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Knicks take on grittier personality

The saying in sports is that a team takes on the identity of its coach.

The saying in sports is that a team takes on the identity of its coach. It's just not supposed to happen this quickly.

As soon as Mike D'Antoni parted ways with the Knicks and interim coach Mike Woodson stepped in, the club has looked a lot more gritty and gutty and a lot less run and gun.

"Coach Woodson, he's more of ... a player's coach," power forward Amar'e Stoudemire said. "It's a matter of us as players playing hard for him and trying to get these wins."

The defensive intensity was readily apparent in Woodson's first game as coach against Portland. But Portland was a team that was falling apart and was dismantled one day later at the trade deadline.

Their two straight wins in two days over Indiana were more telling.

"We know how important this game was for us," Stoudemire said after Saturday's win. "This Indiana team has been playing well this season. We're still looking to make our mark. We're still looking to improve in the playoff standings."

The last time Stoudemire talked about improving playoff standings the Knicks were technically not even in the playoffs -- sitting in ninth place.

Now the Knicks have broken that tie and sit a half game ahead of the Bucks for the final playoff spot.

 
 
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