Knicks unlikely to make changes before must-win Game 5

J.R. Smith is a free agent after the season and a loss could mean his final game as a Knick. Credit: Getty Images
J.R. Smith is a free agent after the season and a loss could mean his final game as a Knick.
Credit: Getty Images

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is fiercely loyal, which may be why he finds his team down 3-1 to the Pacers.

Woodson, a coach veterans love playing for, is banking on his aging squad to reward his faith by finally knocking down the open shots they used to. A strong believer in staying with the vets, no matter how badly they’re shooting, Woodson said following Wednesday’s practice he has no plans of tinkering too much with his rotation.

“I will never kick J-Kidd to the curb,” Woodson said of Jason Kidd, who has yet to even score this series. “Kidd has been a positive for our club, our franchise and these players that play around him. We all still believe in Kidd. My thing is that he still does the intangibles. He might not score the ball, but he still does the things that help you win.”

Contrary to Woodson’s statement, Kidd has taken away production from the team. Kidd’s plus-minus is a staggering minus-21 in the three losses.

The coach allowed that going big by starting Kenyon Martin over Pablo Prigioni in Game 4 ended up backfiring. Martin (five rebounds, three assists and two blocks) didn’t score in his 29 minutes, while Prigioni was only on the floor for 3:26.

Such an egregious swing and miss is likely what has given Woodson pause to do any more subtle changes, even though guys like Copeland and Steve Novak are itching to do get on the floor.

“We’re contemplating [going back to Prigioni], but I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. That smaller lineup has been great for us for two [or] three months. But I went away from that [in Game 4] to go big and a lot of that was based on guys not being in practice and not being too sure about Iman,” said Woodson. “I didn’t want to bring [Shumpert] off [the bench] because I didn’t want him going in stiff. That [smaller] lineup has worked for us this year, so there’s a strong chance we’ll go back to that. … Bottom line is, our backs are against the wall, so tomorrow night is a must-win.”

Despite things looking bleak, the Knicks still believe. Woodson said he’s “curious” to see how his team reacts, while Shumpert said he accepts the task of trying to achieve the rare feat of coming back to win a series after being down 3-1.

“I embrace the challenge. It’s one game at a time, but it’s been done before, so we just have to win,” said Shumpert. “We’re good. We’re back at home. Guys are getting shots up, and Rasheed [Wallace] is out here talking up a storm keeping us loose. I think being back home and seeing that ball go in for us will do us a lot of good.”

Woodson agreed that guys were loose during their morning session, crediting a veteran team that never seems to panic.

“I’m very curious because our backs are against the wall. It’s a must-win that we have to get tomorrow night. We haven’t had our backs against the wall too much this season so we’re being tested,” Woodson said. “But I feel good about going into tomorrow night’s game. And if we win tomorrow night, it’ll put us in position [to extend] this series and go back [to Indiana]. And then we’ll see what they’re made of. First thing, though, tomorrow is a must-win game.”

Knicks notes …

» Woodson said Amar’e Stoudemire’s production has been a nice surprise, but he doesn’t foresee the former franchise player contributing too much more than he’s already done, simply because of the minutes restriction the team’s medical staff has placed on him.

“He’s only played 10 [or] 12 minutes in his two games and his minutes have been pretty positive.”

» Since his declaration that had he played in Game 4 instead of being suspended the Knicks would’ve won and he’d “be fishing,” J.R. Smith has shot a mere 29 percent from the field. Woodson, though, put the blame at his feet and not the players.

“It’s not about all of that. I’m the head coach, so blame it on me. The bottom line is that if we don’t have the slippage at home in Game 1 to start the series then we’re standing here feeling pretty good about ourselves. Right now, my job is to get us out of that hole.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.