Opening Tip: Do Knicks lack pride on D?

The New York Knicks have plenty of problems on defense. For one, Tyson Chandler is hurt. Point guard Raymond Felton is less than 100 percent.

So head coach Mike Woodson could use either factor as an excuse to explain New York's defensive struggles.

But he isn't.

"I'm blaming it on the fact that we're not taking pride in guarding the ball individually," Woodson said before the Knicks' loss to the Pelicans. "That's got to be a must for you to be a good defensive team."

The Knicks are most certainly not a good defensive team right now. Entering play Monday, New York ranked 27th in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions.

They were 19th in opponent field goal percentage (45.7 percent).

And the pick-and-roll defense is particularly troubling.

According to ESPN Stats & Information's Deontay Q. Morris, the Knicks rank 20th in points allowed per play on the pick and roll (0.90). They also rank 17th in opponent field goal percentage on the pick and roll (43.1 percent).

These problems came to a head late in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans, when New York allowed New Orleans to go on a 10-0 run and take control of the game.

"It came down to our defense. We just had so many breakdowns. Again, on the ball defense, where we are just not taking pride in guarding," Woodson said. "We got to get better. To me that was the difference in the game."

Added J.R. Smith: "They were pretty much scoring at will. Especially my guy. I don't know what the hell I was doing on defense."

We appreciate the honesty, J.R.

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith

#8 SG
New York Knicks

2014 STATS

  • GM11
  • PPG11.7

  • RPG4.9

  • APG2.0

  • FG%.331

  • FT%.609

Up now: Iman Shumpert was visibly upset with Carmelo Anthony during a break in the action of the Knicks' loss to the Pelicans on Sunday.

Was Shumpert right to call Anthony out?

Knicks veterans Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace got into a verbal spat during a workout before the Pelicans game, sources say. The two forwards smoothed things over before tip-off.

Lastly, Anthony thinks the Knicks miss the leadership of Jason Kidd and others. Is there a leadership void in the Knicks' locker room?

What's next: The Knicks will practice on Tuesday to get ready for Thursday's game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Question: Do you agree with Woodson? Do you think the Knicks lack pride on defense? If that's not the issue, what do you think it is?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.