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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Melo backs Woody; Smith snaps slump

By Ian Begley



NEW YORK -- Some will be calling for Mike Woodson's job in the wake of the New York Knicks' disastrous one-point loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday.

But Knicks star Carmelo Anthony believes his coach is safe.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's secure right now. I haven't heard anything," Anthony said Monday night after initially declining to answer a question about Woodson's status. "There's nothing to discuss. He's our coach, and we're rolling with him."

Woodson's job security has come into question in recent weeks with the Knicks (7-17) playing well below expectations. Woodson and the Knicks' late-game errors Monday will only put more heat on the coach.

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J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points in Monday's loss.
J.R. bounces back: There weren't many things for the Knicks to be happy about in the wake of Monday's loss.

But one positive was the play of J.R. Smith.

Two days after being benched in the fourth quarter and three days after taking only one shot in 24 minutes, Smith poured in 18 points on 6-for-16 shooting and added six assists. He finally resembled the guy that the Knicks signed to an $18 million contract in the offseason.

"I was getting the same shots. The same looks. It just so happened they were falling tonight," Smith said. "It just felt good coming out of my hand and I just got a lot of shots off earlier this morning."

Smith hit two big 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the Knicks erase a 15-point deficit. He added two more 3s in the fourth quarter to give the Knicks a cushion they couldn't maintain. Smith's 18-point output was his highest in nearly three weeks.

Earlier in the week, Smith took some heat from the coaching staff for his shot selection, a league source confirmed. Woodson and his staff weren't pleased with Smith's shot selection, so they pointed out some of the poor shots Smith took last Wednesday against Chicago, according to a league source. That followed a verbal argument between Woodson and Smith on the bench, according to the New York Daily News.

Smith seemed to be playing in protest in the Knicks' next game against Boston. He attempted just one shot in 26 minutes.

Woodson did not want to address any issue between himself and Smith and Monday.

"J.R. and I are fine," the coach said.

Leading man: Carmelo Anthony led five Knicks in double figures with 32 points. Anthony has led the team in scoring in all 24 games this season, matching the longest streak since Nate "Tiny" Archibald did it in 1972-73. ... Tim Hardaway had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting in 21 minutes. ... Beno Udrih had 12 off the bench. ... Metta World Peace played just three minutes, 13 seconds.

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