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Marcus Camby Article on NBA.com
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12/14/2001  8:14 PM
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Camby Man Can
Despite the unexpected resignation of coach Jeff Van Gundy, the Knicks are still challenging for first place in the Atlantic. One of the main reasons? The play of high-flying center Marcus Camby.

Article

Camby A Constant For Knicks

By John Gardella
Whether it’s a relatively minor trembler such as someone’s jump shot not falling or a 7.5 earth-shattering quake like their coach of five-plus years resigning, the New York Knicks are continuing to win games and find themselves near the top of the Eastern Conference after starting the season 6-8.

The Knicks are 11-11, three games behind first-place New Jersey and have won six of their past nine games, including Saturday’s 101-99 victory at home over Indiana, which came hours after Jeff Van Gundy stepped down as head coach, citing personal reasons. The resilient Knicks withstood that shock and a vintage 13-point fourth-quarter performance by Reggie Miller for their third straight triumph.

“We’ve won doing things the same way,” said Don Chaney, who was named head coach for the remainder of the season on Monday. “We’re not going to change from that. We may add some things offensively. But we’re not going to be that different in terms of overall philosophy.”

Not surprisingly, the Knicks’ run has coincided with the return of center Marcus Camby, who missed the team’s first 14 games because of a foot injury. Since his return, the team is 5-3. Undersized by most center standards at 6-11, 235 pounds, Camby’s presence in the middle has been paramount to the Knicks’ success.

In his first game on Nov. 26 against Atlanta, Camby shot 9-for-13 and had 18 points and 10 rebounds in an 88-83 home victory over the Hawks, and is averaging 12.3 points, 14.8 rebounds and 1.50 blocks since being activated from the injured list. The team averages 94.3 points with Camby in the lineup compared with 85.1 without him. He has failed to grab double-digit boards only once and had his most dominant game to date against Indiana, scoring 18 points with a season-high 22 rebounds.

“He makes the game so much easier for the simple fact that he brings so much energy, he plays above the rim and he blocks shots,” said Knicks forward Kurt Thomas. “He doesn’t just rebound. That speaks for itself – the way he runs the floor; the way he rebounds; and the way he blocks shots.”

Indiana power forward Jermaine O’Neal concurred: “He’s very active around the boards. He doesn’t get a whole lot of plays called for him. He’s scoring off of putbacks. He always finds a way to get open for some reason. He’s one of those guys that doesn’t have to have his number called to be effective in a game.”

Despite Van Gundy’s resignation, Thomas sees no reason why the Knicks can’t build on their recent success.

“I felt we were just starting to get together,” he said. “It’s [Van Gundy’s] decision. We have to respect it. We can’t let it be a distraction. We feel very confident in ourselves. We can’t let what’s going on outside the court stop us from going out there and being successful. We just have to continue to keep doing what we’ve been doing and just win.”

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