New York Knicks: Raymond Felton
But Raymond Felton doesn't think firing Woodson is the right call -- particularly in the middle of the season.
Felton is fiercely loyal to Woodson. He doesn't think it's wise to bring in a new coach for several reasons. For one, Felton thinks it would be tough to adjust to a new voice while the team is struggling.
"When you're down right now, you'd like to have a person that you understand and you know and try to work at it together," the point guard said. "That's a decision I don't make. I hope it doesn't happen. I really don't. Everybody else in the locker room feels the same way.
"If it was up to us, we'll say 'No, let's figure this thing out together.'"
“There was speculation last week that Woodson would be fired if the Knicks lost to the Brooklyn Nets. They entered the game with an NBA worst 3-13 record.
When you're down right now, you'd like to have a person that you understand and you know and try to work at it together. That's a decision I don't make. I hope it doesn't happen. I really don't. Everybody else in the locker room feels the same way.” -- Raymond Felton, on keeping Mike Woodson
Woodson earned some breathing room with wins over the Nets and Magic last week. But questions over his job security arose again Sunday after the Knicks (4-15) were blown out by Boston.
Woodson is under contract for next season, but many that isn't likely to impede owner James Dolan if he wants to make a change.
Injuries 'hinder' Felton: Felton has been dealing with shooting pain in his hip for the past month.
He doesn't want to use the injury as an excuse, but he said last week that it is affecting his lateral movement and speed off the dribble.
"Once you step on the court, there's no excuses," Felton said last Wednesday. "If your hip or your leg is hindering you moving laterally, then it is what it is. If it's hindering you on the extra quick first step that you normally have, then it is what it is.
"The shooting pain is still there at times even when I walk -- I'm just at the point now that it is what it is. There's no time to complain … I'm trying to block it out out of my head, even when it hits me, I'm just trying to ignore it."
Felton missed four games in late November due to the injury.
Since coming back from the injury, he's averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 points assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field.
He was asked if he'd consider sitting out to let the injury heal.
"This is not the time to sit out," he said. "I need to be there for my teammates."
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Woodson admitted on “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show” Wednesday that he may have to rein in Smith a bit more with the shooter’s recent struggles.
“That’s true,” Woodson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “He has had his struggles based on his injuries and not going to camp as well. We are trying to get him back going. He struggled the other night and there is no doubt about that and maybe Iman [Shumpert] should have been on the floor.
“I've got to evaluate that a little closely because he has been slow the last couple of days of practice based on his knee, his injury,” Woodson continued. “So we probably are going to have to rein him back and not give him so many other minutes.”
Woodson said that “opens the door” for rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. to play more and Shumpert to see more consistent minutes perhaps.
The Knicks have lost nine-straight games, and they need Smith to rediscover his shot. Smith missed 7-of-11 shots and scored 12 points but had four fouls and three turnovers in a loss to the Pelicans on Sunday. He played 34 minutes, while Shumpert logged just 21 minutes.
Shumpert did not play in the final 17:51 as Woodson went with Smith and Hardaway. Coincidentally, Shumpert did not play after appearing agitated with Carmelo Anthony during a timeout following a defensive breakdown.
“Had nothing to do with it,” Woodson said of the incident and Shumpert sitting in the fourth. “It was strictly Melo’s fault in that instance. No, that had nothing to do with it at all.”
“That is what I elected to do,” Woodson explained of Shumpert not playing the fourth. “My job is not to explain it to you why I do things. I don’t mean that in a smart way. That is the way I elected to go and it just didn’t work out that way.”
Smith is averaging 11.7 points but just 33 percent shooting overall and only 29.6 percent shooting from behind the arc in 31.7 minutes a game. Smith says he still experiences some swelling in his surgically-repaired knee but that he is trying to manage it so he can play.
Woodson was asked if Smith has been a disappointment thus far.
“I don’t know if disappointment is the word to use,” Woodson said. “Here is a player who was a big part of what we did last year and I know what he is going through because I am on the inside. Yes do we need J.R. to play at a high level, well we need Melo and Iman, Raymond [Felton], when Tyson [Chandler] gets back, we need everybody to play at a high level like we were winning last year. It is not just JR. It is a total team effort, total coaching effort.”
