Woody: I wanted Melo to pass on final play

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
6:56
PM ET
Mike Woodson put the ball in Carmelo Anthony's hands on the New York Knicks' final possession of Friday night's messy loss to the Washington Wizards.

But the coach said on Saturday that was looking for Anthony to pass, not shoot.

Anthony was hampered by a shoulder injury all night and Woodson hoped his star could draw the attention of the defense and find an open teammate.

"I wasn't looking for Melo to make the play to shoot the ball," Woodson said on Saturday, "I was looking for Melo to make the play to pass the ball to one of the -- either Amar'e [Stoudemire] rolling and if they took Amar'e on the roll then you'd have shooters around him to make a shot but it just didn't unfold that way."

Instead, Anthony drove to the basket but lost the ball while going up for a shot.

The ball ended up in J.R. Smith's hands.

Smith took an off-balance three-pointer with 2.3 seconds to play that missed and the Knicks walked off the floor with another dispiriting last-minute loss.

Woodson said he hoped the play would have worked out like the Knicks' prior possession, when Anthony found Raymond Felton alone on the wing for an open three pointer. Bothered by a shoulder injury, Anthony had nine turnovers and just 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting against Washington so he said Saturday he was looking at Carmelo as more of a decoy.

"I figured if you put in Melo's hands and you run the pick and roll again, I knew they were going to trap him," Woodson said.

Woodson also pointed out that Smith missed a wide-open Amar'e Stoudemire underneath the basket at the end of the game.

"It was 2.6 when he let it go and Amar'e was standing naked under the bucket so what are you going to do? You drop it to him he lays it in it's game over," Woodson said.

Stoudemire was upset after the game, though he seemed to be bothered by the loss in its entirety more than the final sequence.

The defeat left the Knicks a game back of Atlanta with five to play entering Sunday's game against the Heat.

The Knicks are two games behind the Hawks in the loss column, though, and Atlanta holds the tiebreaker based on conference record.

"It's going to come down to the very end. Right now we have five games left and it's on us, it's on us," Anthony said.

Melo: "I beat myself up": Anthony wasn't happy with the way he played on Friday.

"I wanted to do more. For the most part, we played a great game. Like I said last night, J.R. Smith had a helluva game, guys just played well. I just couldn't seem to get it going last night so I kind of beat myself up about that. For whatever reason, whether it's shoulder issues or whatever reason, I beat myself up."

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
23.7 3.2 0.9 36.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.2
StealsP. Prigioni 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2