Shane Larkin wishes he could forget first career start

It wasn’t the best of circumstances to make his NBA starting debut, but Shane Larkin swears it wasn’t a big deal.

Barely two hours before the start of the Knicks-Bulls game, Larkin received a startling bit of news.

Larkin was announced as the starter around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, after Jose Calderon experienced discomfort in his calf during a pregame workout, forcing coach Derek Fisher to shut him down for the season opener.

Calderon, the point guard entrusted with running the Knicks’ cherished triangle offense couldn’t go.

So the 5-11 Larkin started in his place, an extraordinary turn of events for a second-year guard making his first career start.

And in his first taste of the limelight, Larkin would be tasked with facing a revived Derrick Rose, hell-bent on showing the world he’s fully recovered from a pair of knee surgeries that robbed him of the past two seasons.

Afterward, Larkin described the experience as humbling and something he will never forget, but not in a good way.

He spoke of the lessons learned and the ways in which the Knicks malfunctioned on offense, allowing the Bulls to humiliate them in a 104-80 loss at the Garden.

Larkin had to deal with a livid crowd that rained down boos on the team with barely seven minutes left in the third quarter and the Knicks trailing, 65-49.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s a learning experience,” said Larkin, who finished with six points on 2-of-6 shooting, three assists and one steal with no turnovers while Rose had just 13 points and five assists. “And we’re going to take what we did tonight and if we see it tomorrow night we’re going to get better and better until we’re good.”

It won’t get easier on Thursday for the Knicks as they travel to Cleveland to face LeBron James and the Cavaliers. If Calderon’s calf doesn’t cooperate, Larkin could be pushed into the starting lineup again.

Larkin claims he wasn’t unsettled or caught off guard by the news of Calderon getting pulled.

“You prepare to be an everyday player in this league,” he said. “You prepare like you’re a starter, so it wasn’t anything I had to change in my mind. So I really didn’t do anything different. I mean, we thought Jose was going to start but something happened. He had a setback. I got put in there. It’s not a big deal.”

Larkin says the Knicks never faced a defense that pressured them like the Bulls did.

The swarming defense forced the Knicks players to start rushing the triangle offense, leading to bad shots and a lopsided score. It was another learning experience.

“I think they started pressuring up a little bit,” Larkin said. “We didn’t see a lot of pressure in the preseason, so it’s a learning experience for us. When teams get up and start pressuring us, we don’t have to speed up ourselves, and chase shots. Shots will come if we execute the offense. Tonight we didn’t execute well enough. We didn’t trust each other. We started going one-on-one.”

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus