Jason Kidd's absence on Wednesday night against the Magic was a popular topic during Mike Woodson's pregame press conference. The 39-year-old is sidelined with a sore lower back.
Woodson said Kidd will be re-evaluated on Thursday, and expects the point guard to return on Friday against the Bucks. When he does, the coach would like to keep him between 20 and 25 minutes a game. He said there could be some times where he may play up to 30 if the team needs him down the stretch.
"Kidd has been a trooper about it in terms of giving us what he's got," Woodson said.
"He brings defense," he said. "He's very athletic in terms of getting up and down the floor."
He talked about White having to potentially guard Orlando's leading scorer, small forward Arron Afflalo (16.7 points per game), but he's out with a strained left calf. Still, Woodson knows what he's up against.
"They play hard," he said. "It's a team that competes. They're a young team. They get after it and this won't be an easy game tonight. I mean, no game is easy to me in this league."
DEFENSE IS KEY FOR BACKCOURT: Woodson was asked about the Knicks' starting backcourt tonight featuring Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, and he said defense is the key. That's especially true because the team was burned in back-to-back games by opposing point guards Jrue Holiday (35 points) and Jeff Teague (27 points).
"Him and Raymond are going to have to figure it out together as a one and two combo in terms of controlling the backcourt defensively, because that's where it starts," Woodson said.
GOALS BEFORE ALL-STAR WEEKEND: 9-2. Last week, that's the record the team set out to accomplish from then until Feb. 13 -- their last game before the break. Woodson said they've stayed the course.
"We started a goal a week ago when we had 11 ball games before the break," he said. "We wanted to try to come out of that 9-2, and then come back after the break and start the final run. We're on pace; we're right where we need to be."
HOW WILL AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE AND TYSON CHANDLER PLAY TOGETHER? Woodson discussed how the duo can flourish on the court at the same time.
"We can play around Amar'e on the block and you play shooters around him, and Tyson being on the backside to clean up things, or dive in and look for soft spots in the defense where they're doubling," he said. "Right now, teams are not doubling STAT, so he's just been able to play one-on-one, get to the rim, and score and get fouled. That's good for us I think because he's an excellent free throw shooter."
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