New York Knicks: Podcast

Woodson: Knicks 'desperate' to win a title

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
12:36
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The Knicks are one win away from clinching their first division title since 1994.

But head coach Mike Woodson is eyeing a bigger prize: the NBA title.

In his weekly spot on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, Woodson said his Knicks are playing with a desperate air as the playoffs approach.

"It's desperate times for our team to win, and win now, and there's nothing wrong with that because that's how it should be. You don't get in this thing (and) not try to win a title ... . We're in desperate times right now to try to win an NBA title, absolutely," Woodson said Monday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.

Make no mistake: there's still a juggernaut in Miami that's a clear cut favorite to repeat as NBA champs. And the Knicks will likely have to go through the Heat if they want to snap their 40-year title drought.

But the team's championship hopes seem a bit more realistic after Sunday's win over the Thunder.

The victory gave the Knicks 50 wins for the first time since 1999-2000. It was also their 12th straight win, the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.

And it came against a team that was 33-5 at home entering the game.

Woodson put all of the Knicks' recent accomplishments in perspective during his weekly radio spot on "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" on Monday afternoon.

"Getting 50 wins is special," said Woodson, who is 68-32 in his first 100 regular-season games. "But I'm looking at the big picture. It's all great. We can accomplish winning our division and securing that second spot. Then the next step is winning the title. I'm only in it for that and only that."

Woodson first stated at the end of last season that the Knicks' goal was to win the division. "Now here it is right here in front of us, staring us in the face to go get it. We got to go get it," he said.

A division title guarantees that the Knicks will have home-court in the first round of the playoffs, something they haven't had in the last two seasons.

Incidentally, they've won just one playoff game over the last two years, at home against the Heat.

The division is now well within reach. The Knicks need one win or one Nets loss to clinch. Then they will turn their attention to the No. 2 seed in the East.

New York enters play Tuesday 2 1/2 games ahead of Indiana for second place in the conference. A second-place finish guarantees the Knicks home-court advantage through two rounds of the playoffs.

"All of those things are right within our reach and I’m pushing our guys from an urgency standpoint to go get it. So that’s what it’s about," Woodson said.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Felton 'loves' Knicks' chances vs. Heat

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
11:32
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Some NBA analysts and fans think the Eastern Conference playoffs are almost a waste of time this year. The Heat, they say, are a lock to return to the NBA Finals.

Raymond Felton disagrees with those people. Strongly.

In fact, the veteran Knicks point guard says he "loves" New York's chances in a potential playoff series with the defending champion Heat.

[+] EnlargeRaymond Felton
Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty ImagesRaymond Felton says the Knicks can take the Heat in the postseason. Do you agree?
"We're definitely one of the teams who gave Miami the most fits this year, so if we get the opportunity to play them in the [Eastern Conference] finals, then I kinda like our chances. I love our chances, actually," Felton told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday.

The Knicks enter play Friday in third place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Indiana.

A top-three finish in the conference means the Knicks would avoid facing the Heat until the conference final, assuming they advance that far.

If they do, Felton believes the Knicks would present Miami with a major "matchup problem."

"I'm not just saying that just because I'm a New York Knick and just being biased," he said. "I just feel like we really cause matchup problems for them offensively, and then we match up well with them defensively. Like I said, I like our chances. Right now, we're winning the [season] series and we've got one more game left. So we'll see what happens."

The Knicks have won two of three against the Heat this season. They beat the Heat twice in the first six weeks of the season but lost the most recent matchup at the Garden earlier this month.

The Knicks and Heat play for the fourth and final time in the regular season on Tuesday in Miami.

"I can't wait. I can't wait," Felton said.

Felton was instrumental in the Knicks' road win over Miami on Dec. 6. With Carmelo Anthony sidelined due to a cut on his left hand, Felton poured in 27 points and handed out seven assists in the Knicks' 20-point win.

Felton was asked if point guard is one area where he thought the Knicks had an advantage against Miami, which had its win streak snapped at 27 games on Wednesday.

"I'm not saying that's a weak point [for the Heat] because [Mario] Chalmers has been great for Miami. He's won a championship there and he's a solid point guard," Felton said. "But I think that's one of the weaknesses of their team. Not saying that Chalmers is a bad player, because he's not. He's great. He's won a championship. A lot of point guards in this league can't say that. He has that. But if you look at LeBron, Bosh and D-Wade and then you look at Chalmers, you're like, 'OK, this is maybe where their weakness is at.'

"But they really don't have too many weaknesses. I'll just say that we match up well with them, that's all."

FELTON IN BK TO HELP YOUTH: Felton spoke from a Boost Mobile on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, where he greeted about 400 fans, promoted the NBA Game Time Plus app, and raised money for Athletes for Charity, a local nonprofit dedicated to charitable efforts which benefit disadvantaged children.

