Chuck Hayes played some mean defense on Amar’e Stoudemire the last time the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks squared off, but when I asked Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni about the Rockets forward’s success, he was quick to downplay it.
“I think Amar’e only had 25 that game,” quipped D’Antoni. “Yeah you’re right.”
D’Antoni did credit Hayes however.
“Chuck does a good job, a really good job” said D’Antoni. “[but] I wouldn’t put that on anybody where they can stop, you know like, we played LeBron or somebody — we’re not going to say ‘oh yeah, he does a good job on him’ because that’s not fair to the guy. They’re such good offensive players. He did do a good job. We didn’t focus on that, but we always focus on trying to move Amar’e around so that guys who defend well can’t lock in on him, and obviously Chuck Hayes is one of those guys.”
When asked about Hayes’ success against him in the last game, Stoudemire didn’t focus on the matchup but did say a lot has changed.
“We’re a much better team now,” said Stoudemire. “But again, we played those guys without Aaron Brooks, so they’re going to be a better team also. It’s going to be a tough matchup for both teams.”