The Knicks may be hitting their stride at the right time, but if this topsy-turvy season has taught anything, it’s that nothing can go seamlessly.

 

The latest concern is a back injury to Amar’e Stoudemire that could be serious enough to derail the momentum the Knicks have built since former head coach Mike D’Antoni abruptly resigned earlier this month.

 

Stoudemire, who’s ruled out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his lower back, was in the midst of a personal revival under the new regime.

 

“Guys have to step up. You’re talking about 17, 18 points and eight rebounds a game that are missing,” Woodson said. “You’re talking about guys coming off the bench [who] have to step up and score some points. Guys like J.R. [Smith], who couldn’t throw it in the ocean [Monday night], but came up big when needed and hit a big 3. … More guys are going to have to do that for us to be successful.”

 

Woodson said in order to pick up the slack for Stoudemire, the team’s theme will be all about defense.

“Offensively I’m not worried about it too much,” Woodson said. “There’s going to be nights when we bust through and make shots and score big numbers but having Amar’e out, I don’t want guys to think they can’t make plays in his absence. But in the end, it still comes down to defense. We have to continue to defend and rebound and that’ll put us in position to win games.”

“There are some nights when we’re not going to be able to score the ball,” center Tyson Chandler said, “but you have to always play defense.”

Knicks notes

»Anthony, who’s nursing a sore groin, didn’t sound too optimistic that he’d be ready to play Wednesday night against the Magic: “I'm hoping. I'm guessing. I don't know? We’ll see. Tomorrow is another day.”

»Woodson said in order to pick up the slack for Stoudemire, the team’s theme is all about defense: “Offensively I’m not worried about it too much. The system is in place. We just have to be unselfish and we’ll make shots. But defensively we have to be there every night and the rest of the way out. … There’s going to be nights when we bust through and make shots and score big numbers, but having Amar’e out, I don’t want guys to think they can’t make plays in his absence. But in the end, it still comes down to defense. We have to continue to defend and rebound and that’ll put us in position to win games.”



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