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NEW YORK -- New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson blamed himself for the team's failure to make the playoffs on Sunday. He also apologized to the Knicks' title-starved fan base.
The Knicks were eliminated from the postseason Saturday night when the Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat to clinch eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
"I mean, you can point the fingers in a lot of directions. And I'm not going to sit here and air that out. I mean, at the end of the day I'm the coach and I didn't get it done. It's just that simple," Woodson said before tipoff of the Knicks' 100-89 win over the Bulls. "There's a lot of factors that came behind it, but you can't sit here and complain about it now. We didn't get it done. Being the coach, I just apologize to the fans. Again, they earned their hard earned money to come see us play and we didn't come into this season expecting this."
|Coach Mike Woodson apologized to the fans following a disappointing Knicks season.|
The Knicks won 54 games and an Atlantic Division title last season. Expectations were high coming into the 2013-14 campaign. Many predicted that the Knicks would finish among the top four teams in the Eastern Conference.
"[Expectations] should have been a little bit higher if you ask me," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "On paper we might be the best team, in the league. We've got great players on this team who accomplished so much."
But the Knicks performed woefully below the most meager expectations, suffering through seven- and nine-game losing streaks and falling 19 games below .500 at one point.
They won 12 of 15 recently to make a late push for the playoffs, but ultimately fell short, missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
"Nobody was expecting this," Woodson said. "You can point the fingers in a lot of directions. I'm not one to sit and ... it's my responsibility as the coach to get this team in the playoffs and I didn't get it done."
Carmelo Anthony believes that Woodson shouldn't put the blame squarely on his shoulders.
"We all are part of that," Anthony said. "As a coach he's going to say that. He's supposed to say that. I would say the same thing. I would put it on my shoulders and say the same thing. We all played a part of this year.
"Beginning of the season, nobody ever thought we would be in this situation, in this position that we're in right now. So for him to take all that pressure on him, I know what he's feeling. I do the same thing and I kind of put it on my shoulders. I don't think there's no need for him to do that. All 12 of us, all 13 of us was part of this."
Woodson had Anthony in the Knicks' starting lineup on Sunday night but said he wasn't sure of Anthony's status for the final two games of the regular season. Anthony has been playing with a right shoulder injury for the past 10 days that has affected his ability to execute on offense. Anthony said he might get an MRI to determine the extent of the injury and will huddle with the team's medical staff to determine his status for the final two games.
Woodson hopes to use the final two games to evaluate young players on the roster such as Toure' Murry, Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich.
But he added: "At this point it's hard to even talk about personnel or things like that. That's going to be up to [president] Phil [Jackson] and the direction he decides to go." There is widespread speculation that Jackson will fire Woodson after the season and replace him with a coach who he has an intimate knowledge of Jackson's triangle offense. Steve Kerr is a possible candidate.
Jackson will also have to deal with Anthony's free agency. Anthony has stated that he intends to opt out of the final season of his contract and test free agency this summer.
The Knicks can sign Anthony to a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can earn is $95,897,372 over four years.
Anthony is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Entering play Sunday, he was second in the NBA in scoring (27.6) and averaging a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game.
"You can't point [the blame] at [Anthony], because he's been there all year," Woodson said. "He's had a hell of a season for us."