Wednesday, January 22, 2014
W2W4: Knicks vs. Sixers
By Ian Begley
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight's Knicks-Sixers game at Madison Square Garden:
Sliding to nowhere? The Knicks have lost four straight games, including the first two on their eight-game homestand. They've dropped their last three games by a combined 75 points. That's inexcusable. It's led to sniping from star players and renewed questions about Mike Woodson's job status.
If the Knicks lose tonight against the Sixers, things could get even uglier.
It's one thing to lose to Indiana or the Clippers -- or even the surging Nets -- but Philadelphia is not a good basketball team.
Michael Carter-Williams & Co. have lost three straight and seven of eight. Per STATS LLC, the Sixers have lost all three road games in that span by an average margin of 17 points. The Knicks have also won eight of 10 against Philly, so this would be a crushing home loss for New York.
Losing the locker room? Mike Woodson has been on the hot seat before. The Knicks lost nine in a row earlier in the season and some fans and some media called for the coach's head.
But, at the time, it seemed like Woodson had the support of his locker room.
It's fair to wonder now, though, if that support is eroding. Tyson Chandler has questioned the team’s strategy after its last two losses. Carmelo Anthony said the team didn't show any fight against Brooklyn and he complimented Nets coach and ex-Knick Jason Kidd for creating favorable matchups for his club.
If the Knicks fall to Philly and the locker room sniping continues, "Woody Watch" will only intensify.
Knicks owner James Dolan has twice issued a vote of confidence to Woodson this season. In the first instance, he stated that Woodson had the confidence of his players.
If that confidence is no longer there, all bets are off.
Go big or small? Woodson went with a two point guard lineup against Brooklyn on Monday. Will he stick with it against the Sixers? The Raymond Felton-Pablo Prigioni backcourt certainly didn't produce the desired results against Brooklyn.
Felton went 2-for-11 with three turnovers in 35 minutes. Prigioni, back for the first time following a 16-game absence, went 0-for-3 with three turnovers and two assists in 19 minutes.
Philadelphia has a small-ish front line (Thaddeus Young is 6-8, James Anderson is 6-6), so Woodson has the opportunity – based on matchups -- to stay with the small lineup if he so chooses.