Suns/Knicks - Pre-Preview - Lineup Chess

PHOENIX - MARCH 26:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives the lane for a shot against the New York Knicks in an NBA Game played on March 26, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

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8 months ago: PHOENIX - MARCH 26: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives the lane for a shot against the New York Knicks in an NBA Game played on March 26, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

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So many storylines, so little time.

In this post, I'm contemplating the Knicks starting lineup, and how Nash will attack it.

For the Knicks, 4 starters are certain. All-Star Amare Stoudemire, MIP candidate PG Felton, MIP candidate SF Wilson Chandler and ROY candidate SG Landry Fields. Each plays heavy minutes on a short rotation (surprise!). The only wildcard in the 5th starter, since Danilo Gallinari is sitting out a couple weeks with an injury.

Will the Knicks start Ronny Turiaf at C, with Stoudemire at PF? That seems the most likely lineup for Mike D, with Turiaf the only other guy in the regular rotation to have started a game this season (7 starts) . 

It's possible D'Antoni will entice Gentry to go small again by starting someone like SF Shawn Williams or PG Toney Douglas for the first time, but not likely barring a top-secret pregame pact. Plus, D'Antoni never gives away starting spots for free to those who haven't earned it.

Knowing the most likely 5th Knicks starter is Turiaf, the Suns will have to go with a tall front line to match (Gortat/Lopez, Gortat/Frye, Frye/Lopez). Which two of those three starts the game is not likely to matter much. they are only on the floor until Gentry and/or D'Antoni go into the "I can get smaller than you" mode.

How will Nash attack the Knicks starting lineup?

The best way is to go right after Amare Stoudemire. He will either give up points to stay in the game, or pick up fouls. Nash will easily put Amare into defensive situations he can't handle - on the move on the perimeter or in roll situations.

The Knicks are actually better than the Suns this season on defense (aren't they all?), but can they contain Steve Nash? Not likely, unless they can totally take away the pick-n-roll. Gortat and Lopez will get lots of early opportunities to roll to the basket as long as Turiaf and Stoudemire are standing back there.

Can Gortat induce some Amare fouls on rolls to the basket? Marcin will get a lot more space to roll against the Knicks than he did against the Lakers, that's for sure.

I'm not counting on Lopez to provide much fight, in terms of inducing fouls.

Or will we see a big dose of Warrick? If anyone on this current Suns squad can induce fouls on rolls to the basket, its Hakim Warrick. So don't be surprised if Hakim gets 1-2 dunks to Amare's 5 or 6 in return.

Discuss your thoughts.

Can Amare contain the Suns? Or will the Suns, on offense, attack Amare mercilessly?


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