Opening Tip: Time for a lineup change?

December, 30, 2013
12/30/13
8:00
AM ET
Mike Woodson seemed to send a message late in Saturday's game against Toronto.

With the Knicks down double digits against the Raptors, Woodson went with Toure' Murry over Beno Udrih at point guard and left Andrea Bargnani on the bench.

The group on the floor cut the Raptors lead to six before the comeback stalled on a Murry flagrant foul.

After the game, Woodson gave a telling quote to reporters in Toronto.

"At this stage right now, I'm about guys that are gonna play hard," the coach said.

He didn't mention any names, but it's fair to wonder if he was calling out Bargnani and Udrih for a lack of effort. Both sat on the bench in the fourth quarter. Bargnani played just four minutes in the second half and had just three rebounds in 18 minutes.

"We're not going to win consistently if we don't defend and rebound the ball," Woodson said.

Could Woodson be considering a lineup change?

It's worth noting that the Knicks are being outscored by 4.4 points per 36 minutes with Bargnani on the floor and outscored by 7.3 points per 36 minutes with Udrih on the floor.

Of course, those statistics don't paint a complete picture of either player because basketball is played with five men on each side, not one on one. And the Knicks on the season are being outscored by 4.5 points per game.

But both Bargnani and Udrih have struggled defensively.

Udrih (and Murry, for that matter) had a tough time containing Toronto's Kyle Lowry on Saturday. The one-time Knicks trade target had 32 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Udrih had five points and three assists in 21 minutes.

The Knicks are shorthanded at point guard due to injuries to Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. So Woodson has been forced to play Udrih.

But the emergence of Murry gives Woodson the option of lowering Udrih's minutes, if he chooses. Murry had 11 points, six assists and three steals in 27 minutes and appears to grow more comfortable by the game.

Up now: Mike Woodson and the Knicks are hopeful that Carmelo Anthony will be ready for Thursday's game against San Antonio. He's missed three games with a left ankle injury.

With the Knicks inching closer to signing Jeremy Tyler, they are strongly considering cutting Chris Smith to make room on the 15-man roster.

The Knicks are 0-2 since James Dolan's pep talk.

What's next: The Knicks will have three days to practice before heading to Texas for a three-game road trip against the Spurs, Rockets and Mavericks.

Question: If you're Mike Woodson, would you bench Bargnani? What about Udrih? What would your starting five be?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.1 3.1 0.9 35.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.0
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.6
StealsS. Larkin 1.3
BlocksL. Amundson 1.9