Friday, February 7, 2014
W2W4: Knicks vs. Nuggets
By Ian Begley
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s Knicks-Nuggets game:
Woody watch: Here we go again. Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s job security has come into question once again amid another losing streak. There has been rampant media speculation over the last few days that Woodson is on the verge of being fired.
The coach himself called this Knicks’ season a “disaster” in an interview Thursday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show.”
The Knicks (19-30) have lost three straight after winning four in a row. They are 2 1/2 games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
New York faces a challenging Denver team tonight and then hits the road to go to Oklahoma City before finishing the first half at home against Sacramento.
Going 1-4 into the All Star break surely wouldn’t do much to help Woodson’s job security.
That’s why tonight’s matchup against Denver has taken on an added air of importance.
Melo fellow: The Knicks-Nuggets trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York is nearly three years old, but it’s sure to be a topic of discussion tonight given that the Nuggets are in town.
No one can argue that the Knicks’ current struggles are Anthony’s fault.
He's averaging 29.3 points while connecting on 40.5 percent from beyond the arc in six games since setting a franchise record with 62 points in a 125-96 win over Charlotte on Jan. 24.
Anthony has struggled against Denver in his Knicks tenure. According to STATS, LLC., Anthony’s shooting 35.2 percent from the field against the Nuggets -- that’s the lowest career shooting percentage against any opponent in Anthony’s career.
J.R. revival:J.R. Smith has been a different player since he was benched for trying to untie his opponent’s shoelaces and being late for a team meeting. He’s averaging 18.1 points on 47 percent shooting since being benched against Charlotte on Jan. 14. Smith has hit 46 percent of his 3-point attempts in that span.
Smith, an ex-Nugget, struggled during the Knicks’ loss to Denver on Nov. 29. He had just 11 points and missed six of seven field goals. Smith seems to be fully healthy following offseason knee surgery now. He was still struggling with his knee during the first Nuggets meeting.
Will Ray play?Raymond Felton has averaged five points on 23 percent shooting in 29 minutes in his last two games. Felton's struggles have impacted his playing time. He was benched for the fourth quarter of the Knicks' loss to Portland. It will be interesting to see how Woodson uses Felton tonight.
"He’s just got to keep working and work himself through it," Woodson said after Thursday's practice. "It’s not something that’s just going to happen. He’s got to demonstrate it in practice and he’s got to carry it over to the game."