Up now: Carmelo thinks the Knicks have been the laughingstock of the league so far this season. And he wants to stop giving people a reason to laugh at the Knicks, starting tonight in Brooklyn.
Woodson doesn’t think any of the Knicks have quit, despite a nine-game losing streak.
Johnette Howard writes that in tonight's East River rivalry, we'll see who stinks more: Knicks or Nets.
What’s next: It’s a big one, but not because it’s a showdown between two good teams. The Knicks make the short trip to Brooklyn for a clash between two over-hyped and underachieving teams tonight at 7 p.m.
If the Knicks lose, they’ll drop their 10th straight game, and there’s plenty of speculation swirling around Woodson’s job status if the Knicks can’t find a way to beat the struggling Nets, who have plenty of their own issues. James Dolan might lose it if the Knicks lose. But we should see the Knicks come out as the more desperate team against a Nets team that could be without Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko due to injuries.
Question of the day: What do you think Woodson should do with his shooting guard rotation? Should he keep riding Smith or play Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. more?
The Knicks (3-13) are riding a nine-game slide into what will feel like a must-win game against struggling Brooklyn (5-13) on Thursday night. Van Gundy, an ESPN analyst, says the Knicks’ problem is not Woodson but rather “a very limited roster.”
“Listen, Mike Woodson, I believe I have my numbers right, was 18-6 when he took over for Mike D’Antoni,” the former Knicks coach said on “The Mike Lupica Show” on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “Then he won a division title last year. Then they made some roster moves, had some injuries and so now they are starting Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, [Carmelo] Anthony, [Raymond] Felton and [Iman] Shumpert. That is the strength of their team.
“Their depth, with some of these injuries, is non-existent,” Van Gundy continued. “Listen this isn’t a coaching issue right now. This is a roster issue. ... The last problem the Knicks have -- the very last problem -- is a coaching issue. Mike Woodson is an outstanding basketball coach who has done an outstanding job. So how can a guy that went from brilliant, be on the proverbial hot seat 16 games into the next season?”
“To a point [the Knicks can turn things around], they can make the playoffs,” Van Gundy said. “But it is a limited roster, very limited roster, with guys who are on the downside of their career. To do it, [Tyson] Chandler has to come back and be really good.
“Carmelo Anthony has to get really efficient offensively and some of the guys who are really struggling shooting the ball are going to have to spread the floor for Anthony so he has enough room to do his work. And they are going to have to shoot the three-point shot a lot better.”
Van Gundy also shot down any notion of him returning to rescue the Knicks if things go south with Woodson.
“Some people think I am behind the scenes plotting my return,” Van Gundy said. “My goodness.”
And he has a point since the offense can get too stagnant and many times a shot is being jacked up without a second pass. But Raymond Felton counters the argument that the Knicks aren't moving the ball enough with the fact that their best player excels in isolation and led the league in scoring last year.
"No, not at all," Felton said when asked if the Knicks are too isolation-oriented on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "We got one of the best isolation players in the league. And we need him to score the basketball. If that means giving him the ball in the post and letting him do his thing and create a double team for us to get some open shots, then that is what we need him to do."
Felton has a point as well. But there has to be a balance. The Knicks' two best offensive options -- Anthony and J.R. Smith -- are guys that need the ball and like to create their own shot. So things can slow down when they have the ball in their hands. But if either gets hot, Anthony or Smith can force defenses to double, opening up things for others.
Mike Woodson has to find the kind of balance he had early last season when Jason Kidd was his point guard and moving the ball. Stoudemire has a point when he says that ball movement can get other guys into a better flow and rhythm. Of course, Woodson also has his own argument about the Knicks' woes and it has nothing to do with ball movement.
"I always look at the defensive end first because that is where it starts," Woodson said on "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "We are not making a commitment. Regardless of what any player says on this team, it has got to be a commitment on the defensive end and rebounding the ball. If you watched that game [against Portland], we had a major problem with second-chance points."
Up now: Woodson doesn't think he has lost the Knicks' locker room despite Amar'e's ball movement concerns and Melo saying the Knicks aren't having any fun.
Felton says he is "95-percent" sure he will play against the Clippers and he defends Woodson.
Iman Shumpert looks lost to Woodson.
