Knicks must play 'almost perfect' hoops

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
6:00
PM ET
Mike Woodson Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsWell, at least according to Mike Woodson.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Mike Woodson believes the New York Knicks may have to play almost "perfect basketball to win."

When asked about Brandon Knight's game-winning 3-pointer over Raymond Felton during Monday's 101-98 loss in Milwaukee, Woodson talked about how it should have never come down to that shot and how the Knicks need to play near-flawless basketball in order to win now.

“When I reviewed the tape it should never have gotten to that based on how we played,” Woodson said. “Those are the things that creep in, the little things that hurt you. We missed a lot of free throws, you could point the finger at [those] as well. Again, right now we’ve got to play almost perfect basketball to win, and that’s OK, but we’ve got to get that accomplished.”

The Knicks are coming off perhaps their worst loss of the season. But entering Tuesday night’s games, the Knicks were just a game and a half out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Still, Woodson knows that time is running out. The Knicks (19-29) have 34 games remaining in the season to either catch the Raptors and Nets in the Atlantic Division or secure a spot in the top eight in the conference.

“I don’t think any one of us can sit here and beg and hope that somebody loses,” Woodson said. “I don’t like coaching like that. I like to control our own destiny. You sit home and hope that Toronto loses, or Brooklyn loses. I mean hell, we’ve just got to worry about ourselves and make it happen for ourselves; then you sleep better at night."

Even though the Knicks just lost to a team that won only for the second time in its past 17 games, Woodson wants his players to know that it’s still not too late to make the playoffs.

“We’ve had our struggles,” Woodson said. “With the injuries and inconsistent play in terms of our different rotations -- it’s just been a combination of things. My job as the coach is to get these guys over the hump. We’re still in position. It’s not like it’s the last week or two weeks of the season where we don’t have a shot in making the playoffs. We still have a legitimate shot to make it.”

Of course, the Knicks have to be more consistent and their margin for error is getting smaller with each loss.

“You never want to get to this point where you got to apply more pressure to win,” Amar'e Stoudemire said. “But we put ourselves in this position. So now we really got to focus in now to get these wins. And we got tough games coming up.”
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2