The Knicks set their sights on sweeping a five-game homestand and getting to the All-Star break on a 9-2 run.
They already have done the former, and have a very real shot at the latter. The biggest reason why they have bounced back from a mediocre month to play red-hot basketball is the return of Raymond Felton.
The point guard’s value was underscored even more by his injury and absence than it was by his play and his presence. Forced to put too much on the shoulders of Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks struggled mightily when Felton missed a month with a broken pinkie, and have gone on a tear since his return.
“He’s our quarterback. That was the whole idea when we got him,” coach Mike Woodson said. “Raymond’s a big piece of the puzzle. He can pick and choose when he wants to score. He’s great at setting people up when he wants guys to get shots.
“Raymond presents a problem [for defenses]. He’s a different point guard than Kidd. He’s younger. He should be different. Jason’s damn near 40 years old. … Raymond is unique in he can get in there and make the midrange shot, get to the rack and it opens it up when he’s driving and able to kick to guys like [Steve] Novak.’’
The Knicks were just 6-6 in Felton’s absence but are 25-9 with him, including a five-game winning streak going into tonight’s game in Washington against the Wizards. Kidd, 39, gushed over not only Felton’s ability to penetrate and run the pick-and-roll he himself once excelled at, but do it all while in pain.
“Ray is playing as well as anybody,” Kidd said. “For him, he still has those fingers taped up. He’d love to have [the tape] off. But he’s finding open guys and knocking down shots.”
Felton has limited turnovers, fostered ball movement and pushed the ball off defensive rebounds so they’re not starting their offense near halfcourt or with the clock running down. In short, with Monday the one-year anniversary of Linsanity, Felton has demonstrated the value of savvy point-guard play.
Healthy guard Raymond gives Knicks Fel-safe option
New York Post | Feb 6