The New York Knicks held a shootaround prior to their Monday night matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. Carmelo Anthony was in a festive mood just one day after watching his alma mater make the Final Four.
Melo wearing Orange ball cap.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) March 28, 2016
Syracuse's triumph just so happened to fall on the same night the Knicks were officially eliminated from the playoffs -- a fact not lost on Melo. Per Marc Berman:
"To go from my team being in the Final Four to back being eliminated kind of messed my emotions up for a minute. There's nothing we can do about it at this moment but win and close out strong."
If it makes you feel any better, Melo, you were realistically eliminated like a month ago. Still, Melo is determined to play this season out to the bitter end:
Melo said no reason to miss games rest of way. It's a long summer. Until Olympics.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) March 28, 2016
The 31-year-old forward has looked particularly spry of late, and there's no reason he can't play if he's feeling good. It would be nice, though, if Kurt Rambis could refrain from playing him 40 minutes in games when the Knicks are already down 20-plus points. Perhaps Rambis will finally coach with an eye toward the future now that the playoffs are a mathematical impossibility.
Rambis isn't planning to change the starting lineup or rotations now that the Knicks were officially eliminated from the playoffs.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) March 28, 2016
Oh, and you best believe that applies to rookie point guard Jerian Grant. Per Al Iannazone:
"The matchups are probably better suited for him coming off the bench," Rambis said Monday before the Knicks' morning shootaround. "He's learning things. His getting out there and seeing situations is good for him. But like all young players, he's making mistakes and we're working on him to correct those mistakes.
When Rambis was asked if he was curious to see how Grant would do with the starting five, he responded, "No, not really."
"Jerian's minutes have been going up," Rambis said. "But we're still evaluating guys, we're still looking at our team, we're still looking at character and work ethic and behavior.
"There's a lot of things that we're looking at. We still want to drive the players to have this mindset to win ballgames and they have to keep that mindset."
You almost have to respect a coach who can look reporters in the eye and say "Jerian's minutes have been going up," not even two days after playing Grant 8 minutes in a blowout loss to Cleveland. If Rambis could coach half as well as he bullshits, he'd be the clear choice to take over full-time next season. Alas...