Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Monday, November 4, 2013
Opening Tip: Stick with big lineup?

By Ian Begley

NEW YORK -- It's only three games into the season, so it's too early to draw too many sweeping conclusions. But if Sunday's game against Minnesota was an indication of things to come, maybe Mike Woodson should re-think the whole "big lineup" thing.

Woodson opted to go with a "big" starting lineup on Sunday featuring Andrea Bargnani at power forward and Carmelo Anthony at small forward.

It made sense on paper, as Minnesota has a big front line featuring Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.

But the move backfired.

With the big lineup starting the game, the Timberwolves jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first quarter while hanging 40 points on the scoreboard.

Late in the third quarter, Woodson went with a lineup featuring Pablo Prigioni and Felton in the backcourt. New York outscored Minnesota by nine when Prigioni was on the floor. The Knicks cut what had been a 25-point deficit to two but could not complete the comeback.

It's worth noting that the Knicks went 15-1 when pairing Prigioni and Felton in the back court last season. But it doesn't seem as if Woodson is committed to that lineup this season.

Right now, Woodson plans to start a "big" lineup against teams with bigger front lines, like Minnesota. He may start a smaller lineup against teams with smaller front lines.

That brings us to our question: should Woodson commit to playing the Knicks' smaller lineup more frequently? Or should he stick with the bigger lineup against bigger teams?

UP NOW: Turnovers killed the Knicks on Sunday in their loss to Minnesota. They coughed the ball up six times in the first quarter which helped the Timberwolves take a 19-point lead. It all made you wonder just how much this team misses Jason Kidd.

Afterward, Mike Woodson bemoaned the fact that the Knicks took so many threes. He'd like to see his guards -- Tim Hardaway Jr. in particular -- attack the basket more frequently.

Amar'e Stoudemire sat out Sunday night but Woodson plans to play him on Tuesday against Charlotte.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will practice on Monday to prepare for Tuesday's home game against Charlotte. Ohm Youngmisuk will be there for us.

QUESTION: Should Mike Woodson commit to playing the Knicks' smaller lineup more frequently? Or should he stick with the bigger lineup against bigger teams?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.