On eve of Heat game, Knicks don’t have enough to practice

Adam Zagoria

Mike Woodson believes his team can compete with the Miami Heat not only during the regular season but the postseason, too.

Knicks boardWhen it’s fully healthy.

“Absolutely, and I still believe that if we could ever get back whole,” Woodson said on the eve of the first Knicks-Heat game of the season, set for Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

The problem for Woodson and his team is that they are far from healthy at the moment.

The Knicks couldn’t even practice on Wednesday because they only had a handful of able bodies thanks to what Woodson said was a “bug going around the team.”

Tyson Chandler, who missed the Detroit game Tuesday, is a game-time decision with what the team is calling an upper respiratory infection. Woodson also said Kenyon Martin could be a game-time decision with the bug. Beno Udrih (sore left knee) is questionable and is expected to get an MRI. Pablo Prigioni (right big toe) remains out. Carmelo Anthony, coming off his 34-point effort in Tuesday’s win over Detroit, took a recovery day and didn’t practice.

“We’re a little beat up from a health standpoint,” Woodson said. “I didn’t have much to work with today because there’s a bug going around our team and a lot of guys are under the weather a little bit.”

Said Iman Shumpert: “I got shots up today. A lot of guys are sick. I think everybody came in and did something. Not everybody was able to go out there and practice. But everybody did something. Some guys were in the weight room. Some guys were getting treatment. Some guys were shooting. Some guys were riding bikes. Everybody was doing something.”

The consistent injuries, in turn, have impacted the team’s fluidity and chemistry on offense.

“Offensively, we’re on a roller-coaster ride in terms of chemistry because guys are not used to the plays, they’re not used to cutting and playing without the ball,” Woodson said. “And that comes in practice.”

Overall, the Knicks (12-22) have some momentum because they won three of their last four games and remain just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the Atlantic.

But in Miami, they are facing a team tied for the NBA’s best record (27-8) and winners of three straight.

“Until somebody dethrones them, they’re the world champions and they’ve proven that the last two years,” Woodson said. “I think anytime LeBron [James] and [Chris] Bosh and [Dwyane] Wade suits it up, man, they give their team an opportunity to win games and they [have] done a great job in doing that over the last two years. The challenge is just trying to keep those three intact and not let guys like Ray Allen and [Shane] Battier and guys like that have big nights.”

If Chandler isn’t able to go for a second straight game, the Knicks could be in a for a long night as James and Wade are known for attacking the basket, especially in transition.

“I think Kenyon has done a pretty good job in that area and [Andrea] Bargnani has been pretty good around the rim in terms of plugging it up some for us so I think they’re good enough to help us in that area,” Woodson said. “It always helps to have Tyson. It’ll help to have everybody back in uniform. I think once this bug thing gets behind us I think most of the guys will be back in uniform and then we’ll see where we are.”

The Knicks play 10 of their next 13 games at home, including eight straight beginning Jan. 17 against the Clippers, and that stretch could be pivotal in determining their playoff hopes. Right now, they are 1 1/2 games out of the eighth spot in the East.

“This month I think is somewhat pivotal in terms of where we go as  a team because of the fact that we have so many games at home,” Woodson said. “We gotta start taking advantage of those games.”


Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.

41 comments
po_diddley
po_diddley

Could we even trade JR for a 2nd round pick at this point?  It would be addition by subtraction, but I don't think there is a team dumb enough to take him on with that that new contract, unless we could trade him to ourselves. 

ds2488
ds2488

Knicks finally fed up with JR and exploring trade options. Sad that it's taken them this long to get to this point and that they rewarded him after his despicable postseason performance.  In hindsight, probably was ridiculous to give a guy a multi-year deal after he was the worst player in the playoffs AND got called out by freaking Rihanna of all people for partying too much.


He has somehow managed to be even worse this year.  The amount of behavioral violations and fines and just nonsense, combined with his truly terrible play in all aspects, is really amazing.  