"I just want to help kids as much as I can. If there's any opportunity where I can be a part of something like that, I'm all in it," Felton said. "Just to put a smile on a kid's face or a fan or whoever, it puts a smile on my face."

FINALLY HEALTHY: Felton missed five weeks earlier this season with a fractured right pinky. He's been back on the floor since late January, but said in an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 FM that he just recently started to feel fully comfortable on the court.

"To be honest with you, I just got comfortable maybe three of four games ago when I finally got the [medical] tape off my hand. It took 12 weeks exactly," Felton said in an interview on "The Michael Kay Show."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo wanted to end Heat's winning streak

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
9:20
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As the Miami Heat kept winning games -- 27 in a row before their loss to the Bulls on Wednesday night -- Carmelo Anthony wanted their streak to continue. But that was as a fan.

Playing for the Eastern Conference foe Knicks, that definitely wasn't the case. Melo wanted to make some history by being on the team that snapped the Heat's streak.

"Who wouldn't want to end it? Absolutely," he said on Thursday while appearing on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show." "I mean, it was kind of twofold because as a fan, just taking away my competitive spirit, my competitive nature, you want to just see them keep it going.

"But as a competitor, I wanted for them to keep it going so I could be the one that ended their streak. But what they were able to do? I mean, come on now. 27 straight games? That's a hell of an accomplishment. We probably won't see that for a long, long time."

Now the Heat have a streak to snap. That would be the Knicks, who have the longest one in the NBA right now at six games. The longtime rivals meet Tuesday in Miami, their final matchup of the regular season. The Knicks lead the series 2-1, with Miami winning the last game on March 3.

Anthony commented on the two hard fouls LeBron James received last night in Chicago, saying that the league will be on top of the issue.

[+] EnlargeTayshaun Prince, Carmelo Anthony
Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Carmelo Anthony helped the Knicks continue their winning streak on Wednesday against the Grizzlies.
"I doubt if you see that anymore, just the way that the game is," he said. "They clean the game up so much."

Here are some other interesting nuggets from Melo:

On the team's recent success: "It's just a matter of guys getting healthy. That tends to be the thing over here with us, man, guys being injured. We know what type of team we are, we know the type of players that we have on the team. It's just a matter of getting over that little hurdle that we had during our four-game skid. Right now, we're having fun again playing basketball, guys are getting their confidence back, guys are starting to get healthier."

On Kenyon Martin: "I know a lot of people had doubts. ... I was able to play with Kenyon for about seven-and-a-half years out there in Denver. I know what he brings to the game when he's out there and he's focused. I think sometimes in life when you sit back and then you have an opportunity to get a second chance, that brings a greater person out in somebody, and I think that's what we're seeing right now with Kenyon."

On getting his right knee drained: "It's not even about the needle; it's just about the whole process and thought of having surgery. I hate that feeling, I hate that thought, I hate that going through my mind. I'm not a big fan of going through surgery and things like that if I don't have to. I think that's what caused my knee to get to the place that it was at because I was kind of being naive."

On Syracuse, his alma mater, and Indiana, Mike Woodson's school, going head-to-head tonight in the NCAA tournament: "I'm just going to go home and watch the game, cheer my guys on, put my Syracuse warm-up on, put my national championship ring on the table. I'm going to text coach Woody throughout the game and talk trash to him, and have some fun."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Grunwald: Teams have figured us out

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
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Glen Grunwald doesn’t have any magic solutions to end the Knicks’ two-month long slide.

He knows the team he put together needs to improve in several areas to pull out of its recent funk.

But he has drawn at least one conclusion while watching the Knicks go 14-14 in their last 28 games.

“Teams have adjusted to our offense a little bit and we need to continue to evolve,” Grunwald said Thursday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” "I’m very confident, Woody’s done a great job this year and he’ll figure out, going forward.”

After a strong start, the Knicks’ offense has been stuck in the mud at times in recent weeks.

During their 18-5 start, the Knicks averaged 111.1 points per 100 possessions.

In the 28 games since, they’ve averaged 106.1 points per 100 possessions.

Kay asked Grunwald if the Knicks had enough offensive firepower in their starting five. Instead of answering the question, Grunwald defended the roster he’d put together and interestingly deferred to Woodson.

“That’s really a question for Woody,” he said. “I think we have enough offense on our roster and it’s just a matter of, again, putting them in the right situations and I’m very optimistic that Woody’s going to get that right.”

DEADLINE DEALS: Grunwald admitted that the Knicks received “a number of inquiries” on Iman Shumpert but never considered dealing the second-year guard. Asked if he got any calls on Amar’e Stoudemire, Grunwald said, “We’ll say that we had a lot of interest in a number of our players.”

