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Thursday, December 19, 2013
JVG: 'Ludicrous' to fire Woodson for gaffe

By Ian Begley

Some people think coach Mike Woodson's failure to call timeout before the Knicks' final possession in their loss to the Wizards on Monday is a fireable offense.

Jeff Van Gundy wasn't one of them.

In fact, the ESPN NBA analyst called the idea "ludicrous" in a conference call to discuss Christmas Day storylines for games broadcast on ABC and ESPN.

Mike Woodson
Would you fire Knicks coach Mike Woodson for Monday's mistake?
"The thing that really irritated me was even if somebody had the opinion that it was a mistake, to then go from it being a mistake to 'a fireable offense' is ludicrous," Van Gundy said. "You don't cut a player or trade a player because they make a mistake under pressure in an NBA game, nor should there be an overreaction if there was a coaching mistake made."

Woodson came under fire Monday night when he neglected to call a timeout after the Wizards took the lead on an open layup by Bradley Beal with 6.9 seconds to play. Instead of getting a break in the action to set up a play, Carmelo Anthony took a low-percentage running shot from beyond the arc.

Some felt that Woodson's gaffe, combined with the Knicks' poor performance to that point, was grounds for the coach to lose his job.

"I think right now everybody has their sights set on what Mike Woodson needs to do better, but what really needs to happen is they need to get their roster intact," Van Gundy said. "When they’re healthy, they need to play a lot better."

The Knicks are currently playing without Raymond Felton (hamstring), Pablo Prigioni (toe) and Kenyon Martin (abdominal muscle).

They are 8-17. The poor performance has led to speculation about Woodson's job security. Van Gundy, a former Knicks coach, has been mentioned as a potential replacement.

"I don't really think like that," Van Gundy said when asked about a return to coaching. "I just think about what I'm doing today. I had three breakfast tacos, I’m going to the Rice game at 11:30 and I’m doing a Christmas game. I don't think too far ahead. There are some aspects of coaching I miss. The competition, the camaraderie with the coaching staff, but I enjoy what I do very much right now."

Woodson says 'true fans' can 'understand' Knicks' struggles: Woodson has said that he'd like to see what the Knicks can do when the team is whole.

He thinks "true fans" of the team "understand" why New York is in an 8-17 hole.

"I try to be a realist in terms of what's facing me from a coaching standpoint and I think true fans who understand what's going on, they accept, they don't accept losing -- I don't want anyone to ever accept losing, but they accept what's going on around me," Woodson said Thursday in an interview with "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "And then there are the people that don't accept that because we've won the last two years, and that's OK too."

No harsh words for Bargnani: During his radio interview, Woodson said he didn't yell at Andrea Bargnani after his ill-fated 3-point attempt late in the first overtime of the Knicks' victory Wednesday night over the Bucks.

"He just went blank. Again, it happens in sports," Woodson said. "You don't beat him over the head and say 'What the hell are you doing?' I thought his teammates rallied around him, we rallied around him from a coaching standpoint -- we said, 'Hey, let's get a stop here, and if it goes to overtime we've got to try to win it in overtime, get it back,' and eventually we were able to get that done." ... Woodson said he will no longer address what happened in the final two possessions of the Knicks' loss to the Wizards. He says he was "ridiculed a lot" in the aftermath and he'd like his team to move forward.

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