The odds are against the Knicks and Nets of making a deep postseason run after such a slow start.
David Stern, though, says to give the Knicks and Nets time to turn things around.
What's next: The Knicks try to snap a six-game losing streak against Chris Paul and the Clippers in L.A. at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Question of the day: Alright guys, put on your coaching hats and tell us what you would do to get the Knicks' offense going -- call for more ball movement or more isolation plays for Anthony and Smith and others? Let us know below.
The Knicks need Felton after losing their sixth straight game in Portland on Monday night. Following that game, Amar'e Stoudemire said he was frustrated and pointed out that the Knicks needed to move the ball better. Coach Mike Woodson said he would address Stoudemire's comments with the team and remarks made by Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony that the Knicks weren't having any fun with all the losing.
Woodson said he doesn't think he has lost his locker room. Felton agreed.
"No, he hasn’t [lost the locker room]," Felton said. "We still respect Coach [Woodson]. ... He definitely hasn't lost us, at all. We love him as a coach, we love him as a mentor, we love him as a father figure. Everything you can think about. We love Coach Woodson."
Felton said he spoke to Stoudemire, and the Knicks talked to one another at practice on Tuesday about the comments that were made before and after the loss to Portland. Felton said he is to blame for the lack of ball movement.
"It’s my fault, I am going to take the blame for that," Felton said about the ball movement. "Even though I haven’t been playing [due to injuries], I am going to take the blame for that. It is my job to make sure the ball is moving and it is my job to make sure guys are getting shots. It is my job to make sure the offense is moving fully.
"Coach Woodson has a great offense and he never tells nobody you can't shoot, you can't dribble the ball and make a play. We just got to as a team run the system and go with the ball. And that is my job. I am going to take the blame on that. That’s all on Raymond."
Felton also said the Knicks are not panicking, even though J.R. Smith said last week that he was personally panicking about the Knicks' slow start.
"I am here to tell you we are not panicking," Felton said. "Not at all. We had a great practice today, everybody is positive."
Felton injured his hip against San Antonio on Nov. 10 when he was hit on a screen.
Beno Udrih will start at point guard for the Knicks (3-7) against the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks will also be without Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire is sitting out on Wednesday because it's the second game of a back to back.
Felton is considered day-to-day by the team.
He first injured his hamstring in the preseason.
Both the hip and hamstring injuries have impacted Felton's performance this season.
The veteran point guard is shooting just 37 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
As for Stoudemire, Woodson said the veteran forward will go through a "hard" practice on Thursday to prepare him for Saturday's game against Washington.
Stoudemire told reporters in Detroit that his minutes limit had been lifted by the medical staff to 20-25 minutes.
But Woodson denied that was the case.
However, the coach said he hopes to get increase Stoudemire's minutes limit to 20-25 eventually.
"If I can get him to about 20-25 minutes -- how I'm going to get there I don't know -- then he might be able to pass that thing where we can play him back-to-back. But we're not there yet," Woodson said.
Woody says ref blew call vs. Pistons: Woodson said he wants his players to avoid chirping at the refs. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony both received technical fouls on Tuesday. But Woodson backed Anthony, who was upset that referee Danny Crawford missed a call on an Anthony three-point play.
"There were a few calls that were questionable. I know the three-point play that Danny blew, it was obvious it was a three-point play," Woodson said. "Melo was ticked off from that. It's frustrating. But all I can do is tell our players to back off officials and I got to let them alone and we just got to play."
Woodson also suggested that Anthony was overcompensating against Detroit.
"He had seven turnovers last night, something that’s just not Melo-like. Maybe he was trying to do too much," Woodson said.
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The New York Knicks' season-long nightmare continued on Tuesday night.
They couldn't stop Rodney Stuckey, struggled on offense and failed to quell Detroit's front line in a 92-86 loss to the Pistons.
New York has lost three straight and four of five heading into a Wednesday night matchup against -- gulp -- the 9-1 Indiana Pacers.
Miffed Melo: Carmelo Anthony struggled mightily from the floor against Detroit. He missed 12 of his 20 shots and had seven turnovers. Anthony seemed to be extremely bothered by the way the officials called the game. He complained to officials several times about noncalls and received a technical foul in the second half.