The GM added that he was never close to making a trade for a big-name player.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Woodson: No trades in sight

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
4:38
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GREENBURGH -- To deal, or not to deal?

That's the question facing NBA front offices with the trade deadline less than 48 hours away.

On Tuesday, Knicks coach Mike Woodson all but guaranteed that New York would be standing pat at Thursday's deadline.

"I don't think we have anything working. You always talk [about potential trades] but we like the makeup of our team as we stand today," Woodson said after the Knicks' practice on Tuesday. "This is our basketball team, and we've got to move forward in the right direction, I think."

Later, in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco," Woodson expanded on the Knicks' position entering the deadline.

[+] EnlargeMike Woodson
Mitchell Layton/MCT/Getty ImagesMike Woodson doesn't foresee any changes to the Knicks roster before the trade deadline.
He said he liked that his team was leading the Atlantic Division at the All-Star break and saw no need for a major overhaul.

Furthermore, he acknowledged that the Knicks have few attractive trade chips.

"It's not going to be easy to get [quality] players that can come in now. We have an older team and there's not a lot of teams around that are going to take older veterans," Woodson said. "It doesn't work that way. This is the team that we've assembled and I like the makeup of our ball club, I really do."

The Knicks' lone young trade piece, 23-year-old Iman Shumpert, has been involved in several trade discussions in recent days. The Phoenix Suns have shown interest.

As the Knicks keep an eye on J.J. Redick's situation in Orlando, Shumpert's name has reportedly emerged. According to HoopsWorld, the Knicks and Magic have talked a Redick-for-Shumpert swap, but nothing serious has materialized. That deal would have to include additional players to work under the salary cap.

Last week, Woodson said that Shumpert would not be dealt. On Tuesday, the coach added that any Knicks trade would have to bring back a significant piece because New York is in "win-now" mode.

"If you're going to add somebody and make a major move, you've got to add the best players in the league, and that's just not going to happen," Woodson said. "I think our team is what it is right now ... and we're not going to make any moves right now as we speak. We've got to live with what we have; I've got to manage that and make sure guys get healthy and we continue our push to the top."

The Knicks enter the second half of the season four games behind Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference with 32 games to play. They are 2½ games up on Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division and will face Indiana on the road Wednesday to open the second half.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Woodson: 'Our offense has been stinking'

January, 28, 2013
1/28/13
5:32
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Mike Woodson Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMike Woodson doesn't like the odor wafting through the Garden lately, telling 98.7 FM on Monday the Knicks' offense "has been stinking."
Even though the Knicks allowed the Hawks to score 104 points and shoot 60 percent from the field, Mike Woodson is more concerned with his team's offense. And rightfully so. While the Knicks are holding opponents to a sixth-best 94.5 points per game in January, they've significantly dropped in scoring from 102.3 points per game through December to 95.8 this month.

"Our offense has been stinking a little bit in terms of us getting ball movement and getting back to executing how we were earlier in the season," Woodson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco" show on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday night, the Knicks ran isolation plays 23.4 percent of the time -- their third-highest single-game mark all season. In the fourth quarter, especially, they lived and died through isolation. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith scored half of the team's 24 points -- six fewer than the Hawks -- in those plays. Melo did make the game-winning layup in a clear-out situation.

But with Raymond Felton, the Knicks need to get back to two-sided half-court basketball. Recently, the ball has remained on one side of the court too much with a decrease in pick-and-rolls. As a result, Anthony is overworked and incurs additional body contact on his drives.

"He'll bounce back," the coach said of Felton. "I thought he had a great floor game for us (against the Hawks). He made shots early for us. Raymond will be back to Raymond before you know it."

Here are some other key nuggets from Woodson's radio appearance:

Defensive woes on Sunday night: "A lot of the problems is that we haven't been able to practice. That's got a lot to do with it in terms of guys knowing rotations, knowing when we're going to sting someone on the post. I mean, there are a lot of things that come into play when you're talking about trying to build a defensive team, guys in the lineup based on injuries."

Amar'e Stoudemire: "He's growing, that's all I can tell you. He's more engaged and more in tuned to what we want done, especially on the defensive end. ... His energy level is where it needs to be. Offensively, he's been playing beautiful basketball. I'm proud of Amar'e because he has put in a lot of time this summer."

Frontcourt significance: "I think for us in the long haul as we continue this journey is going to be the play of Amar'e, Tyson and Melo together. ... Eventually, we will get to it throughout the course of a game, big minutes. We're slowly working our way there. Statistically, they are playing pretty well together. ... That's going to be pivotal for our ballclub."

Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby: "We're not rushing them back. Rasheed is on the floor shooting some, but we haven't started to run with him yet. ... Camby is probably a little bit behind him in terms of his foot and getting back. But eventually, they will be back."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Woodson: Melo, KG issues 'behind them'

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
4:20
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Knicks coach Mike Woodson does not expect the bad blood between Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Boston forward Kevin Garnett to carry over into Thursday's meeting in Boston.

"I just think he and Garnett, their issues are behind them," Woodson said on the Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco show on ESPN 98.7 FM. "That happened a few weeks ago and I'm sure both players have moved on. In that regard, it shouldn't be an issue."

Garnett and Anthony were physical with each other when the teams last met on Jan. 7 at MSG. Each received a technical. Anthony would later say that he believed Garnett had crossed the line with his trash talking. After the game, Garnett and Anthony got into an altercation in the bowels of the arena, according to ESPNNewYork.com. A video by Comcast Sports Net New England showed Anthony waiting outside the buses. Anthony subsequently received a one-game suspension and has said that he is over it.

Woodson didn't seem concerned about how Anthony will stand up in front of a hostile crowd in Boston, and is keeping a closer eye on how his team responds. The coach is still upset that Boston came into Madison Square Garden and emerged victorious.

"We have to go in there, stand up and see what we're about, see if we can go in there and get our game back that we gave away here at home ... they came in here and earned the game," Woodson said. "They did what they had to do to win the game and we got to go in there and figure how we can get a game back and put it in our court."

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND
: Woodson can't wait for the return of guard Raymond Felton (fractured right pinkie), who has said he's targeting a return on Jan. 26 in Philadelphia.

Felton hasn't played since Dec. 25, and Woodson said the Knicks miss Felton's ability to get to the rim. Woodson complimented the play of Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni in Felton's absence, but it's led to him putting extended minutes on the veterans.

"He's a big piece of the puzzle," Woodson said. "I'm not one for excuses but he drives the car in terms of how we run things."

REDUCE HIS TIME
: Woodson said there is some concern about the amount of minutes Anthony is playing, as he's averaging 37.5 minutes, but the depleted roster has handcuffed him. Woodson said he would like to get Anthony back to 34 or 35 minutes per game.

NOT THEIR HOUSE: Woodson is not happy with the team's recent struggles at home as they are just 4-6 in their last 10 home games after a 10-0 start. He wants to see the team return to how it played at the beginning of the season.

"I just think we can beat anybody in this league if we come to play," Woodson said.

Shumpert: 'I'm not cutting my hair'

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
4:50
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It's hair to stay.

That's what Iman Shumpert had to say about his high-top fade during an interview Monday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show."

Shumpert has sported a classic hairdo during his seven-month rehab following ACL surgery.

Now that he's on the cusp of taking the court, Shumpert has no plans of getting rid of his signature look.

"I'm not cutting my hair," he told Kay and co-host Don LaGreca, with a laugh. "I've had people say it looks stupid. I don't really care what they think -- they don't have to wear it."

Shumpert said Carmelo Anthony asks him to cut it, but he's not going to cave to external pressure.

The second-year guard is expected to make his season debut in London against the Pistons on Thursday, as long as he makes it through Wednesday's practice without an issue.

Shumpert's return comes at a perfect time for the Knicks (24-13), who are 6-8 in their past 14 games and have struggled at times on defense during the stretch.

[+] EnlargeIman Shumpert
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsIman Shumpert
Shumpert, a 2011 first-round pick, established himself as one of the top young perimeter defenders last season, so the Knicks hope he can help shore things up on the defensive end.

GOOD TIME TO REST: The Knicks have played 37 games in 72 days. That's a rough schedule for the oldest team in the league. So the trip to London this week is a great opportunity for the team to get some rest, Mike Woodson said Monday.

"It helps tremendously," Woodson said. "Some of these guys are a little beat up. We've just come off three games in four days. That's our schedule. (The London trip) should help us a little bit, give these guys an opportunity to rest a little bit."

The Knicks flew to London on Monday night and did not practice Tuesday. They will have a full practice Wednesday in advance of Thursday's game against Detroit. In all, they will have played just once in a seven-day stretch.

STAT STARTED THE DIET THING: Anthony just finished a 15-day fast. Amar'e Stoudemire has been vegan for the past three months. Stoudemire says even Mike Woodson has gotten into the health craze sweeping the Knicks, getting on a diet himself.

Stoudemire jokingly said Monday that he deserves a little credit for the diet trend in the Knicks' locker room.

"I think everyone knew about my vegan diet and it just kind of spread," Stoudemire said with a smile.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

STAT defends D'Antoni, applauds Woodson

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
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Earlier this week, Amar'e Stoudemire said, "I've never been taught defense in my whole career," but on Friday, he clarified those comments weren't meant to diss his former coach Mike D'Antoni.

