GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For the first 10 games of the 2012-13 season, the New York Knicks ranked in the top 10 in the NBA in team defense.
Then they gave up 131 points to the Houston Rockets in Game No. 11, falling to 14th in the league. The Knicks never cracked the top 10 again for the rest of the year, finishing 17th in defensive efficiency, a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions.
Coach Mike Woodson wants to change that this year, saying Friday that he believes the Knicks should finish in the top 10 in 2013-14.
"That's our goal. Without a doubt. I think if we do that we'll continue to put ourselves in position to win games," Woodson said.
Last season the Knicks' defense disintegrated, in part due to injuries to veteran big men Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. Also, Iman Shumpert, a top perimeter defender, wasn't available for the first three months of the year.
"We had so many guys in and out from injuries, we never were able to get a constant flow in practice," Woodson said.
Injuries certainly did hurt the Knicks. But there were also plenty of sequences last season when they just weren't able to get a stop, even when the team was near full health.
Woodson hopes to have a set starting five and bench rotation this year, which should help. Last year Woodson used 24 different starting lineups, which contributed to some of the breakdowns on D.
Center Tyson Chandler, for one, thinks having a set starting five will help. "I think it’s tough to adjust night in and night out, having different bodies in," Chandler said. "Obviously, you can’t help injuries, but we can prevent certain things ourselves as a team, that’s what we have to do."
QUESTION: What do you think the Knicks can do this season to improve on defense?
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