Stein article notes that even Woody has talked the talk now and called his behavior unacceptable and said something had to be done about it.  Yet I have to ask... Why has it taken so long?  Nothing after the weed violation or the Brandon Jennings tweet?  Why is the guy playing a career high in minutes and getting more than Shump/Timmy?

akamarb
akamarb

Chargers and Saints win outright this week...thank me on monday

fasheezee
fasheezee

Not worried about the no organized practice thing. It's for the best not to hear Pucci Lips talkin shizz before an important game. Coach Mel will get them through.

saintknick
saintknick

Minnesota is about to fall apart again (not that they are killing it anyway). Really makes me wonder if a team with Melo and Love could actually work... 

dagawd
dagawd

Woodson gets coach of the Week

dagawd
dagawd

Bynum might end up with the Nets, they can offer him the most, if bynum got use to sitting on the bench collecting checks he will sign with the Heat

fasheezee
fasheezee

They probably don't want Woody's utterly confusing BS before playing the Heat.

ds2488
ds2488

Outside of the upcoming game against the Heat, and 1 against the Pacers and Clippers each, Knicks have a very favorable stretch of schedule coming up.  Now would be a good time to start making some noise.  2 games against Philly and the Bobcats, and then Nyets, Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs.  


Realistically if Knicks can win 1 of 3 against the better teams, they could be looking at a nice run.  Should win at least 3 of 4 against Bobcats and 6ers, and then 3 of 4 out of the Nyets, Lakers, C's, and Cavs.  

Chris
Chris

According to Alan Hahn, who I coached against, the pre season practice was a joke. It looked as if last game he was talking to himself in the huddles, he had no eye contact, and didn`t realize that his players were looking off in different directions. It sounds like many of them don`t feel they should bother to practice for him as there is no value to it. That is a sad commentary on this team. My high school team comes and practices if they are standing. This team has lost their collective will to work for this man, this team, and these fans. Everybody is doing something, of course , but how many are involved with basketball activities. Now I know why he uses the board so much. They don`t do any teaching or learning of plays and special situations in practice, so they do everything on the fly, and they run the stuff just like they have never seen it before. The research says that you must perform a skill about 200o times before it is instinctive. The Heat have done this if you watch their rotations, watch ours and it looks like they need a road ma to find out where they should be. This is exactly why you see guys wide open and at times 2 guys running at a shooter. this is why we saw Murry and Bargs /Stat on different pages on when to switch. THEY DON`T PRACTICE THIS STUFF. FTC (first word is Fire)  

Jonathan Gewirtz
Jonathan Gewirtz

Right Woodson. All the Knicks need to compete is to get back whole....Like, Willis, Clyde Frazier and Earl the Pearl whole. What a joke. There's no way he believes it himself. Phil Jackson was right, the team is deeply flawed and clumsily constructed.

knickfan2
knickfan2

This trade can't come soon enough.

ds2488
ds2488

@saintknick I'm not Kevin Love's biggest fan (for example I always get in arguments with people who say he's better than Melo by pointing out that he's never made the playoffs while Melo always makes them), but I think he'd be really great as a 1b/2 option.  He has all the skills you could possibly want on offense.  Of course defense is another issue but there are very few legitimately good 2 way players left in the NBA anyway.


If you look at Minnesota, that team has possibly the best bigs in the NBA (Love and Pekovic) but nobody to get them the ball or knock down open shots.  Rubio has been a major disappointment, and outside of him it's basically just Kevin Martin and JJ Barea.  Love needs that 1a scorer or a great pg to take over the game at stretches imo and he can really start winning some games.  

fasheezee
fasheezee

@BiggieSmalls You sound just like Santonio Dome. Ignorance is bliss. "Down the stretch".

Chris
Chris

@BiggieSmalls No, Biggie you must know what you are doing on the court too, Basketball is a game of timing and rhythm, now I know why this team has none 

ds2488
ds2488

@OLD_KNICK @ds2488 yeah very difficult right now.  Not sure that many teams would even take him on for FREE with the way he's been acting and playing.  He's got roughly 12 million dollars and 2 more years left after this.  One is a player option, but he would have to significantly up his level of play to even be close to commanding that much again.  Doesn't seem likely.