"That was no shot at coach D'Antoni," he told Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "It was a compliment to coach Woodson. Just defensively the different strategies he brings forth on the defensive end is something that's intriguing to me because it's new to my ears."

Appearing on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco" on Friday a few hours earlier, Woodson returned a compliment to Stoudemire -- and it involved his defense against the Spurs. On one play, the power forward made an aggressive steal on Manu Ginobili's drive attempt during the game, ripping the ball away from him.

"I thought last night he made a major step in the right direction," the coach said. "His minutes went up a little bit and he did some things from a defensive standpoint that we liked and offensively, he was pretty good. ... His timing is a little off, but I think as he continues and we continue to push him, it will get better each and every day that he steps out on that floor."

Stoudemire also said his timing is "not quite there yet," but he hopes to be back to himself in the next week or two. Looking ahead, he said he has no problem continuing to come off the bench -- because he has a much bigger goal in mind.

"The most important factor at this point in my career is maturity kicks in, and the ultimate goal is to win a championship," he said. "Whatever it takes to accomplish that goal, I'm totally open to it. That's the goal."

Reflecting on the Knicks' success this season, Stoudemire said it wasn't tough at all watching his teammates excel without him on the court.

"It was great to watch the guys play extremely well and win without me because it gave me more time to recover," he said, "and it gave me more confidence knowing that we had a solid team and had a great chance to do something special in New York. So it was great to watch."

Regarding the Knicks' second player to return from a knee surgery, Iman Shumpert, Woodson said "The Rook" is making progress. That means he could make his comeback, as planned, likely at the end of this month or early February.

"He's starting a little contact; not 5-on-5 contact," Woodson said. "Individual contact he started a few days ago, and that's a major plus. We're not really here to rush this kid back. He's on schedule. ... A lot of his work now is still conditioning, individual banging and then we'll build from there and get him into a 5-on-5 setting where we can practice and get him where he's banging around."

LOCKED IN: Woodson said this about the team: "We're all on the same page, and that's important. I think when you're talking about trying to build a championship team, everybody's got to be on the same page and egos have got to be left at the door. I feel good about the makeup of our ball club."

BROTHERHOOD: Stoudemire's late older brother, Hazell, would have celebrated his 36th birthday today. He died in a car crash last February. STAT said on radio, "He was my role model growing up."

On Saturday in Orlando, near Stoudemire's hometown of Lake Wales, he's inviting 30 students to the Knicks' game against the Magic, and then afterward, he's going to talk to them about school, staying focused and setting goals.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Woodson: Amar'e will adjust

December, 21, 2012
12/21/12
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GREENBURGH, NY -- Mike Woodson hasn't announced whether Amar'e Stoudemire will start or come off the bench when he returns to the Knicks lineup.

But Woodson's confident that Stoudemire will have no problem adjusting to whichever role he's used in once he's back on the floor.

"Amare's a player and he's been a player for many many years, and a damn good player, in this league. So however I decide to do it, he'll adjust because of the fact that he is a talented player," Woodson said in an interview Friday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco." "It's my job to put him in the position to be successful."

Stoudemire underwent a debridement on his left knee on Oct. 31 and has not played with the Knicks this season. He returned to practice earlier this week and, provided there are no set-backs with his rehabilitation, he's expected return shortly, possibly at some point during the Knicks' three-game road trip from December 25-28.

The Knicks (19-6) have established tremendous chemistry in Stoudemire's absence so some have expressed concern that Stoudemire's return will have a negative impact on the team.

One oft-cited reason is the struggles of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to develop cohesion on offense. The Knicks are 30-33 in the regular season when both are in the starting lineup.

That's why some believe Stoudemire would be best suited to come off of the bench for the Knicks. A bench role would allow Anthony to remain at power forward and give Stoudemire the opportunity to be the primary screener on the pick and roll, a role occupied among the starting group by Tyson Chandler.

Stoudemire has said that he'd accept any role Woodson asks of him. "Whatever it takes to win," he said on Tuesday.

Woodson says he won't talk about Stoudemire's role with the team -- whether he starts or comes off of the bench -- until Stoudemire confirms that he is ready to return to the floor.

But the coach is confident that he can put Stoudemire in a position to succeed.

"I know a lot of you guys are concerned about when Amar'e [comes back]," Woodson told Smith. "I'm not because he's a ball player that's been very productive in this league for many years. He's an all star. And he's done it at a high level. He's played in big games. Regardless of how I set the table in terms of where he goes when he steps back out on the floor, it's going to be in a good position for Amar'e. I promise you that."

Stoudemire, coming off one of the poorest seasons of his career (17.5 ppg, 48% shooting), went through shoot around with his teammates on Friday morning but was not available to reporters. He said, after practicing with the Knicks' D League team on Thursday, he's not quite 100% and still feels lingering discomfort in his knee.