Front and center: With Tyson Chandler and Metta World Peace out, the Pistons had a significant size edge on the front line -- and they took advantage.
Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 48 points and 27 rebounds. They shot a combined 19-for-34 from the field.
Stuckey crushed the Knicks off the bench with 21 points and five assists. He hit eight of his 14 shots and all five of his free throws. The Knicks had no one who could get in his way.
J.R. Smith had 18 points off the bench for the Knicks. Andrea Bargnani had a strong first half (11 points) but had just two in the second half.
The Knicks also missed Raymond Felton (hamstring/hip). PG Beno Udrih did not score in 18 minutes.
Why not foul Drummond? Drummond hit just one of five free throws on Tuesday. He's shooting less than 20 percent from the line, but Mike Woodson elected not to foul him in the fourth quarter as the Knicks trailed by 15 with nine minutes to play and attempted to come back. It's unclear why he decided against this strategy.
What's next: The Knicks take on the Pacers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York is 0-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
So far, Debbie Gibson has had a better performance at Madison Square Garden than the home team. Let's sift through the mess and look at five things holding the Knicks back:
The Knicks miss Tyson Chandler badly. They could rely on him to be that last line of defense. He obviously can be a terrific shot blocker. But they miss him most on the boards. Now they rely on Melo to grab the rebounds (as if Melo didn't have enough on his plate). And they miss Chandler's hustle and energy. Woodson needs to find a way to motivate his defense, which is giving up an average of 104.5 points per game in the last seven games.
Woody's task: Some fans are chanting for Woody's job. Look, it doesn't all fall on Woodson's shoulders since he does have a flawed roster that is thin and loaded with streaky scorers that do many of the same things while also having to survive without Chandler. But Woodson has to find a way to get his team better shots.
Too many times, the offense stalls and slows down as four players watch one guy jack up a quick or contested shot on one side of the court without a single pass. The ball needs to move more and Woodson has said as much. Part of that has to do with who he has on the floor. Woodson admits he's trying to find the right combination of who will play hard, defend and move the ball for him. Nine games into the season, he has not found that consistent lineup with several new faces, injuries and a suspension to deal with. Woodson says he likely will continue to tinker with his lineup until he finds the right combination. Playing Pablo Prigioni a bit more could help the ball movement.
Shooting blanks: J.R. Smith has more problems than just what Brandon Jennings tweets. His shot is just not falling right now. Smith shot 3-for-18 and scored just seven points in 36 minutes against the Hawks and then said, "I was playing like s---."
He has no rhythm right now and the Knicks desperately need another scoring option to help Melo. Since his return from a five-game suspension, Smith is shooting a dismal 22.6 percent from the field and just 26.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc. In three starts, Smith is shooting 11-for-44 overall and 6-for-21 from 3-point range. Woodson could opt to bring Smith off the bench again and put Prigioni back in the starting lineup. But Woodson has been concerned with his team's slow starts. No matter, Smith has to get his shot going again.
Kenyon and Amar'e: The Knicks are trying to preserve their veteran big men and have been playing Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire on a minutes restriction. There just seems to be no comfort level at all when Stoudemire is in the game as he tries to do what he can in limited minutes. Things just seem disjointed when Amar'e is in the game and the Knicks can't afford to be patient right now. Martin has tried setting the tone with defense and hard fouls. So far he is averaging 12.1 minutes. Amar'e is averaging 10.5 minutes but just 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds. Amar'e would like to play more minutes which might get him to feel more comfortable. Whatever the plan is right now with Stoudemire, it's not working.
Everybody needs Raymond: Raymond Felton has had some hamstring issues early this season and the Knicks need their point guard healthy and playing better. Felton is averaging 11.1 points and 5.2 assists in 35 minutes a game. But he's shooting just 37.6 percent from the field and only 20.6 percent from behind the 3-point line. Felton has to find a way to get the ball moving and the offense flowing better. Offensively, Felton's two best games have come in Knicks' wins. He scored 18 in a win over Milwaukee and 15 in a victory over Charlotte so they can use an aggressive but efficient Felton.
And the Knicks need better defensive play from Felton and their point guards. Atlanta's Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack combined for 28 points and 13 assists on Saturday. Teague had 25 points and eight assists against the Knicks last Wednesday. Jeremy Lin had 21 points against the Knicks last Thursday.
