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Former Knicks coach Larry Brown criticizes team, says Mike Woodson was treated unfairly

Sam Spiegelman

Larry Brown and the New York Knicks didn’t exactly have a clean breakup. Apparently, the longtime NBA coach and current SMU head man isn’t exactly fond of the organization’s treatment of Mike Woodson either.

In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Brown made a case that new team president Phil Jackson should give Woodson a chance to leave “graciously,” citing Woodson’s efforts to turn around the franchise:

“I’m sick about what’s happening with Michael (Woodson),” Brown said of Woodson. “The whole thing about the Knicks, I want the Knicks to be great, because the NBA needs it badly. They have the best fans.”

“He’s out on the limb and that’s not fair,” Brown added. “For a guy that really turned that franchise around and made people proud of the way they played, I don’t think he’s been treated fairly, and that really bothers me.”

“I think he went [18-6] when he took over that team two years ago. And then last year they won 54 games. I think from 2001 they might’ve won one playoff series. He’s done a remarkable job. 

“They’ve had terrible injuries. They lost a GM (Glen Grunwald) that I thought did a great job. And then they didn’t bring any older guys. When you lose Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace, you lost your locker room. He did a lot for that team, and that’s unfortunate — I don’t think you treat people like that. And in the long run there is bad karma when you do that.”

If the Knicks are to make a change at head coach, which is expected to be the case this offseason, Brown nominated Jackson.

Jackson has already stated he has no plans to return to the sidelines. In fact, reports indicate NBA analyst and former Bulls point guard Steve Kerr is the frontrunner at this point. But Brown isn’t convinced Jackson can be an asset to the organization if he’s spending half of his time on the West Coast.

“Let him coach,” Brown said of Jackson. “You’re not going to make the Knicks better by living in L.A. and being there half the time and not talking to your coach. Let him coach. He was the best coach probably ever. Let him coach. If that’s the way they want to do it, let him coach and give Woody a way to leave graciously.”

It seems like Brown is just backing a friend and former colleague in Woodson, but at the same time he’s putting unfair pressure on Jackson.

Your thoughts, Knicks fans?

Heading into this week, Hawks magic number sits at 3

Harris Decker

Iman Shumpert, Anthony TolliverThis is an interesting week for the Knicks and the Hawks. As I wrote about last week, the Knicks have four off days while the Hawks make up the two games that separated the team’s records. What sucks for the Knicks is that their competition this week has even less to play for.

Tonight, the Hawks face the Detroit Pistons, who have won just 28 games, good for eighth worst in the NBA. Tomorrow it gets even worse, as they take on the Boston Celtics who have lost eight in a row and have the fourth worst record in the league. Neither of these teams, the Pistons or the Celtics, should want to win. They are in tank mode and that could spell the end for the 2013-14 Knicks.

The Hawks play has been about as nauseating as the Knicks. The roller coaster season has continued as of late. They blew out the Pacers on Sunday but couldn’t keep it close against the Bulls earlier in the week. The wins are coming at the right time for the Hawks.

Now, theit magic number is down to three.

Any combination of three Hawks wins or Knicks losses and New York will be officially eliminated from the playoffs. As chance would have it, I’m guessing that somehow, someway, the Knicks will be able stay alive into next week. All I ask is that the knockout blow not come at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, who they face one week from today.

It was fun while it lasted, but Knicks’ playoff hopes all but dead

Sam Spiegelman

Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Miami Heat all but buried the New York Knicks and their chances of making the playoffs this season.

The eight-game win streak, defeating the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets, and temporarily occupying the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference instilled hope in all of us. But reality kicked in a harsh way, as Carmelo Anthony’s shoulder injury and a two-game deficit behind the Atlanta Hawks essentially closes the book on the Knicks’ 2013-14 season.

With two weeks remaining in the NBA’s regular season, the Hawks host Detroit and Boston before traveling to Brooklyn. They close out the season against Miami, Charlotte and Milwaukee. Given how the team has played against Cleveland and Indiana this past weekend, only the game against the Heat looks like a loss.

The Knicks, on the other hand, coming off losses to the defending champs and Wizards, have four games remaining — two against Toronto, as well as Chicago and Brooklyn. Sure, the games are “winnable” in theory, but the hole the team has created over the weekend is likely too great to overcome. The Knicks would need to go 4-0 while the Hawks undergo a monumental breakdown.

In order for the Knicks to play that well, Melo would need to be healthy. And he’s clearly not.

The deep bruise or sprain of his right shoulder has obviously effected the All-Star, as he scored 23 points over the past two games. I mean, he’s scoring 27.5 points per game, so he’s got to be hurting pretty badly.

It’s a tough way for the Knicks to end their season. Their super star, an impending free agent, is in pain and his squad will be watching the playoffs from their couches. Whether ‘Melo even plays these final four games is in question, and if he doesn’t, then did he just play his last game in the blue and orange in another loss to LeBron James and Co.? Will that be his final memory of being a part of the Knicks?

The Knicks’ season is over. And with playoff hopes ended, are fans just hoping the team can retain Anthony?

J.R. Smith continues electric run, sets Knicks record for 3′s

Harris Decker

J.R. SmithJ.R. Smith was the lone bright spot for the Knicks during their Sunday afternoon loss to the Heat yesterday. In fact, Smith has been electric for a few weeks now and that culminated with his Knicks record 10 3′s made on an NBA record 22 attempts.

