Originally created 04/28/01

Crises du jour: Camby misses practice, Rice wants more shots

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- One day after playing 31 of the most unproductive minutes of his career, Marcus Camby missed practice Friday for personal reasons.

His status for New York's Game 3 against Toronto is uncertain.

"He's going to come back when he feels he can play effectively," New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said, "and certainly if he feels that way we'd love to have him. But there's going to be no pressure placed on him."

Camby had a poor game Thursday night, three days after his mother and two sisters were held hostage at their home in Connecticut. He had just two points and two rebounds in 31 minutes and shot 1-for-4 from the field and 0-for-4 from the foul line as the Knicks lost 94-74.

The best-of-five series, tied 1-1, resumes Sunday at Toronto. Camby's business manager, Rick Kaplan, said the chances of Camby playing were 50-50.

"Marcus wants to make sure that if he plays he's 100 percent, and he feels like he wasn't there last night," Kaplan said. "He's going to decide tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Knicks forward Glen Rice met with Van Gundy and said he'd like a bigger role in the offense.

Rice played 25 minutes Thursday night and took just eight shots, going 2-for-2 from 3-point range and scoring 12 points. He played 18 minutes in Game 1, shooting 2-for-6 and scoring seven points.

"This time is too important. Once I'm on the floor, use me to the fullest," Rice said, choosing his words carefully but making it clear he was not satisfied with his limited role. "I'm in this league because of my offense, and if things aren't going right I expect and want the opportunity to provide for our team offensively."

After being acquired in the Patrick Ewing trade, Rice was used primarily as a sixth man this season and averaged a career-low 12.0 points.

"I believe in Glen, I've been happy with the way he's played this year, but I also have great belief in Allan (Houston) and Latrell (Sprewell)," Van Gundy said. "And when you have three guys in two spots, you're going to have inevitable conflict when you lose."

Rice has been hampered by a sore foot for almost two months, keeping him from taking part in full-court scrimmages at practice.

"If I'm going to go out there and am willing to put my foot on the line and work as hard as possible, then I want to be used," Rice said. "I'm not upset. I want to do as much as I can to give our team an edge."

Rice said he was satisfied with Van Gundy's response.

"He said pretty much everything I wanted to hear," Rice said, "but once gametime comes -- that's when the speaking is set aside and we see what happens."

On another front, Charlie Ward made tentative plans to visit Israel over the summer. Ward has opened a dialogue with a Jewish-Christian fellowship group after making controversial statements about Jews that were published last weekend.

Adding to their misery, the Knicks spent time at practice watching videotape of their 20-point Game 2 loss. After trailing by just four points at halftime, the Knicks were outscored 27-17 in the third quarter and never mounted a challenge in the fourth.

"We played horrible, plain and simple," forward Kurt Thomas said. "We can't make excuses just because we're dealing with some things going on with certain guys on the team."

Camby, the Knicks' leader in rebounding and blocks and their third-leading scorer, has been distraught ever since Monday's hostage standoff near Hartford.

He returned to the team Wednesday and said he was having a hard time coping with the trauma, and it showed Thursday night as he barely contributed.

Camby's teammates are trying to be supportive, although they've found themselves at a loss in terms of knowing exactly what they can do.

"It's more difficult for him than I initially thought it was," Sprewell said. "I really don't know what to say to him. You want him to get it off his mind, but at the same time you don't know if he needs someone to talk to. It's a real sensitive issue, and I'm just hoping Marcus can get back to the Marcus of old before it's too late."

Van Gundy said that if Camby does not play in Game 3, Othella Harrington and Thomas would play "huge, huge minutes." With Larry Johnson unlikely to play because of a chronically sore back, the team's only other backup big men are seldom-used centers Felton Spencer and Travis Knight.

Raptors guard Chris Childs is expected to play Sunday despite straining his hamstring during the third quarter of Game 2.

"I'll be out there," he said.


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