Pistons-Knicks Preview

Pistons-Knicks Preview

The New York Knicks continued their dominance of the Detroit Pistons on another continent last month.

They'll be in much more familiar surroundings Monday night.

Amare Stoudemire looks to build on his best performance of the season as the Knicks try to hand the Pistons their seventh straight loss at Madison Square Garden.

New York (30-15) beat Detroit 102-87 in London on Jan. 17 for its ninth win in the past 10 meetings. The Knicks are averaging 111.1 points during that stretch, and they're even better at 114.3 during their six-game home winning streak in the series.

They won the most recent matchup in Manhattan 121-100 on Nov. 25, while Stoudemire was recovering from left knee surgery. He'll be on the Garden court this time, and he's averaging 17.5 points on 77.8 percent shooting during New York's 4-0 start to this five-game homestand.

Stoudemire's latest effort was nearly historic, as he connected on all 10 of his shots and scored 21 points as the Knicks used a 38-4 run to bury Sacramento 120-81 on Saturday. The big man finished one basket shy of tying the team record for field goals without a miss, held by Johnny Newman and Bernard King.

Stoudemire is averaging 13.5 points while coming off the bench in 15 games since returning from surgery.

"Dominate," Stoudemire said. "Dominate is the main objective. That's the only thought that I think when I go in the game. It feels great to provide a certain amount of energy to get us over the hump."

He's done his part against the Pistons (18-30) as a member of the Knicks, putting up 23.0 points per game in seven meetings. He scored 17 in just 20 minutes in London, hitting 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Carmelo Anthony, second in the NBA with an average of 28.5 points, had 26 in that game. He should be fresh after New York only needed nine from him Saturday - matching a season low - in 27 minutes.

With five games still to play, the Knicks already have their highest win total before the All-Star game since they entered the break at 34-14 during the 1996-97 season.

"We felt like we had a great team, a team with a lot of possibilities in training camp and we have to stick by it," said center Tyson Chandler, who has 20 rebounds in each of the last two games. "It's a long journey for us but we have the potential to be special."

The Pistons have dropped five of seven while surrendering an average of 101.3 points, but they may have Jose Calderon available for the first time Monday.

The Spanish point guard has had his team debut delayed due to visa issues after being acquired from Toronto in a three-team trade last week. He averaged 11.1 points and 7.4 assists with the Raptors this season.

Detroit could have used him Sunday in a 98-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, especially early. The Pistons fell behind by as many as 18 in the third quarter.

"We weren't moving the ball, we were over-dribbling the basketball and we weren't guarding anyone," coach Lawrence Frank said.

Their second-half rally fell just short when Andre Drummond's last-second alley-oop attempt didn't go.

Greg Monroe finished with 20 points and is averaging 19.7 on 59.0 percent shooting in his last six games. Will Bynum, who had 22 points against the Knicks last month, added 18 and 10 assists versus the Lakers.

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Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report


Spurs trading Kawhi Leonard to Raptors in deal involving DeMar DeRozan, per report

The NBA offseason has been nothing short of entertaining.

Overnight ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal to acquire forward Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a trade package that includes guard DeMar DeRozan. 

Leaving San Antonio with Leonard is Danny Green, while the Raptors are dealing DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick, according to the report

As of early this morning, only DeRozan had been informed of the trade. This trade has reportedly been in talks for several weeks, almost falling through multiple times. 

According to sources of ESPN's Chris Haynes, Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto while DeRozan was told he would not be traded by members of Toronto's front office during summer league in Las Vegas. 

Leonard was open early into the offseaosn about wanting to be traded away from the Spurs and there were even talks of the Wizards being interested in him. 

DeRozan, a four-time All-Star, has three years $83 million left on his contract that includes an early-termination option for the 2020-21 season. .


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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 



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