Knicks Edge Celtics Despite Struggles With 3-Pointers and Defense

and Paul Pierce traded baskets. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett excited the near-sellout crowd at the XL Center with dunks. And Raymond Felton and Rajon Rondo attempted to dribble past each other to get into the lane. Plus, the fans were awarded five free minutes of basketball in the Knicks’ 98-95 overtime win.

The Knicks competed well without Amar’e Stoudemire (left knee bruise), J. R. Smith (sore left ankle) and Marcus Camby (strained left calf). Carmelo Anthony (23 points) was his usual self. Chandler (16 points) finished a number of alley-oop dunks off pick-and-rolls.

Jason Kidd gave the Knicks the lead in the final minute of overtime with a long jumper. Chris Copeland secured the victory by grabbing a rebound in traffic, making two free throws with 11.3 seconds left and blocking Jamar Smith’s last-second 3-pointer, which could have sent the game into double overtime.

The Knicks were impressive in some areas and struggled in others. They rebounded well, something they didn’t do in their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards.

“It was a lot better,” Coach Mike Woodson said.

Still, their defense and shooting, at times, were not at the level they need to be if the Knicks are going to compete against elite teams, like the Celtics. Boston pounded the ball in the paint, exposing the Knicks’ interior defense without Stoudemire.

On offense, the Knicks continued to demonstrate decent ball movement. But on a number of possessions they settled for jump shots in shooting 36.7 percent. They finished the game 3 of 29 from behind the 3-point arc. On the other end of the floor, the Celtics focused on driving to the basket.

“Early on were we playing back and forth, and that happens sometimes,” Woodson said of his team’s defense. “I thought in the third and fourth quarter we played better.”

After the starters left the game, Woodson pushed his reserves to win. In the final moments, the Knicks’ bench applauded the efforts of Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kidd.

“They were playing so well; we were all excited over there,” Chandler said of his teammates. “They showed a lot of heart and it was only a preseason game.”

Throughout this season, the Knicks will compare themselves to the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last year. Even if it was a preseason win, the Knicks were pleased with the way they performed against a Celtics team they will see many times in the regular season.

“They’ve owned the Atlantic Division,” Kidd said. “This is a good preseason game to see where we’re at against one of the best teams in the league.”

REBOUNDS

James White, who missed Thursday’s game with a sore right hamstring, returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard. He finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. … Mike Woodson said J. R. Smith should be back to full strength next week. … AMAR’E Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby did not travel with the team. Woodson said he was hoping that Wallace would be able to scrimmage next week as he continued to work on his conditioning. “He’s been going at it hard and he’s starting to look good,” Woodson said. “We’ll evaluate him next week and see where he is.”

Knicks Edge Celtics Despite Struggles With 3-pointers and Defense

and Paul Pierce traded baskets. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett excited the near-sellout crowd at the XL Center with dunks. And Raymond Felton and Rajon Rondo attempted to dribble past each other to get into the lane. Plus, the fans were awarded five free minutes of basketball in the Knicks’ 98-95 overtime win.

The Knicks competed well without Amar’e Stoudemire (left knee bruise), J. R. Smith (sore left ankle) and Marcus Camby (strained left calf). Carmelo Anthony (23 points) was his usual self. Chandler (16 points) finished a number of alley-oop dunks off pick-and-rolls.

Jason Kidd gave the Knicks the lead in the final minute of overtime with a long jumper. Chris Copeland secured the victory by grabbing a rebound in traffic, making two free throws with 11.3 seconds left and blocking Jamar Smith’s last-second 3-pointer, which could have sent the game into double overtime.

The Knicks were impressive in some areas and struggled in others. They rebounded well, something they didn’t do in their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards.

“It was a lot better,” Coach Mike Woodson said.

Still, their defense and shooting, at times, were not at the level they need to be if the Knicks are going to compete against elite teams, like the Celtics. Boston pounded the ball in the paint, exposing the Knicks’ interior defense without Stoudemire.

