Mike D'Antoni (r.) oversaw 'Linsanity' with the Knicks last year but likely won't get warm reception in return.
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It's not listed as an official date on the schedule, but the Knicks will be holding their version of Old-Home Week when Mike D'Antoni comes back to the Garden this Thursday and Jeremy Lin returns with the Rockets four days later.
At the end of their respective runs in New York, neither had much use for the Knicks. D'Antoni quit under pressure and Lin wanted no part of coming back to the team. The feelings about the point guard became mutual when Jim Dolan wisely chose not match the Rockets' $25 million offer.
The takeaway from the opening quarter of the season: The fast-starting Knicks haven't missed either of them and they managed to upgrade the two positions D'Antoni and Lin vacated.
Most Knick fans who have seen their team's surprising burst from the gate wiill gladly take Mike Woodson, Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd over D'Antoni and Lin. Together, the two point guards are making the same money as Lin received from Houston and are doing a bang-up job of executing an offense that has put on highlight shows in impressive road wins in San Antonio and Miami.
There's no guarantee Lin could do what either Felton or Kidd has done. In Houston, he's struggled and is shooting under 39% for the Rockets, who were a game over .500 entering the weekend.
"Kidd's basketball IQ is pretty much one of the highest in this league and that trickles down to everyone else," LeBron James said before the Heat was dominated by the Knicks for the second time this season. "In the '08 Olympics he was one of our leaders, even though he took only one shot a game. He kept us in our offense and made us move the ball and let us never become stagnant. His mental aspect of the game rubbed off on everyone else."
The real proof that the Knicks don't miss D'Antoni is the their record -- 10 games over .500 going into Saturday's game in Chicago -- and their first-place standing in the Eastern Conference.
Even with Kidd having a major influence on the team, Woodson appears to be more than the caretaker coach he was known to be in Atlanta. He got his team ready with a training camp stressing conditioning and has been masterful in getting a lot of new players to gel without being able to have his starters and main reserves together for even one preseason game.
Source: New York Daily News