An amazing thing happened last night, the New York Knicks suffered their fifth home loss at Madison Square Garden. After the game Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said there might be some lineup changes.
Woodson is a good coach, a great guy, however he is just doing a bad job this year. After a 54 wins last season, what happened? What do we have to do to turn this team around? Insanity can be defined as doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. This team stinks, they lack intensity and chemistry.
So what changes does Woodson have in store for this team and where does he begin?
First, Woodson has to make his players accountable. He has failed horribly at that this year He has his favorites and is often stubborn and this must change to regain respect from his team. Last night J.R. Smith shot a dismal 3-of-18 in 36 minutes.
He took 18 shots whereas Andréa Bargnani took only 11 shots in 28 minutes.
Now with Bargnani’s great play, why would Smith play more minutes? Why would Woodson allow Smith to take more shots? He needs to make game changes and quickly. He must hold his players accountable.
Bargnani is coming off two great games yet Smith played eight more minutes in this game, why is that?
Smith is a streaky shooter. If he is off take him out. Smith is a great talent when his shooting is on, when he is focused. However, he is apparently rusty from not playing all summer while recovering from knee surgery.
Why continually reward Smith?
The same player that is coming off a five-game suspension. The same Smith whose brother you kept on the team despite of his inferior talent. The same Smith you just rewarded with a hefty new contract. The same Smith who was just fined $25,000 by the NBA for his twitter actions.
Also, why would Woodson play Raymond Felton 33 minutes and Bargnani 28?
Bargnani had nine rebounds, shot 5-for-11 from the field and had 16 points. Felton once again had a substandard game yet Woodson refuses to play Beno Udrih.
Pablo Prigioni played only 15 minutes while shooting 2-of-5 with five points. It appears Prigioni also has a minute’s restriction. Woodson should consider benching Felton and starting Prigioni and Iman Shumpert in the backcourt. He needs to shake this team up and quickly.
”We’re not getting it done from an effort standpoint. It’s like we’re not even trying right now,” Carmelo Anthony said.
The sad fact is he is correct. They are not getting it done and it appears Woodson is losing the team. Anthony had 23 points and 12 rebounds. He shot 8-for-21 in 34 minutes. With Tyson Chandler out, he needs to play Bargnani more minutes to lessen the wear and tear put on Anthony nightly. It is obvious, as talented as Anthony is, one man cannot do it alone.
“Games are starting to slip away, and especially at home,” Woodson said. ”I mean, if this was happening on the road, I wouldn’t be that concerned, but I’m very concerned about how we’re playing here at home. We’re not playing well and that shouldn’t be.”
He says the right things but has not made the right coaching moves.
”I’m not just blaming it on J.R,” Woodson said. ”Offensively, you’re going to miss shots. There’s nights where you just can’t throw it in the ocean. But that has no excuse why you don’t give effort defensively.”
Agreed, so on those nights why leave him in the game? Why let him continually miss shots?
Stop showing favorites and play the hot hand. Woodson’s stubbornness and his management of player’s minutes may cost him his job.
Woodson continues to manage Amar’e Stoudemire’s minutes while he works his way back from a third knee surgery in the last year.
Amar’e said the limited time on the court isn’t working for him or his teammates. He talked with Woodson earlier Saturday and said he hoped his minutes could be doubled. Yet, the only thing Woodson committed to while talking to reporters was getting Stoudemire more repetitions in practice. Stoudemire in 14 minutes last night shot 2-for-5, with two rebounds.
Who is in charge here?
Kenyon Martin and Stoudemire are unhappy. Udrih is unhappy. Woodson finally plays Cole Aldrich who scored two points on 1-of-2 shooting with two rebounds, in three minutes. With no real center on the roster, why not give the kid a look? Especially now with Metta World Peace out.
World Peace did not play last night because of a sore left knee.
If I am Woodson, I am going to burn those orange uniforms. The Knicks fell to 0-4 in their orange uniforms. They are not only ugly, they’re unlucky.
The Knicks led 26-24 after the first quarter until Hawks’ subs Mike Scott, Gustavo Ayon and Shelvin Mack went on a 17-3 burst to open the second that gave Atlanta a 41-29 advantage. The Hawks led 54-47 at halftime.
Mack had 12 points and 12 assists. Opposing point guards continually outplay Felton. Mack has been on and off the Hawk roster and by many NBA general managers is considered a fringe player. Yet has any Knick point guard had 12 assists in one game this year?
The Knicks showed spurts of effort but continually played from behind. The Knicks got the game within five points until the Hawks went on a 12-2 burst that included a four-point play by Kyle Korver.
Korver scored 15 for the Hawks, who followed his 113-103 home victory over Philadelphia on Friday with another powerful offensive performance. A shooter like Korver is missing on the Knicks lineup this year. The Knicks need a consistent three-point shooter to spread the floor.
Did anyone notice Chris Copeland was 2-2 from three point land last night?
The Hawks looked to be the better coached team last night. Sans a true super star like Anthony, the Hawks Jeff Teague scored 16 points to lead eight Hawks in double figures. Paul Millsap, back in the starting lineup, had 14 points and 13 rebounds as Atlanta shot 56 percent and won for the fourth time in five games, while the Knicks continue to lose and lose at home .The same home court they began last season undefeated.
This is not a great Hawks team, yet the Hawks avenged their most recent loss, a 95-91 Knicks victory the other night in Atlanta. New York hasn’t won a home game since beating Milwaukee on Oct. 30 in its season opener.
Knicks’ fans are getting restless and the boo birds were put in the Garden last night. The low point of the night were the “Fire Woodson!” chants as the Knicks fell to 3-6.
Woodson needs to retake control of his team as his next visit to Dolan’s office will not have the same outcome and may be his last meeting as the Knicks’ head coach.
This team is searching for an identity and Steve Mills and Woodson need to be searching for some answers quickly.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a bestselling author www.5minutemotivator.com
Follow him on Twitter @drekaplan