Finishing with 32 points, Smith was absolutely brilliant from outside. He has the unique ability to hit really good shots and really bad shots. While many think of him as a bad shot taker, he has been really good about shot selection as of late.

Over the past nine game, Smith is averaging 21.8 points, a big increase over his season average of 14.2. During that run, Smith has shot an incredible 49% from the field and 44% from behind the arc. His 3-point shooting percentage this season has been 39%.

What’s amazing about this run is how it contrasts from the early season struggles for Smith. In fact, 12 of his top 18 scoring games this season have come in 2014. He started the season with questions about the health of his knee and now those concerns seem to have been cast aside and he’s shooting freely and hitting big shots.

There were a few instances during this stretch when Smith was the only guy who could answer the call. Even during yesterdays game against the Heat, there was a stretch when Smith continuously responded to Lebron James shots with big 3′s of his own. He was a one man run stopper while Carmelo Anthony struggled mightily.

Smith’s season has been a microcosm of the Knicks as a whole. He’s been red hot at times and lost at times. We’re lucky enough to be witnessing him through a hot stretch right now and while it might not push the Knicks into the playoffs, he’s certainly making the case to Phil Jackson that he can fit into the triangle offense which will need some guys who can breakdown defenses and hit shots from outside.

With hope slipping away, making the postseason was a big deal

Harris Decker

It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Just two games ago, the Knicks had a chance to take over sole possession of the 8th seed in the East. Instead, the Hawks spent the night blowing out the Cavaliers while the Knicks lost a heartbreaker to the Wizards.

Carmelo AnthonySunday, on national television, the Heat drove a second stake through their heart, blowing out the Knicks 102-91. It was just one more loss in a disappointing season, but it felt like the end. While the Knicks remain alive, their magic number is getting smaller and smaller.

What is setting in right at this moment is why the playoffs meant so much to me and the rest of New York. This year, the Knicks are facing a season in which the Denver Nuggets will be using their first round draft pick while the Knicks wait for Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract to expire after next season. There isn’t much to look forward to in the next calendar year and the playoffs would have been the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

I wanted the playoffs. I wanted them just to help ease the pain of what will be a long offseason. Even if the Knicks were bounced in the first round, it would have made heading into a hopeless offseason easier to swallow. You could say things like: “At least they made the playoffs.” Or “Look how resilient the team was making the playoffs after being so many games back!” Instead, we’re going to head into the summer without any draft picks, without a playoff berth and with a whole lot of rebuilding ahead.

Call me naive, but making the playoffs was important to me this year. The team let me down and even though there is still a glimmer of hope, the fun of this season was sucked out of my veins sometime over the weekend.

Final Score: Heat 102 – Knicks 91

Need to Know: LeBron James scored 38 points, Mario Chalmers added 15 and the Miami Heat survived a 3-point barrage from New York’s J.R. Smith on the way to dealing the Knicks’ playoff hopes a big blow with a 102-91 victory on Sunday.

Smith made a Knicks-record 10 3-pointers, on an NBA-record 22 attempts, and finished with 32 points.

Raymond Felton scored 14 for New York and Carmelo Anthony managed only 13, on 4 for 17 shooting.

Anthony had two points after halftime, while James had 22.

Amare Stoudemire scored 12 and Tyson Chandler finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for New York.

Game Ball: J.R. Smith, who was heaving up 3-pointers left and right, helping keep the Knicks in the game.

What’s Next: The Knicks play at the Raptors on Tuesday, a 7 p.m. game.

Today’s Game: Knicks at Heat, 1 p.m.

The New York Knicks travel to South Beach for a matchup against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena at 1:00 p.m.

This will be the final of four meetings between New York and Miami and the final of two at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

New York is 1-2 this season versus Miami and is now 4-3 over the last two seasons versus the Miami Heat.

The Knicks are looking to avoid a third straight loss to the Miami Heat.

Carmelo Anthony will start for the Knicks.

Projected starters:

  • Anthony
  • J.R. Smith
  • Tyson Chandler
  • Amar’e Stoudemire
  • Raymond Felton

Last night was painful to watch

Harris Decker

Carmelo AnthonyThere were so many things that stung about last night. It started with the Atlanta Hawks blowing out the Cleveland Cavaliers. As timelines go, we found out that the Hawks had secured the victory just a few minutes before the Knicks started their abysmal tumble towards the nine seed.

The way last nights game ended was indicative of the season. They lost the way they’ve lost the entire season. By playing sloppy with the game on the line. That last few minutes was horrifying to watch and shows the lack of structure in the Mike Woodson system.

While most coaches would have a play drawn up with 12 seconds left on the clock, Woodson relied on what he’s done all season. Clear out and give the ball to Carmelo Anthony. The trouble with this was that the message was not clear.

Raymond Felton dribbled the ball for a few minutes before Anthony basically stole the ball around mid court. This is the product of a system void of discipline. The Knicks had thrived throughout the night running the pick and roll and using J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to breakdown defenses. Yet, with the game on the line, Anthony held the ball and hoisted up a less than smooth looking shot.

What more should we have expected?

Woodson doesn’t run through a system. He runs through a player. Even with the ailing shoulder, Anthony took control and there was no one to stop him. You can look to Smith missing a wide open Amare Stoudemire under the basket as the big miss but Anthony’s play in the moments before that were truly hard to watch.

This could be the beginning of the end for the Knicks playoff chances and what a way to go.