According to a report in the New York Times on Friday, the Knicks tried unsuccessfully to trade Stoudemire over the summer and at several points during the 2011-12 season.

Woodson referred to the report as media speculation and reiterated that he's confident that Stoudemire can fit in with what the Knicks have established through the season's first 25 games.

"Amar'e is a big piece of the New York Knicks and that's why he's still here," the coach said. "We're just trying to figure out after he's healthy [how] to get him back in the flow and swing of things. That's all I'm concerned about."

ALL-STAR WISHES: Woodson clearly wants Tyson Chandler to make the All-Star team this season. "When that thing comes out, I'll be very dissapointed if he's not on that all star team."

NOVAK BACK: Steve Novak will play on Friday against the Chicago Bulls after missing Wednesday's game due to flu-like symptoms. Marcus Camby (plantar fascia) shot with his teammates for the first time since going out with the injury on Dec. 2. He will not play against Chicago. He has missed 11 straight games. Rasheed Wallace will miss his fourth straight game due to a left foot injury.

Woodson says Melo is 'misread a lot'

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
5:23
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Carmelo Anthony came to New York with the reputation of a fantastic scorer who didn’t give enough effort in other facets of the game.

Mike Woodson, though, says that he’s never seen the player that fits that description.

“I think he’s misread a lot,” Woodson said on Wednesday during an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco.”

George Karl may disagree, but Woodson was speaking solely from his experience with Anthony.

As soon as Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni last March, the coach told Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler that they’d be held fully accountable for what happens on the court.

“I thought they bought in right away, especially Melo -- he just went to another level,” Woodson said. “He's been consistent all the way up until this point. It's beautiful to watch because ... for me, he's been everything and much, much more.”

A prime example came with under a minute to play in Tuesday’s Knicks-Nets game.

With the game tied at 97-97, Anthony drew the attention of two Nets defenders and gave the ball up. A few passes later, the possession ended with a game-winning 3-pointer by Jason Kidd.

The play led Woodson to describe Anthony as “the MVP” of the league after the game.

On Tuesday, with Smith and Ryan Ruocco, he expanded on Anthony’s maturation this season, calling his scoring prowess and willingness to share the ball a “deadly combination.”

“He's starting to make that next step,” Woodson said. “The step is that he knows he can get it done when he needs to, and he trusts guys around him. Now, when he's double teamed, and it's not his [shot], he's got to get the ball to other people and trust that they make the play. That's a deadly combination.”

Woodson also addressed his relationship with D’Antoni as the ex-Knicks coach prepares to bring his new team – the Lakers – to the Garden on Thursday night.

“I have a great deal of respect for Mike D'Antoni and I have a great deal of respect for the coaches around him when he came to New York to try to get things done,” Woodson said.

D’Antoni resigned in mid March. The Knicks are 34-11 in the regular season since Woodson took over. The Lakers are 4-8 under D’Antoni.

“Sometimes things don’t work out in sports,” Woodson said of D’Antoni’s Knicks tenure. “I’ve been on both ends, winning and losing. For Mike, I wish him nothing but the best. He was good to me. He gave me an opportunity to continue to coach. And, I did everything I thought I could to help and support him while I was here. When he got the Laker job, I was very excited about him getting an opportunity to coach again and I still feel that way.”

Brewer: 'I like our chances'

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
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Before he came to the Knicks, Ronnie Brewer was on a Chicago Bulls team that was considered to be a legitimate NBA title contender.


Brewer was asked on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s "The Michael Kay Show" if the Knicks are in a "better" situation to compete for a title than those Bulls teams.

"I think so," he said. "I feel like this situation with the Knicks, that it's a lot better. We're a more veteran team."

"I think a lot of people were saying this wasn't going to work because our team was a lot older but I think were really buying into everything and we’re playing team basketball ... if you look at our core group of guys we're fairly young and (with) Amar'e (Stoudemire) coming back, (Iman Shumpert) coming back from injury I think that's only going to add more depth to our team."

The 2010-11 Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and lost to the Heat. Last season, Chicago lost in the first round after Derrick Rose went down with an ACL injury.

The Knicks started the season 6-0 and are 10-4 entering Friday's home game against the Washington Wizards.

Said Brewer: "I like where we sit right now and I like our chances in April, May and June."

Here are a couple other highlights from Brewer's interview with Kay and Don LaGreca:

NOVAK'S DUNKING: Steve Novak took a lot of grief from his teammates and fans for pulling up for a layup on a breakaway Wednesday in Milwaukee instead of dunking the ball.

After the game, Novak tweeted, "After reading my Twitter feed, tomorrows one and only mission in practice ... PRACTICE DUNKING! LOL #whiteguyproblems."

