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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-11

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-11

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-11When it comes to Jared Jeffries, value is rarely quantified in a box score. Even when Isiah Thomas signed the 6-10 forward to the full mid-level contract back in 2006 -- an illogical financial burden the Knicks are now desperately trying to get out from under -- the intention was to bring in a player who would do the intangible work.

Jeffries often has been criticized for what he can't do, such as the basic fundamental of basketball: shooting. He is a terrible finisher, even around the basket, and is often completely ignored by opposing defenses because of his low frequency of success.

But coach Mike D'Antoni has found a way to squeeze value out of Jeffries by utilizing his strengths, most of which exist on the defensive end of the court. He does so with half of his mind on the fact that Jeffries' defense can help the Knicks win games and also because he wants to showcase that very fact to NBA teams that might be willing to trade for him, thus clearing $6.8 million off next season's salary cap to allow the Knicks even more room to rebuild.

Jeffries is long and athletic and gives the Knicks a valuable stalwart against the pick-and-roll, because he's tall enough to defend big men yet quick enough to stay with guards on the switch.

Another thing he has shown a consistent ability to do is take charges. Over the last two games alone, Jeffries has drawn five offensive fouls. For a team that doesn't really have a shot-blocking intimidator in the paint, this is the next best thing to making teams think twice about driving the lane.

Jeffries' intangible impact -- taking charges, help defense, deflections -- hasn't been lost on D'Antoni.

"All that stuff, I think, you don't really see, but as a coach it's really important," D'Antoni said. "You can't have a good defense unless you have guys that do that. And he does it."

KNICKS 93, TRAIL BLAZERS 84: The Knicks led by as many as 23 points early in the fourth quarter before they suddenly went cold and the Trail Blazers sliced the lead to nine with 6:23 to go.

Danilo Gallinari then drilled a straightaway 3-pointer with 5:59 left. On the ensuing possession he came up with a steal off a Jerryd Bayless turnover to feed Larry Hughes for a three-point play to essentially put the game away.

Hughes had 21 points for the Knicks (7-15), who have won four of their last five and are on a season-high three-game winning streak.

Brandon Roy had 27 points for Portland (13-9), which had only nine healthy players available. The Blazers also were without coach Nate McMillan, who stayed in Portland to have surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 11, 2009


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