<
>

Knicks' D? 'Unacceptable,' says Woodson

11/24/2012

HOUSTON -- Awful. Unacceptable. Frustrating.

Those were the words flying around the New York Knicks' locker room late Friday night. And it had nothing to do with losing to Jeremy Lin.

It was all about getting embarrassed on defense in a 28-point loss to Lin's Houston Rockets.

"It's unacceptable," a weary Mike Woodson said after the Knicks' loss in Houston. "An awful, awful performance on our part."

Just how bad was it? The Knicks gave up a season-high 131 points against Houston, the most points they've allowed in Woodson's 39 games as head coach (playoffs included). New York (8-3) allowed the Rockets to hit 52 percent of their shots and an eye-popping 56 percent from beyond the arc.

None of the Knicks was happy with how they played defensively.

But perhaps Carmelo Anthony summed it up best.

"Tonight was a good, old-fashioned ass-whupping," he said.

The Knicks jumped out to an NBA-best 8-1 record on the strength of their defense. After nine games, they ranked in the top five in several defensive categories, including opponent field goal percentage and points allowed per 100 possessions. But that kind of defense has been nonexistent in the past two games -- both losses.

In the past six quarters, the Knicks have allowed 35, 30, 35, 37, 32 and 27 points.

"Giving up 30-something points [per quarter], that's not our identity. We got to get back to what we do best," Anthony said after scoring a game-high 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting.

The cracks started to form during Wednesday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, when the Knicks allowed the Mavs to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and hit 45 percent of their 3-point attempts.

And it just got worse Friday against Houston, when the Rockets torched the Knicks for 72 points in the first half and shot 52 percent from the floor overall, including 14 of 25 3-pointers.

"Tonight was just, they beat us in every way you can beat a team," Woodson said. "I know throughout the course of a year, a season, you have games like this. But it's not acceptable. We just weren't ready to play, and that's on me."

James Harden torched the Knicks for 33 points and went 16-for-16 from the free throw line. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 31 points on 13-of-17 shooting. The Knicks were outscored in the paint 54-36 and were outrebounded 49-30.

Lin chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Knicks were routinely beat off the dribble by Harden, Parsons and, at times, Lin. Secondary help to prevent penetration had been a staple of their defense in the first nine games.

"They're getting in the heart of our defense," center Tyson Chandler said. "They're allowing offensive rebounds, easy shots on the perimeter, dump-offs for layups, just a lot of easy baskets. Early in the year we were making things tough; now we're letting guys in easy."

A few minutes after the game, someone asked Woodson to describe what he saw from his team on the defensive end.

"What you saw," he said to the reporter, "nothing."