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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Opening tip: Woody's starters

By Ohm Youngmisuk

Kenyon Martin is expected to be available Tuesday against Cleveland.

If Martin (ankle) can play after missing Sunday's game and Monday's practice, head coach Mike Woodson says he will start alongside Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani.

But if Martin were to be unexpectedly not available, Woodson will have to find a better starting five than the one he trotted out with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. against the Celtics. That starting unit fell behind by 18-1 and 25-3 in the first quarter. The Knicks completely failed to show up for that game.

"I had to change everything up because of Kenyon not playing the other night," Woodson said of his plan going into the game. "Putting Timmy in the lineup, I did it because of their second unit with [Gerald] Wallace and [Jeff] Green -- who they play a lot in the second unit. I thought it would be a better matchup for Iman and J.R. [Smith] coming back. But nothing worked. It was just -- you can blame it on coach I guess. It was awful from the very beginning. I thought we let shots dictate how we played early."

Woodson just has to find a starting five that is going to give him the right blend of energy, effort and defense. When the Knicks miss shots, too often they will struggle on the defensive end as well. And that is just unacceptable for Woodson, who wants his team to always put forth the effort on the defensive end.

"As guys got to pressing early when they missed shots, and then execution became non existent," Woodson said. "And that can’t happen. And when you are missing shots, you guys look a lot of the offense, I look at defense. If you can’t score, then you got to damn sure make sure that they don’t score. And we didn’t do that."

Woodson is hoping that soon enough, he won't have any decisions to make with his starting five when Tyson Chandler returns.

"If Kenyon plays, yes, I am going to go back with my regular starting lineup with Kenyon starting," Woodson said of tonight's lineup. "When Tyson gets back, then Tyson will go into the starting role and Kenyon will anchor the second team. I am desperately trying to get to those nine to 10 guys if I can."

Up now: Chandler went through most of his first practice without scrimmaging on Monday. Today marks the five-week mark since he broke his leg.

Woodson says he is the right guy for Knicks job and up for the task after his team was blown out on Sunday by the Celtics.

Felton has Woodson's back, voicing his support for his coach. Ian Begley also has a piece on Felton's work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Like or dislike? Are the orange jerseys to blame for the Knicks' woes?

Up next: The Knicks play the Cavaliers tonight at Cleveland. They are looking to save face after Sunday's debacle.

Question of the day: What do you think should be Woodson's starting five until Chandler returns? Let us know below.