GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Mike Woodson has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month, the NBA announced on Thursday.
It was the first time a Knicks coach was recognized for the honor since Pat Riley in March 1994.
Woodson led the Knicks to an 8-2 record in April, tied for the most wins in the month with the Heat, the top team in the Eastern Conference. In addition, the Knicks beat four East playoff teams -- the Heat, Pacers, Hawks (twice) and Bucks -- and finished the season 54-28. It was the first time they surpassed the 50-win mark since 1999-2000.
"I think guys are excited," Woodson said after Thursday's practice. "This is a fun time of the year. We put so much work into the summer development program that we had, getting ready for [veteran's] camp, and it's been long, grueling regular season. It's been a roller coaster, but we've maintained and held in there as a team. We put ourselves in the best position possible ... Now the playoffs are here. We played to have home-court advantage throughout the first two rounds, and it starts Saturday, so we have to defend our court."
Tyson Chandler said this team is better than last season's.
"Last year, we were assembled late, we were assembled in a lockout season and we had to get to learn each other," he said. "I had never played with [Carmelo Anthony] and Amar'e [Stoudemire], and then we just put all these pieces together. Now to have gone through a great year and have the cast that we have, this is a confident team."
Raymond Felton now gets his first crack at making a deep playoff run in New York. He was traded to Denver in Feb. 2011, as part of the Melo blockbuster deal, and he didn't get a chance that season.
"I look forward to it," he said. "I never wanted to leave the first time, so to have the opportunity to come back and have a successful season that we had, to be able to go out there for that first playoff game, it's going to be amazing for sure."
WELCOME BACK!: Patrick Ewing, who appeared as an MSG Network analyst for two games in late March, will return for Game 2's postgame coverage.
NO ACTORS ALLOWED: The NBA has announced its anti-flopping disciplinary schedule for the postseason. The fines for Violations 1 through 4 are $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $30,000, respectively. If a player violates the rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
The anti-flopping rule, initiated this season, had 24 violations, and 14 players received warnings and five players received a $5,000 fine for violating the rule twice.
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