Woody may stick with small lineup


For most of the season, Mike Woodson was committed to playing a “big” lineup with Andrea Bargnani, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler on the front line.

Since Bargnani went down with an elbow injury, the Knicks have gone small. And Woodson likes what he sees.

In fact, he hinted earlier this week that he may play the small ball lineup for the rest of the season.

“I think the small lineup, we know that that works. Hey, I don’t know if I’ll even go back, go away from it at this time. I don’t know,” Woodson said on Thursday. “I know with big lineups I like Bargnani at that spot. That was the reason for bringing him over. We just haven’t had a chance to have that core group where we could develop some chemistry together. We haven’t had a chance to do that.”

With Bargnani out, Anthony has slid to power forward in the Knicks’ three guard lineup.

In the past four games, playing small ball, the Knicks are scoring 125 points per 100 possessions. That rate would lead the league by a large margin. For the season, New York’s averaging 103.7 points per 100 possessions, the 16th best rate in the league.

J.R. says athleticism not all the way back: If you watched the Knicks game on Thursday, you probably would think J.R. Smith's surgically-repaired knee is no longer an issue. After all, Smith threw down two highlight-reel dunks in the Knicks’ rout of Cleveland.

But Smith said after the game that he still has room to improve.

“I’ve still got a little bit to go, a lot of rehab left. Fortunately, it’s not bothering me as much as it was earlier on and hopefully it stays like that,” Smith said. “Before, I couldn’t really move around like I wanted to get to my moves, certain moves. Now I’m getting more comfortable and acclimated to it so I’m definitely getting more confident.”

Smith has scored 16.4 points on 45 percent shooting in his past eight games.

Silver’s signature move: New NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to be at Madison Square Garden for tonight’s Knicks-Heat game. Basketballs with the new commissioner’s signature are expected to debut tonight as well.

The “Silver” basketballs were sent to all 30 teams in November and have been used in practice to give teams the necessary time to break the balls into game shape. They have the exact same dimensions as the previous balls used in the NBA. The only difference is the commissioner's signature. Teams will still use David Stern-signed basketballs during practices.

Both balls are made by Spalding and produced in the same factories. Also, every ball is factory bounced 50 times and must meet standards for circumference and weight.

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