Brewer confirmed that the 6-10 Novak can, in fact, dunk and said that Novak didn't want to get his shot blocked by an approaching defender in such a close game against the Bucks.

Added Brewer: "I think we’d rather have him knock down threes than have him than finishing dunks on the break."

ON AMAR’E’S RETURN: Brewer thinks Stoudemire can benefit the Knicks off the bench or as a starter. He's excited for the power forward, who has been sidelined since late October with a left knee injury, to return. Stoudemire is expected to be back in mid to late December.

"I think when you bring a player of that caliber, it can't be a bad thing," Brewer said. "I don't think any of the guys on this team are worried (about) him fitting in. He's a great player on the court, a great player off the court. I think we're looking forward to getting him and Shump.”

ESPNNewYork.com reported on Wednesday night that Stoudemire would accept a role coming off of Mike Woodson’s bench, if he’s asked.

"If he's coming off the bench, I think that means he's going to be one of the best players in the second rotation in the NBA and it's going to be a mismatch problem across the board," Brewer said. "Either way, it can't be a bad problem for Coach Woody."

Asked whether Stoudemire would accept coming off of the Knicks' bench, Brewer said, "At the end of the day it's not about egos, it's not about accolades. I think everyone's buying into the system and we're trying to win a championship, win games ... We're all sacrificing for a bigger goal and that's to win."

GIVING BACK: Brewer, Chris Copeland and the Knicks City Dancers made bedside visits to children at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center on behalf of the Garden Of Dreams Foundation. Brewer, Copeland and the dancers gave out holiday gift bags, took photos and signed autographs.

J.R.'S FLAGRANT REDUCED: J.R. Smith's flagrant foul 1 from the Memphis game on Nov. 16 on Tony Allen has been downgraded to a personal foul. If Smith's flagrant was upheld, he would have earned one point in the NBA's points system for flagrant fouls (five points earns a suspension).

Tyson Chandler's flagrant 1 against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 23 remains a flagrant 1. Chandler elbowed Houston center Omer Asik in the throat. He has one point in the NBA's flagrant foul system.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Woodson: Stoudemire an 'integral piece'

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
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Whether he comes off the bench or starts, Amar'e Stoudemire will be an integral piece for the Knicks this season, according to Mike Woodson.

"My thing is this: Amar'e is a big piece of this puzzle, without a doubt,” Woodson said Wednesday in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco." "He’s a very talented player. And my whole thing is we are anxiously waiting for Amar'e to come back."

Stoudemire is expected to miss at least the first six weeks of the season after undergoing knee surgery on Oct. 31.

When he returns, it’s unclear if he will do so as a starter or a member of the Knicks’ second unit.

Woodson has been non-committal on that subject. According to reports, he said on Tuesday that he would "address that when we get to that point (that Stoudemire returns). Right now, I’m just taking it a day at a time and work the guys we have in uniform."

In the past, Woodson has said that none of his players would lose their starting spot due to injury, leading some to believe that Stoudemire will return to the Knicks' starting five.

On Wednesday, Woodson told Smith and Ryan Ruocco that he considers bench players just as vital to the team's success as the starters.

"The bench guys are just as important as the guys who start, in my philosophy," Woodson said. "I’ve always felt that way. And I try to utilize them that way. And if they’re rolling coming off the bench, they’re going to stay in the game until things go sour. My thing is if you’re committed and you’re about team, it shouldn’t matter. That’s the first thing that I said to these guys when we opened up camp -- think team and think win. Other than that, you’re in it for the wrong reasons."

Many have wondered about Stoudemire’s status because it seems to make so much sense to bring him off the bench.

Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have struggled to develop cohesion on offense during Anthony’s 18-month tenure with the Knicks. New York actually has a losing record when both Stoudemire and Anthony are in the lineup.

The 8-1 Knicks are off to a strong start with Anthony playing power forward, which is Stoudemire’s position.

Stoudemire could benefit from coming off of the bench because it would keep him off the floor with Anthony and Tyson Chandler.

With Chandler off the floor, Stoudemire could serve as the Knicks’ primary screener on the pick and roll, a role he's thrived in throughout his career.

Regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench, Woodson believes Stoudemire (along with injured guard Iman Shumpert) can add great depth to a Knicks team that already boasts a strong second unit.

"When you add Amar’e back to the mix and you put (Shumpert) back into the mix, we’re a really deep team that can do a lot of things on both sides of the ball,” Woodson said. "So my thing is this: I’m not going to even address that in terms of Amare (starting or coming off of the bench). But I will say this: he’s a big piece of the puzzle in terms of being able to help us go all the way."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

J.R. says Felton better than Lin

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
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J.R. Smith played in a Knicks offense run by Jeremy Lin last season.

This year, he's playing in an offense run by Raymond Felton.

