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Ball Don't Lie

Knicks try a shootaround at home, and pull out the win

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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This fan was totally telling Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni that he needs to implement the practice of staging game-day shootarounds while the Knicks are at home more often.

OK, probably not. The fan was actually yelling at D'Antoni for not instructing his Knicks to foul Jason Richardson late in Monday's win over the Magic. The Knicks were up three and allowed Richardson a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, though New York rallied to pull out a needed overtime win.

And D'Antoni is all, "whatever dude," here:

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The shootaround debate is still ripe for discussion, though. New York held its first shootaround of the season while in New York on Monday (the team regularly has them while playing on the road), and D'Antoni chalks his decision regarding the lack of a semi-practice due to the commute several of his players have to endure.

Frank Isola has the biz:

"New York's a little bit different than other places," D'Antoni said Monday. "I just don't know if Amar'e being in a car for two hours in the morning of a game is the way to go. If we can get a shootaround the day before, if we can get our work done, then I don't think that's the way to go. If we can't get our work done then yeah, we'll do this."

It somewhat makes sense, even if (as Isola brings up later in his article) having shootarounds at Madison Square Garden as opposed to the team's practice facility in Westchester, N.Y., might be a better solution than cutting them out altogether. I understand the multi-purpose MSG often has events that fly beyond Knick games, but if there's a Knick game that night, why can't there be a Knick shootaround that morning?

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Still, the idea of a shootaround was introduced by former player and coach Bill Sharman so as to prevent some of his better players from staying out all hours, chasing a good time. The practice was soon adopted throughout pro hoops, which led to the league-wide series of naps that you usually see following shootaround in the afternoon before the game. It's working, I suppose, but none of these rules should be set in stone on either side.

Knicks sometimes-boss Donnie Walsh agrees, telling Isola that "when you're losing a lot you change something. We'll see if the change helps us." It did on Monday. Then again, there's a Knick fan somewhere that thinks the placement of his remote and what he had for lunch was also an integral part of the process, so you have to take such semi-superstitious with a grain of salt.

(Photos courtesy Amy K. Nelson.)

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