Knicks’ Dalembert avoids ban for elbow on Jonas Valanciunas

By on December 22, 2014

Samuel Dalembert gets a little too physical with Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas.John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports Samuel Dalembert gets a little too physical with Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas.

In a rare and minor victory for the Knicks, Samuel Dalembert was fined $ 15,000 — but not suspended – for his elbow to the face of Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas during Sunday’s loss in Toronto.

Dalembert started the Knicks’ first 19 games following his inclusion in the trade that sent former All-Star center Tyson Chandler to Dallas, but the 13 -year NBA veteran has been on the bench to open all but one of the past 11 entering the Knicks’ home matinee on Christmas against Washington.

With fellow big man Amar’e Stoudemire (recovery) unavailable Sunday for his second straight game, Dalembert was ejected for elbowing Valanciunas with 10:59 remaining in the third quarter after referees reviewed the incident and ruled a Flagrant-2 foul against the Knicks’ center.

The Knicks went on to drop their fifth consecutive game to fall to 5-25, the worst 30-game start in franchise history. Philadelphia’s win Sunday night in Orlando also moved the Sixers (3-23) into a virtual tie with the Knicks, who technically remain percentage points ahead despite the most losses in the NBA, for last place in the Atlantic Division.

They are now eight full games behind the Nets (11-15) for the No.8 playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Even with Stoudemire out of the lineup, Cole Aldrich has started the past two games ahead of Dalembert, giving the Knicks’ 14 different starting lineups through 30 games under first-year coach Derek Fisher.

“I don’t know when it comes down to what each individual is thinking as far as how it’s impacting them. At this point, you don’t know who’s going to be out there, the lineups, injuries, so guys just got to be ready,” Carmelo Anthony said after Sunday’s loss. “Their number is called, they’ve got to be ready, whether they’re starting, whether they’re coming off the bench, they’ve got to step up and be ready.”

Anthony, who added that the team’s record “don’t even seem real,” expects to play Thursday against the Wizards after logging 78 minutes over the past two losses following a one-game absence to rest his bothersome left knee that eventually is expected to require surgery, as the Daily News first reported.

“I’ve got three days before Christmas. As of right now I’ll be playing,” Anthony said Sunday. “I can’t really feel it when I’m chasing somebody or I’m down in the post. The only time I feel it is when trying to plant, trying to get some power out there, whether on the jump shot – a lot of times the simplest shot for me I’m missing, you know, wide open jump shots I’m missing. It’s just a matter of trying to get that power and that lift back and just keep going. You’re trying to figure the game out at it comes.

“It’s different moves that I make out there on the offensive end, whether going one way or the other, trying to power up, trying to drive up. You know, it’s something as simple as a wide open jump shot, you’d be surprised how affected it is on that.”

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