On offense, the Knicks continued to demonstrate decent ball movement. But on a number of possessions they settled for jump shots in shooting 36.7 percent. They finished the game 3 of 29 from behind the 3-point arc. On the other end of the floor, the Celtics focused on driving to the basket.

“Early on were we playing back and forth, and that happens sometimes,” Woodson said of his team’s defense. “I thought in the third and fourth quarter we played better.”

After the starters left the game, Woodson pushed his reserves to win. In the final moments, the Knicks’ bench applauded the efforts of Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kidd.

“They were playing so well; we were all excited over there,” Chandler said of his teammates. “They showed a lot of heart and it was only a preseason game.”

Throughout this season, the Knicks will compare themselves to the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last year. Even if it was a preseason win, the Knicks were pleased with the way they performed against a Celtics team they will see many times in the regular season.

“They’ve owned the Atlantic Division,” Kidd said. “This is a good preseason game to see where we’re at against one of the best teams in the league.”

REBOUNDS

James White, who missed Thursday’s game with a sore right hamstring, returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard. He finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. … Mike Woodson said J. R. Smith should be back to full strength next week. … AMAR’E Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby did not travel with the team. Woodson said he was hoping that Wallace would be able to scrimmage next week as he continued to work on his conditioning. “He’s been going at it hard and he’s starting to look good,” Woodson said. “We’ll evaluate him next week and see where he is.”

With Cameras Rolling, Knicks Keep the Ball Moving

Woodson’s focus was on ball movement. He pointed to different areas on the floor while his players watched and listened. He instructed them on how to come off screens at the top of the paint and how to feed the ball into the post from a number of different spots on the court. Then the Knicks went in motion, passing the ball several times before putting up a shot.

“That’s going to be the key to our success,” Woodson said. “We have to be able to move the basketball. I’m anxious to see if they pick it up and carry it into a game. Good teams are not going to allow you to play on one side of the floor.”

The Knicks were criticized last season for allowing the ball to stop in the halfcourt. Woodson, who ran a number of isolation sets for Carmelo Anthony and others, plans to have the team run more pick-and-rolls and get the ball inside.

Anthony seemed more interested in passing rather than shooting Tuesday. While he took some shots in transition, he made sure to get the ball into Amar’e Stoudemire’s hands in the post. Stoudemire worked to improve his scoring in the low post this summer by training with the Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.

“He’s getting better at that each day,” Anthony said of Stoudemire. “We’re trying our best right now to get the ball to him down there so he can get comfortable. That’s the most important thing, because if you’re not comfortable down there, it’s not going to work.”

Stoudemire showed patience and strength in the post. He used spin moves to his left and his right to score over Chris Copeland and Henry Sims. He also scored with hook shots from the middle of the paint.

“Amar’e is a player that should be able to post the ball some,” Woodson said. “I’m just trying to mix it up a little for him so that he’s not just picking and popping out for a shot all the time.”

Woodson said he had not decided who would start at shooting guard. Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer, who both are rehabilitating from knee surgery, were doing individual workouts Tuesday. James White, who had been practicing with the starting unit, was on the sideline with a sore right hamstring that could keep him out of Thursday’s preseason opener at Washington.

Woodson kept J. R. Smith in his usual role of playing with the second team. Last week, Smith said he wanted to be a starter and that he entered camp hoping to accomplish that goal.

“Everybody can’t start,” Woodson said. “I have to have some offense coming off the bench, and I told J. R. he could be the best player coming off the bench in this league.”

REBOUNDS

Chris Smith missed his third straight practice with a sore left knee. … Marcus Camby did not practice because of a strained left calf. … Rasheed Wallace participated in the Knicks’ early walk-through, but continued to work on his conditioning when the team scrimmaged. Wallace said he felt good about his cross-training workouts and that he did not know when he would join the team for a full practice. “It’s not up to me; it’s up to Coach Woodson,” Wallace said. “I’m not one to complain. If it’s not until mid-November, it’s mid-November. I can’t control that, I just have to be ready either way.”