GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Mike Woodson says the Knicks are playing better basketball over the past month-plus.
But the Knicks coach is hoping that his players are able to stay focused and not let negative thoughts creep into their heads over the next week and a half.
With the Feb. 20 trading deadline looming, it is easy for players on a losing team to fret about whether they will be traded. Players also can get distracted with this weekend’s All-Star break coming.
“Let’s not hope that things -- bad things -- will drift in,” Woodson said. “At the end of the day, I think our guys are in a good place in terms of their thinking. We are playing better basketball. I think out of our last 20 games we’re one over .500. It’s some positive things.
"I’m looking at the short term -- last 10 games, last 20 games -- and see where we are as a ballclub,” Woodson added. “And we are a lot better than we were when we started the season and played the first 30 games.”
Since Jan. 2, the Knicks are 11-10. They have been very streaky, however. They put together a five-game winning streak only to lose five straight. The Knicks (20-31) followed that up with four consecutive wins. But the Knicks have dropped three of the last four games since that last winning streak.
“I think at the end of the day we’ve kind of dug a hole,” Woodson said. “Only we can dig out of the hole. And I think we still can in terms of making it to the playoffs and that’s the only thing that should be on anybody’s mind at this point.
“Sacramento’s the next opponent,” Woodson added of Wednesday’s home game. “We’ve got to get mentally and physically ready for those guys and then we’ve got two or three days off to think about and reflect where we are as a ballclub and go from there.”
Recovery day: Woodson said the Knicks used Monday’s practice day as a recovery day.
“Young guys got an opportunity to run up and down,” Woodson said. “And then we had a chance to walk through some things based on our game last night where we had breakdowns defensively and get some shots up. It was a good day.”