How would you guys fix the Knicks issues so far? Let us know what you think below.
Raymond Felton said it. So did Carmelo Anthony. Mike Woodson took things a step further on Sunday and said New York lacked pride in its 31-point loss to San Antonio.
Felton again said Tuesday the effort level needs to change if the Knicks hope to turn things around.
"I'm upset with myself and I'm upset with us as a team," Felton said. "We've just got to play harder, I've got to play harder. It starts with me, I'm the point guard. I'm the guy on the ball [and] I've got to play harder, it starts with me. Everybody else has to play harder as well. ... It's going to start [Wednesday night]."
Felton had a rough night against San Antonio, going 3-for-10 with seven points. Spurs point guard Tony Parker scored 17 points and had six assists.
More concerning for Felton? He's shooting 37.5 percent from the field in six games and just 24 percent from beyond the arc.
One issue for Felton is a lingering left hamstring injury. Felton first suffered the injury in the preseason and said Tuesday he's playing at less than 100 percent.
"No excuses," Felton said. "I'm not 100 percent but no excuses. I've got to play harder, plain and simple."
Woody not worried about Dolan's guarantee: Woodson knows owner James Dolan guaranteed the Knicks will beat the Hawks on Wednesday.
But he's not too concerned about it.
"You guys are the ones harping about it. You haven't heard me say one thing about it," Woodson said Tuesday. "Look I'm the coach, I've got a job to do. Like I said, every game I go out to coach I want guys thinking 'win.' And that's how I think. So I'll leave it at that and keep it moving."
Tyson raises awareness for Typhoon: Tyson Chandler has been appointed as a UNICEF Ambassador. He will light the UNICEF snowflake at a special ceremony Friday at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Baptist Church to help raise awareness of areas of the Philippines ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
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He's called a team meeting. He's sounded the alarm over the Knicks' frustrating lack of effort early this season. And he is trying to project a calm, confident and positive demeanor knowing that the players will follow his lead.
But can he use more support and another leader beside him?
After losing veterans like Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace, the Knicks had to replace invaluable experience and leadership. Anthony, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin all talked at the start of training camp about how the Knicks were going to try to replace that with a collective effort. But Chandler is now out for a month or more. And so far, the Knicks' leadership is being put to the test with the team's slow start, including a 31-point blowout at the hands of the Spurs at home.
Having accepted the responsibility and pressure of leading the Knicks, Anthony is doing his best to project a positive attitude in the locker room.
"I don’t like to play with pressure, but I can't be blind to the fact it's pressure," Anthony said when asked if it's getting more difficult to be positive and lead this team out of its funk. "I gotta accept that, and I’ve accepted that. I’ve accepted the challenge to lead this team, and I will continue doing my best to try and do that, regardless of what that is."
Kidd was a major presence in the locker room and on the court. Anthony knows that, but also says this team is still adjusting and finding its leaders.
"I mean, this is a different dynamic," he said. "Everybody leads in their own way. Jason was a quiet guy who led in his own way. Rasheed was a more vocal guy who led in his own way. It’s a different dynamic, different makeup of the team this year. Just about figuring out, getting all the pieces to come together as one."
Up now: Fans may want to point the finger at Mike Woodson for the Knicks' slow start. But Melo says don't blame Woody.
Woodson is trying to "put the fire out" and get the Knicks to defend and play hard.
James Dolan guaranteed the Knicks will beat the Hawks next. And Melo wants to deliver for his owner.
The Knicks continue to slide in ESPN's power rankings.
And, do you want this for Christmas? Check out the Knicks' Christmas Day jerseys.
Coming up: The Knicks are scheduled to practice today and Ian Begley has you covered.
Question of the day: Do you think the Knicks have enough leadership on the roster?
But Carmelo Anthony says don't point the finger at New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson even though some fans chanted for the coach's job during a 120-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
“It’s New York,” Anthony said of the upset fans. “It happens. Woody’s not out there playing. We’re out there playing. You can’t blame Woody. We’re not, as a team, giving him the effort that he’s looking for and we’ve got to change that.”
Woodson's job status has been a topic of discussion and the head coach said during an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 last week that he wasn't going to look over his shoulders.
