to send the game to overtime.

But he missed both freebies and Panama escaped with the win.

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Argentina, P.R. Continue To Dominate

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 2 of action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, featured a near-upset, a couple of blowouts, and a critical game between two teams who have a shot at the top five (and a spot in the Olympics or the Olympic qualifying tournament next summer).

Trending up: Venezuela (0-2)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (2-0)

Dominican Republic 92, Venezuela 89 (Box Score)

For the second straight day, Venezuela looked poised to pull off an upset. This time, they were up by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter and by 11 heading into the fourth. But the Dominican Republic turned up the defensive intensity in the final 10 minutes, swarmed Greivis Vasquez whenever he came off a pick, and pulled out a three-point victory.

More notes from Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela:

  • For most of the game, the Venezuela zone kept Edgar Sosa out of the paint and Al Horford out of the post. But Horford was able to find opportunities near the rim by moving without the ball. He finished with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting, adding 10 rebounds.
  • Jack Michael Martinez, the Dominican’s starting center and their version of Ben Wallace, added 18 points and 14 rebounds. A lot of those points followed his seven offensive boards.
  • The Venezuela offense was a little more balanced than it was on Tuesday, but Vasquez still filled the box score. He came one assist short of a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine dimes.
  • Once again, both Francisco Garcia and Charlie Villanueva were largely disappointing. Garcia was mostly invisible and Villanueva looked sluggish. There’s talk of Villanueva being under the weather, but the only good thing about him through these first two games has been the way the FIBA announcer pronounces his name.
  • With the game going down to the wire, neither Garcia nor Villanueva were on the floor for the Dominican Republic.
  • Luis Flores was on the floor, and he hit two big jumpers in the closing minutes.
  • After trailing by six with 45 seconds left, Venezuela had a chance to tie with a three on their final possession. But the play that ex-Warriors and Kings coach Eric Musselman drew up in the timeout was not executed on the floor and Vasquez drove baseline and had no one to pass it to.
  • By playing well against both Brazil and the Dominican Republic, Venezuela has been a pleasant surprise in this tournament. They might have a shot at finishing fifth, but they need to start turning those fourth-quarter leads into Ws. They’ve got Cuba on Thursday and then a huge game against Canada on Saturday.
  • The Dominicans looked strong against Cuba on Tuesday, but took a step backward on Day 2.

Puerto Rico 101, Paraguay 55 (Box Score)

Not much to see here. Neither Carlos Arroyo nor J.J. Barea needed to play more than 20 minutes in this blowout. Through two games, Puerto Rico has an effective field goal percentage of 0.582. They’ve got another mismatch (Uruguay) on Thursday before facing Argentina on Friday night.

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Andy & Landry Rock Times Square

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One of the perks of the Knicks locking down their playoff berth early is that we don’t have to wonder what will become of The Andy & Landry Show.

(With apologies to Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups and the rest of the crew but these kids are hilarious.)

Knicks rookies Andy Rautins and Landry Fields (we discussed the show, and other things, with him on Episode 51 of the Hang Time Podcast) have been cracking us up here at the hideout lately with their adventures. In their latest episode, the fellas invade Times Square to hang out with the Naked Cowboy, among others.

Watch here, if you dare!

They’ve done a little speed dating, too … pure comedy.

You’ve got to love rookies!

Rookies Gelling In New York


***
Posted by Drew Packham

LAS VEGAS — They may have been taken in the second round, but the Knicks’ two Draft day additions are gelling, hoping to become immediate contributors in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

In their debuts Sunday in Las Vegas, Andy Rautins and Landry Fields — taken 38th and 39th respectively — looked comfortable and expressed confidence in grasping the nuances of the NBA game.
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Rautins, a guard out of Syracuse, finished with 11 points, going 3-for-8 on 3-pointers, while Fields had 13 points and five rebounds. The pair combined for five steals and seemed relieved afterwards to have their debuts out of the way.

“I just wanted to get out there and have a solid first game,” Fields said. “I didn’t try to do too much, but it’s good to have one under my belt.”

The 6-foot-7 Fields was 6-for-7 from the field and sees himself evolving into a 2 or 3 with the Knicks.

“I’m working on having a quicker release on my shot, because that’s where I’m going to find most of my shots in this system,” said Fields, who was the Pac-10′s leading scorer last year with a 22-point average. “I’ve been working on some corner things, so I need to get it off quicker.”

Rautins says defense is his priority and the growing pains of being a rookie are all relative.

“I don’t think there’s any pain we’re going through,” Rautins said. “It’s a joy to play basketball every day and I’ve become close to Landry.”

Fields, for his part, is also glad to have a rookie cohort.

“Off the court and on the court, we’re close already so the chemistry’s been great and I hope it continues like that,” Fields said. “You’ve got to stick together and in this business you’ve got to find someone, so I’m glad I’ve found him so far.”