Nothing changes, summed up Knicks head coach Mike Woodson’s stance on potential lineup modifications for the Eastern Conference-best Knicks prior to last night’s pseudo-road game against a Nets squad without Brook Lopez.
“No, not really,” Woodson said during his pregame press conference. Lopez, the Nets’ starting center, has missed the last six games with a sprained right foot. The fourth-year pro leads the Nets with an 18.5 points per game average and ranks third on the team with 6.8 rebounds per game.
“[You’re talking about a] young man who averages 18 points [per game],” Woodson said. “Somewhere, someone’s [got to fill the void created by Lopez’s injury]. They’re deep enough [to do that].”
What the Nets have done is move Andray Blatche into the starting role. While Blatche has played well in a starting role, averaging 17.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in the five games, the Nets are 1-4.
Too many bodies?
The Knicks are about the experience the pleasant problem of too many healthy bodies. Power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is recuperating from knee surgery and, according to multiple reports, is looking to make his season debut in the nationally televised Christmas Day game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
“I’ll address that [when the time is right],” Woodson said. “[Amar’e is] still in the mode of getting back on the floor.”
Stoudemire participated in pregame shooting, but was listed as being out with left knee debridement.
The Heat is on
Among the reasons the Knicks lead the Eastern Conference with a 15-5 mark — one game better than the defending-champion Heat — has been their depth.
Thirteen of the Knicks’ 15-man roster has played this season, with 10 players averaging double figure minutes led by Carmelo Anthony’s 35.8 minutes per game average. The only two players not to have played a minute this season are Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire.
The roster flexibility has allowed Woodson to be creative with the lineups he puts on the floor.
“We have options of going big or small [and have been successful either way],” Woodson said. Against the Nets, the coach announced the Knicks would go “with Carmelo at the ‘four.’”
Odds and ends
Before the game, there was a ceremony commemorating an Ebbets Field flagpole which was placed in front of the Barclays Center. The Nets were represented by Bruce Ratner, Brett Yormark, Irina Pavlova and Jerry Stackhouse. Also in attendance were borough president Marty Markowitz and Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. … The league announced Monday that Deron Williams won the league’s Kia Community Assist Award for the month of November. … Joe Johnson and teammates will host 50 Family Services children to a dinner and shopping Thursday. The Nets will be in Toronto Wednesday night while the Knicks host Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers Thursday.
Follow Nets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.