Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is an optimist, which would explain why he seemed a little flummoxed when asked if losing two of their last three games was a sign of things to come.
“You look at it as two [losses] out of three, but I think we’ve won seven of our last 10 games. That’s how I look at it,” Woodson said. “We’ve got a big, important game [tonight] before we go into the break, so we’ve got to finish it off. Then, we’ll go and sit for three or four days and kind of rethink how we can be better.”
Woodson does not believe fatigue is weighing down his team’s performances — no matter what recent losses to the Wizards and Clippers may have shown down the stretch.
“If that was the case, I don’t think we’d be in the position we’re in today,” Woodson said, dispelling the fatigue factor. “We’ve got 82 games just like everybody else. We’ve got a solid roster, [and] I like the makeup of our team so, no, I wouldn’t use fatigue as an excuse.”
Woodson said he thinks the real culprit isn’t fatigue, but instead the Knicks’ defense, or a lack thereof.
New York allowed an average of 104 points in their two recent losses, meaning the defensive intensity has waned a bit in his eyes.
Amar’e Stoudemire has never been known for his defense, but he’s bought into Woodson’s defensive philosophy.
“We have offensive juggernauts, guys who can score the ball. We have guys who can score and lots of weapons we can use,” said Stoudemire. “I feel we have a great team on both ends, [and] we know it all starts on the defensive end.”
Ultimately, said Woodson, the Knicks have done mostly everything right. He took pride in noting that his squad has led the Atlantic Division wire to wire so far. Some rest during the All-Star weekend, and some fine-tuning once they return will do the Knicks some good, allowed Woodson.
“We still have a lot of season to play and guys have to be committed to our cause, [but] our team has been pretty committed,” Woodson said. “For the most part we’ve been pretty good this season in terms of our play. I’m happy with where we sit today in terms of being at the top of our division. I’ll take that.”
Knicks notes ...
» Tyson Chandler went through a half-practice so he could get treatment on his ankle. Woodson said Chandler is fine and he’ll definitely play on Wednesday: “He didn’t hurt it, but it was a little sore. He went through our conditioning part of practice, and then it was a little sore so we pulled him out. He’s just getting some treatment on it.”
» Stoudemire agreed with both Woodson and Carmelo Anthony in that the Knicks are perfect just the way they are, as he eschewed the Iman Shumpert trade rumor: “We’re confident in the guys we have. And we still have guys that are still recovering from injuries. We’re solid where we are and just need to keep improving on what we’re doing.”
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.