Replacing Tyson: For at least the next month, the Knicks have to stay afloat without Tyson Chandler, who is sidelined with a small non-displaced fracture of his right fibula.
That's a lot of defense and shot-blocking to replace.
"I guess I’ve gotta do more shot blocking," Anthony cracked. "I guess I gotta be the center."
As much as Anthony does for the team, he can't do it all. But after seeing how the Spurs scored so easily, he does know that the Knicks' defense needs to improve somehow without Chandler. He knows teams will be attacking the Knicks nightly.
"That’s any game plan when you don’t see a shot blocker in the paint," Anthony said. "I know my eyes get big when I don’t see a shot blocker in the paint, so I guess that was the case. That was their game plan to attack us when we didn’t have any shot blockers in there, anybody to change the dynamic of the game."
Woodson didn't blame Sunday's defensive debacle on Chandler's absence. He wants to see his players display more effort.
"Wasn’t nothing pretty about our game," Woodson said. "You give up 17 layups, that doesn’t have anything to do with somebody being at the rim. That is just individual defense, on the ball, where we had a lot of breakdowns as of late. Give up 17 layups and you are not going to beat anybody doing that. That is something we got to learn from and we got to get better in that area in terms of individual defense on the ball."
Big or small: Woodson was asked if he will make any lineup changes following the blowout loss to the Spurs.
"I don't know," Woodson said.
Woodson has started Andrea Bargnani at center for the past two games to go with Anthony at power forward and Iman Shumpert at small forward. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni started in the backcourt.
The point guard says the Knicks are fine and will bounce back from a 1-3 start.
"The fans are not here in the locker room with us," Felton said on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7. "They are not inside (knowing) what's going on with this team. All I can say to the fans is we do apologize. I am speaking on behalf of myself and my teammates. We do apologize for the way we have been playing.
"We are not playing Knicks basketball right now," Felton continued. "We understand that. We are going to play harder, we are going to play better. It's early on in the season. Just be patient with us."
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WILL KNICKS ADD A BIG? Mike Woodson said on Thursday that he'd huddle with GM Steve Mills and assistant GM Allan Houston to discuss the possibility of adding a big man via free agency or trade in the wake of Tyson Chandler's injury.
With Chandler out for at least a month due to a fractured fibula, the Knicks may need to add a big body to fill the void. To add someone, they'd need to cut a player currently on the roster.
Woodson was asked on Thursday if the team would be interested in free agent big man Jason Collins, who is the first active athlete in the four major sports to be openly gay. Woodson did not want to discuss Collins or any other names specifically.
The Knicks probably fielded plenty of trade calls on Thursday and likely have a list of big men they've reached out to to gauge interest. One free agent big man they've had contact with is center Lou Amundson, sources told ESPN New York. Other options include Earl Barron, Ike Diogu and Desagana Diop.
Barkley said he thinks the Knicks will have to speed up the tempo.
"You’re not going to be that good defensively, you are not going to be able to rebound the ball,” Barkley said on "The Mike Lupica Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM on Wednesday. “I think you just got to run and gun, to be honest with you. They just got to run and gun now.”
Barkley has a point. Without Chandler's presence to rebound, block shots and play pick-and-rolls, the Knicks will probably have to open things up and try to outscore opponents. Since head coach Mike Woodson will probably go small and could use Andrea Bargnani at center, the Knicks will have to be offensive-minded.
That could mean a lot of shots being thrown up by Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith (when he returns on Sunday from suspension), Bargnani and Iman Shumpert. Raymond Felton will have to be even more key as far as trying to push the ball and getting his teammates good looks. The Knicks will have to keep their turnovers down as well. Remember, the Knicks will have even less margin for error without Chandler in the paint.
The Knicks will have to do all they can to ease the blow of losing Chandler on the boards and defensively.
Up now: Chandler is going to miss four to six weeks.
Ian Begley explores how the Knicks can fill Chandler's void.
It's early but here's my take on five issues surrounding the Knicks right now and how they are already facing their first crisis of the season.
Barkley said he thinks Amar'e Stoudemire has lost his talent.
Woodson said he is not concerned about his job security nor is he looking over his shoulder despite the team's frustrating start.
And Woody discussed why he might go with Bargnani at center.
