Harris DeckerThere’s one major thing that’s changed for the Knicks since March 2nd when the Knicks were blown out by the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks are finally changing their strategy and playing big. Last season and through most of this year, Mike Woodson ran out a very small lineup. What worked so well for the Knicks in 2012-13 has not worked this year.
Without Jason Kidd, the front court of Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. has been a huge disapointment. Still, Woodson trotted the same group out there day after day, playing the small ball that won them 54 games a season ago.
Against the Detroit Pistons, one day after the blowout, Woodson decided to change his strategy. He sat Shumpert and Prigioni, starting Felton and Smith at the guard spots and giving Amare Stoudemire his second start of the season. That shift, playing Anthony at the 3 and Tyson Chandler at the 5 allowed the Knicks to play a bigger, more bruising style of basketball, instead of relying on outside shooters who had been cold all year.
That change has ignited the Knicks. After losing to the Pistons, they have rattled off three straight wins and look to be having a lot more fun on the court. The fun was on display against the Cavaliers last night. Stoudemire turned in a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Of those rebounds, half of them came on offense, where he and Chandler bullied the young Cleveland front court.
Chandler is also playing better in the new setup. He’s getting more rebounds and being a lot more aggressive on offense. He has turned in three straight double-doubles. The play of the bigs is capped off by Anthony who is doing what he does. He’s scoring the ball and pulling down rebound after rebound. This setup is a recipe to win in New York and despite being outside the playoff picture at the moment, you can feel the momentum building for the Knicks.