So, which point guard is better? To Smith, that's an easy one to answer.

The Knicks guard said in an interview Tuesday on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM that Felton is much more adept at running the pick and roll -- a staple of New York's offense.

"He’s so much (more) dynamic in the pick and roll than Jeremy was last year," Smith said. "Just finding the lob and finding the guys in the corner for a 3 ... not always just looking for his shot."

The Knicks are off to an 8-1 starting entering Wednesday's game against Dallas, and Felton has been a big reason behind the team's success. He had 15 points, six assists and one turnover in 30 minutes in the Knicks' win over the Hornets on Tuesday. Felton and Jason Kidd have provided stability at the point for the Knicks, who have the lower per-game turnover mark in the league.

Turnovers are an area in which Lin struggled last season, even while leading the Knicks to a 10-3 mark during his remarkable "Linsanity" run last February.

Smith said Felton, who was brought in to replace Lin, is "so much different" from his predecessor at the point.

"Ray is out there, he’s attacking, attacking, attacking," Smith said. "He’s attacking to look like he’s scoring and he’s finding other people open as well as attacking to actually score."

Smith also touched on other Knicks-related topics with Kay and Don LaGreca:

ON HIS ABILITY TO PLAY WITHOUT AN EGO THIS SEASON: "Honestly it wasn’t that hard for me.

"In previous years, it’s been unbelievably hard .... (In the past), coaches would ask me to check my ego at the door and I've always played with a chip on my shoulder like nobody on this court right now is better than me.

"This year, it’s more about the team," Smith added. "It’s not about me. It’s not about my stats. It’s about the team stats. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is us getting that 'W'. I think that’s really helped."

ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MIKE WOODSON AND MIKE D'ANTONI: "All (Woodson) talks about is defense, defense, defense, [and] wanting to keep teams under 25 points per quarter. Our goal as players is under 20 per quarter."

"When coach D’Antoni was here, our thing was we should score over 120 points per game. And I think that right there is the total difference," Smith added.

"(Woodson) was there with Larry Brown. They won a championships solely on their defense (with the Pistons in 2004)," he said. "I think it’s a totally different situation."

ON JASON KIDD'S IMPACT: "Jason Kidd has been unbelievable. I've always been a fan of his, just his play how he keeps his composure. But I never really knew how much he actually knew about the game or how much he actually could teach someone one ... He taught me so much about ... finding the open man, bringing the right attitude to the court every night. He’s an ultimate pro and definitely a Hall of Famer."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.


Woody cleans up D lapses with Melo, team

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
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In the second half Tuesday night, Carmelo Anthony missed a couple of reads guarding Orlando's pick-and-roll, which prompted the defensive-minded Mike Woodson to get on his star player. From there, the Knicks clamped down and held the Magic to just eight points in the first 9:30 of the fourth quarter, en route to a 99-89 victory.

But Woodson wasn't done discussing pick-and-roll defense. The coach harped on it during Wednesday's practice at the Antioch Community Sports Complex in San Antonio, in preparation for Thursday night's game against the Spurs. He also worked with Anthony, who's guarding more screeners in P&Rs now that he's at the four spot with Amar's Stoudemire sidelined.

"Our defensive rotations weren't right and he was a part of that, and today we kind of cleaned up some things," Woodson said Tuesday during the "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco" show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.

As he always does, Woodson said that it's not just about holding the star player accountable; it's about the entire team being on the same page.

"I think all players want to be coached and it's just a matter of you pushing the right buttons," he said. "Melo wants to be coached, he wants to win, he wants to do things the right way, so it's my job to make sure that I put him in a position to be successful. Everybody's got to try to buy in and see that it works. When the system is put in place, we've got to make sure that we at least attempt to do what's asked."

Here are a few other key nuggets from Woodson's radio appearance:

On how the Knicks will maintain their edge: "The good thing about this team versus last year's team is we're a little bit deeper, and guys have bought into what we're trying to get done on the basketball floor. They've bought in off the court, too. They are committed, and that's the only way you're going to win at a high level and even put yourself in a position to win a title. They're close to one another and they want to win, so they play like they want to win, and that's why we're 5-0. But we've got a big test tomorrow night in San Antonio."

On other big differences from last season to this one: "We're not turning the ball over as much as we did last year, and we execute at a higher level. And our defense has just been solid. They are buying in and are playing smart."

On how this season's Knicks team is better suited to compete for a championship: "I think Mike (D'Antoni) was very, very successful and you can't take that away from him. I have a great deal of respect for him in terms of what he's done. But you know as well I know that defense wins titles, and that's the only way I know it because I experienced it in Detroit as a Piston. But if you can mix some offense and defense with your team, you become the total package." He credited the Spurs and Lakers for doing that, leading to multiple championships since 1999.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2