Thursday, March 15, 2012
Woodson: I'll hold Knicks accountable
By Ian Begley
If nothing else, Mike Woodson's Knicks will be held accountable.
Woodson made that point loud and clear after his first game as the team's interim head coach.
"I'm going to do everything I can possibly do to win basketball games, that's my job," Woodson said. "I'm going to be held accountable and I'm going to make damn sure that (the players are) held accountable to win."
Woodson got his first win as Knicks coach on Wednesday night, a 121-79 rout of Portland -- the Knicks' largest margin of victory this year. Woodson took over as head coach on an interim basis for Mike D'Antoni, who decided to step down as head coach on Wednesday afternoon.
In Woodson's first night on the bench, the Knicks (19-24) snapped a six-game losing streak and dished out a season-high 35 assists in the process.
Afterward, the ex-Atlanta head coach had mixed emotions.
"It's kind of an emotional day when you lose your head coach," he said.
Before the game, Woodson things would be 'a little different' while he's running the show.
In particular, he mentioned getting Amare Stoudemire more opportunities in the paint and giving Carmelo Anthony more chances to work in the post.
Both Anthony and Stoudemire had 15 points in the first half on Wednesday. Stoudemire made all seven of his attempts and Anthony went 6-for-11 from the field.
"Tonight, it was a different system," Anthony said in comparing Woodson's system to D'Antoni's. "Everybody felt comfortable out there tonight. Ya'll saw it out there, everybody was smiling, having fun."
Woodson gave ten players at least 14 minutes during Wednesday night's blowout, but made it clear after the game that players will have to produce to get playing time.
"I tell guys on this team now that you better cherish the minutes that you get, make the most of them," said Woodson, who served as an assistant coach under D'Antoni for the first 43 games of the season. "Because if you don't, I might not come back that way. That's just the nature of this business. I'm trying to win, I want these guys to win for the city of New York. That's the only way it should be."
Woodson spoke strongly about accountability, but said he never believed that D'Antoni failed to hold players responsible for their mistakes during his time on the bench.
"I'm not going question anything that Mike D'Antoni did," Woodson said. "I thought he did an excellent job. Unfortunately he felt the way he felt and he moved on. I sat right next to him. And it's my job now, as the head coach, to continue to push. I don't know any other way."