VerySilentJay
VerySilentJay

@BiggieSmalls And he's already asking for preferential treatment, threatening the FO to bail if they don't deliver top notch players to Minny.

akamarb
akamarb

best pf in the game..ur nuts

saintknick
saintknick

@Kojo Brown @Arthur Marblestone ???? You mean they minimize theirs by having three elite players far and beyond the rest of the team, all of which who basically don't get hurt (and wade who gets a night off every other week)?


Let me make it simple. The heat have Lebron who is never hurt, and lebron is Magic Johnson but bigger. So long as he is out there, you can give him ANYONE and he'll be competitive. More importantly, the heat have a CORE of 2-way players in Bosh, Lebron, and wade. That means that anyone new to the team figures out what to do really really fast, and there is chemistry and continuity.


The Knicks have none of that. Melo isn't a floor general and can't replace anything but scoring and maybe rebounding on the floor. Everyone else on the team is a 1-way player, so when you lose someone, there isn't a SIMILAR replacement, nor are there defined roles someone can jump into. There is NO CORE of 2-way players, so everyone has to figure out chemistry. The team has gotten big minutes AND attempts from Udrih, Bargnani and THjr (and a little from MWP). NEW GUYS who mess up any previous chemistry between players.


Other guys like Pablo and Shumpert have entirely different roles this season than before. And THE WHOLE TEAM has lost the floor generals it did have (especially in Kidd). 


A bunch of us predicted it would be a rough start to the season - we didn't predict that JR would be THIS bad at the same time that Shumpert and Felton sucked, nor that our 2nd best player would be out the bulk of 2013, nor that we'd have 10 different injuries over that span.


It has nothing to do with physical condition. Westbrook and Rose were peak, and got hurt. Kobe is the best gym rat and he (wear and tear) got hurt. Chandler's injury wasn't conditioning, nor is Udrih's, Pablo's, etc. Felton maybe though, but that leads to my next point...


If you want to criticize, its not about conditioning. Its about who you chose to build a team with. Old guys just itching for some $ to sit on the bench broken down (MWP?), soft guys who get hurt because their legs are thinner than their arms (Chandler, Bargnani).



VerySilentJay
VerySilentJay

@Kiyan Carter He's tremendously overrated because he's not a Knick.

Give him a Knick jersey and he'd get non stop hate.

"He's injury prone"

"He's an awful defender"

"He pads his stats"

"Awful help defender"


Etc, etc.

But of course, since he's not a Knick, he must be reveered.

fasheezee
fasheezee

@saintknick @Kojo Brown @Arthur Marblestone Save the book. Westbrook and Rose both play wreckless ball--great bball but they are all out for the cause type players---bound to get hurt. We have one the most fragile teams in the NBA. Most of them do not take care of their bodies or minds. BTW my man Melo is a floor general. This little winning streak is due to him and his unadulterated will--Coach Mel.

fasheezee
fasheezee

@VerySilentJay @Kojo Brown @Arthur Marblestone Wade has 3 rings and he plays hurt. He can withstand punishment due to being in great shape. Lebron was back in the gym 3 days after their chip. Norris Cole has played 100 consecutive games and the list goes on regarding Heat players. I wonder what is demanded of the Knicks in the off season and during the season. Probably zip.

Chris
Chris

@BiggieSmalls @Chris I am not making excuses, I  am pizzed at Woody and in turn Dolan for putting this moron in charge

Chris
Chris

@billysuede @Chris It was stated by Hahn, you did play college ball and knows what practices should look like, and also can tell if guys are coming in in shape. Need more info?

billysuede
billysuede

@Chris you know this how? are you in the team's facilities on a daily basis? 


this team has myriad issues but making stuff up doesn't help your point any. 

Chris
Chris

@BiggieSmalls @Chris But why do we go through the rash of injuries that we go through? They are not held to account regarding conditioning and just about anything else. The Heat are the perfect model for health and conditioning. They are held accountable. They get their body fat checked weekly, they practice as hard as they play and so on. DAW is not even close to keeping these guys in winning shape. Not mention how he overplays them---he really is clueless. Stop with the excuses.