Felton: I don't need help

October, 31, 2013
10/31/13
12:31
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Raymond Felton may not be 100 percent healthy, but that doesn't mean he'll need any help guarding Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, he says.

[+] EnlargeFelton
Al Bello/Getty ImagesFelton provided 18 points with three assists and three steals in the win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Felton tweaked his left hamstring injury in the third quarter of the Knicks' win over the Bucks on Wednesday. He left the game briefly but returned in the fourth quarter to help New York avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss.

Someone asked Felton after the game if he thought he'd need assistance guarding Rose on Thursday in light of his gimpy hamstring.

Felton seemed surprised by the question.

"Why do I need help? He puts his clothes on just like I put mine on. I'm looking forward to the game," the Knicks point guard said. "I'm not handicapped. I don't need no help."

Rose, the 2011 MVP, missed last season following ACL surgery. He'll be playing at home Thursday night for the first time since May 2012.

Felton's availability for the game was uncertain as of late Thursday morning. Coach Mike Woodson said he'd have to evaluate the point guard's hamstring prior to tipoff before determining whether he can play. Felton first hurt the hamstring on Oct. 17 in a preseason game against Washington.

"Hopefully it goes away," said Felton, who scored 18 points against Milwaukee. "It's one of those things where it can last two to three days, but it can last up to 6 weeks. Hopefully one day I wake up and it's just gone. Right now, it's just a nagging thing that I've got to just deal with."

TWILIGHT ZONE FOR NYK: Better hope Chicago doesn't play zone Thursday.

The Knicks admitted they struggled with Milwaukee's zone, and that played a role in their 22 turnovers in Wednesday's 90-83 season-opening win over the Bucks at Madison Square Garden.

"Their zone complicated us a little bit because we can't use our system on offense and we don't feel comfortable in the offense," guard Pablo Prigioni said. "Bad decisions. We had turnovers."

The Knicks led the NBA by averaging just 11.6 turnovers per game last season, but they didn't resemble that team in the opener. They were sloppy with the ball, which was due to Milwaukee's defense.

Knicks forward Kenyon Martin said the Knicks were stagnant when the Bucks used their zone, and the team needed to move the ball better and set screens. Carmelo Anthony added that the Bucks speed the Knicks' offense up, and the turnovers have to be corrected.

The Bucks were particularly effective in the second half as they forced the Knicks into 14 turnovers and held New York to just 34 points. Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with five turnovers, while Prigioni had four. The starting five combined for 16 turnovers in a sloppy effort.

"They mixed it up between the different (defenses) man-to-man; sometimes they are in zone but they follow the cuts, they switch," Prigioni said. "It was complicated for us to read exactly the defense. We didn't have the patience to attack. That's why our offense was bad in the second half."

ROOKIE DEBUTS: Tim Hardaway Jr. was literally starstruck in his debut.

"I was surprised by how many stars were in the building. I had never seen that before. We were playing in front of that many stars," the Knicks' first-round draft pick said. "It was exciting to have that opportunity to be on the floor with the guys and get our first win under our belt."

Hardaway Jr. had a solid debut, scoring five points in roughly 15 minutes of action in the Knicks' win. Hardaway hit both of his shots, including a 3-pointer, and had a pair of assists.

"I wasn't trying to force anything. Play into the flow of the offense, make sure my defense was on point," Hardaway Jr. said. "I made a couple of errors here and there. Still got to watch film, got to learn."

The rookie played the third-most minutes among the Knicks' reserves, and more than veteran Beno Udrih, who had a rough night in his Knicks debut. Udrih shot just 1-of-4 and had two assists in 10:33. He finished with a team-worst minus-12 (in plus/minus) in that short span.

KENYON OK: Martin (ankle) said he felt fine physically after the game. He played just 4:58 and scored three points and had three rebounds.

Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire will be splitting back-to-backs as they deal with their injuries and minutes restrictions. Martin got the opener while Stoudemire will play against Chicago.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.2 3.2 0.6 34.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.5
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.0
StealsS. Larkin 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.4