What's next: The Knicks will practice Thursday, and Begley has got you covered. They play the Bobcats in Charlotte on Friday.
Question of the day: Do you agree or disagree with Barkley? Should the Knicks go run-and-gun while Chandler is out?
With Tyson Chandler out for at least a month with a small nondisplaced fracture of his right fibula, the Knicks coach is considering a small lineup of Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Bargnani against Charlotte on Friday. Once J.R. Smith returns from suspension on Sunday against the Spurs, Woodson could go with Smith in the starting lineup, perhaps in place of Shumpert.
"It’s been proven since I have been here that the small lineup works," Woodson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "Again, there’s going to be nights where we got to against teams like the Pacers and Brooklyn, the big teams that I don’t know if the small lineup will fare very well against.
"With Amar’e [Stoudemire] and Kenyon [Martin] both on restricted minutes, it might bump Andrea now to the 5 and Melo goes back to the 4 spot where he play[ed] so nicely for us in the last season. And then we might go with Pablo and Raymond and Iman until we are able to get J.R. back. That’s really the only route I have right now."
Woodson had been going with his big lineup of Bargnani in the frontcourt with Anthony and Chandler.
"My tinkering with the lineup was to actually see how the big team would fare," he explained. "We have had our moments but we haven’t had enough moments where it has made a major difference to even get a true comparison. That is kind of where I am at now. We lose Tyson last night, he goes down, I think I am forced to go back to small ball. We will see how that plays out."
K-Mart and Amar'e: With Chandler out, Woodson acknowledged he is going to have to play Martin more, but there will still be a minutes limit on the forward.
Martin played 18 minutes after Chandler went down against Charlotte. Woodson said Martin was sore Wednesday and will be monitored. He wants to keep Martin in the 10- to 20-minute range moving forward. And the Knicks will likely and smartly continue to bring Stoudemire along slowly.
"I know what we’re dealing with in terms of the medical problems that they do have," Woodson said of Martin and Stoudemire. "In order to try to prolong it and get the most out of them, you can’t play them 30 minutes a night because there can definitely be a breakdown.
"So we are trying to monitor their minutes and try to make their minutes the most productive minutes in terms of trying to win games. That is something I am trying to figure out right now."
Coach Mike Woodson said he wants to go big against the Bulls and will start Bargnani along with Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
"I’ve said all along that when we play big teams I was going to go with a big lineup," Woodson said before the game.
Bargnani scored just six points in 17 minutes in his Knicks' debut during Wednesday's 90-83 win over the Bucks. Bargnani shot 3-for-9 and heard some boos early on from the Garden crowd. He will have to shoot better and try to hold his own defensively against the likes of Carlos Boozer.
"I thought he played OK the minutes he was in there," Woodson said of what he saw from Bargnani against the Bucks. "He missed some shots. It’s part of our game. You got to get in there and play tonight."
Bargnani played just 17 minutes off the bench in the season opener.
"His minutes should grow if he doesn’t get into foul trouble," Woodson said.
Felton starts: Felton had an ice bag around his sore hamstring before the game but was ready to go against the Bulls.
Woodson said the team will watch Felton to see how the point guard's hamstring is during the game.
"That’s why Beno (Udrih) is important to our ballclub," Woodson said of the backup point guard. "We went out and got him this summer just in case someone goes down like that."
Woodson said Felton and other Knicks will see their share of Derrick Rose, who was in the starting lineup despite a sore neck.
"I think our whole team will see a little bit of him," Woodson said of defending Rose. "He’s a nightmare for any team. He’s an unbelievable talent. It’s good to him back in uniform. I’m sure the Bulls are excited about that. He had a tough injury and he bounced back nicely. He should be a hell of a match for our team.
"We haven’t fared well in this building so I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re made of this early in the season."
Amar'e a 10: Woodson said Amar'e Stoudemire will play 10 minutes against the Bulls in his season debut. Stoudemire did not play on Wednesday against the Bucks. The team wants to take things slowly with the power forward's knees.
Woodson also said Kenyon Martin, who played five minutes against the Bucks, will be available if needed.
Final Seton Hall 77 Rutgers 71 Final Monmouth 66 Manhattan 75 Final Iona 83 Fairfield 72 Final St. Peter's 56 Niagara 61
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