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Welcome to the Garden ...

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 17, 2010 03:49 PM

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... where Bill Walker's obviously got some things to smile about. Walker was supposed to be a spare part in the Nate Robinson-Eddie House deal at the trade deadline, but Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's put him on the floor every game since the trade and Walker's taken advantage.

He stuck Cleveland up for 21 points and Detroit for 23 at the start of the month. Last weekend he went for 21 and 23 against Memphis and Dallas. The door was never opened more than a crack in Boston, with tons of veterans and little margin for error, and when asked what everyone's more or less been thinking -- whether the Celtics missed out on a player they could have used -- Walker couldn't help but grin, saying, "Time will tell."

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For what it's worth, Walker's numbers have come in games that have basically been offensive orgies. Also, D'Antoni's "Seven Seconds or Less" offense has the Knicks taking eight more shots per game (84.1) than the Celtics, who take the fewest shots per night in the league (76.1). Walker readily admits that people probably look twice at his numbers because of it.

"I'm pretty sure it's a lot of detractors saying, 'Anybody can do it in New York's system,'" Walker said. "But it's still a pro game. Still guys that get paid money to play at this professional level. Whatever I'm doing with whoever's system, it's still the NBA game." 

The Knicks are using the final weeks of the season to get a read on a handful of players from Tracy McGrady to Toney Douglas to Walker and ex-Celtics J.R. Giddens and Eddie House, and Walker's trying to do what he can to win them over.

"I know I can play at this level," Walker said. "It's just a matter of time, getting out there and playing more consistent, and becoming the guy I think I am ... you're always chomping at the bit to get out there and show people that you can play the game. I remember watching Rondo when he first came in. He was the same way. He was happy to get his chance. Now he's an all-star. You get a break, you've got to grab the opportunity by the horns."
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