On the season’s final night, in what was likely Mike Woodson’s final game coaching the New York Knicks, the team had a very different look. With Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler on the bench, and with Carmelo Anthony beginning rehab on his torn labrum, the starting lineup was looking more like the new White Plains D-League team than that of the defending Atlantic Division champs.
Against this years Atlantic champions, that group put up a great battle and actually won.
J.R. Smith put the cherry on top of an excellent second half, leading the Knicks with 30 points. Another regular, Tim Hardaway Jr., turned in 18 points. The real stars of the game were Toure’ Murry and Cole Aldrich, two players who played a very limited role this year saw season highs in minutes and many statistical categories. Murry put up a career high 15 points and Aldrich pulled down a season high 16 boards. Aldrich also added 13 points, matching his season high.
It was nice to see a group of players that haven’t seen much time this year come out and truly fight to be a part of this teams future. The game itself might not have mattered to the Knicks but it definitely did to a handful of players. After the game Aldrich echoed that sentiment.
“We came out and we fought. We ended strong,” he said.
For Woodson this was likely his final game in New York. The Knicks coach failed to make the playoffs a season after winning 54 games and the Atlantic. After the game, he was somber.
“Is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but I don’t make that decision. That’s gotta come from the top,” Woodson said.
It’s been a tough season and no one knows that better than Woodson. With Anthony, Chandler and Felton on the shelf, it was a great way to end a disappointing season. We watched guys battle for a future in New York and now we can turn our attention to an offseason that is sure to be very, very interesting.
“Is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but I don’t make that decision. That’s gotta come from the top.”
-Mike Woodson after wrapping up the season against the Raptors on Wednesday night
Thanks to a comeback during the second half of the game, the Knicks (37-45) closed out their season by defeating the Toronto Raptors (48-34) by a score of 95-92 at Madison Square Garden Wednesday evening. >> Read the full recap and box score at SNY.tv.
Need to Know: The Knicks came back from a 21-point deficit to tie the game during the third quarter.
J.R. Smith led the way with a 30-point game.
Cole Aldrich had his second double-double in as many games as he had 16 rebounds with 13 points against the Raptors.
New York outscored the Raptors 51-35 in the second half for the comeback win.
Update 8:24 p.m.: The Knicks have signed Lamar Odom to a two-year deal. The contract is guaranteed for the rest of this season — one game — and has a non-guaranteed option for 2014-15 (Begley, April 16).
Knicks President Phil Jackson announced Wednesday evening that he signed Lamar Odom for the remainder of the team’s season. New York did not disclose the terms of the deal (Knicks, April 16).
A league source has stated that the deal will have a team option for next season (Begley, April 16).
Odom last played for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot-10, 221 pound forward has averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 33.4 minutes per game in 961 appearances during his career.
New York welcomes their Atlantic Division friends across the border for a matchup with the Toronto Raptors at the Garden at 8 p.m.
New York was swept in a home-and-home earlier in the season by Toronto. New York got one game back when they defeated the Raptors on April 11, 2014.
New York and Toronto split the season series last year 2-2, with each team going 1-1 on its home court.
Less than two hours before the Knicks played their last game of the season, coach Mike Woodson discussed his job security with reporters.
“Am I the guy for the job?” Woodson said. “I’m the only guy for the job. (Hahn, April 16)
“If they bring me back, I’m going to make damn sure this kind of season doesn’t happen again.” (Hahn, April 16)
Woodson added: “Is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so. But that decision comes front the top.” (Cervasio, April 16).
Woodson would not comment on if he would participate in exit interviews with players (Begley, April 16). He also said that he hopes to find out about his fate in the next few days (Popper, April 16).
The Knicks are expected to sign free agent Lamar Odom by the end of Wednesday (Begley, Apil 16).
The reason for signing Odom with just one game remaining, via Sports Illustrated:
The Knicks’ real motivation: A non-guaranteed second season through which New York would have the option to retain Odom for the 2014-15 campaign. By signing him now the Knicks would effectively sidestep all of the league’s rules regarding offseason contact between teams and free agents as they would relate to Odom. He would be a Knick for all intents and purposes, which in this case would give Jackson and team officials the very important means to gauge Odom’s injury and frame of mind in the months to come.
Odom did not play in the NBA at all this season. He signed a two-month contract with a team in Spain, but returned after just one month due to a back injury. He only appeared in two games for the Spanish team.
Speculation about Carmelo Anthony’s future is well underway, and after the New York Knicks’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night, one of his longtime teammates weighed in on the subject.
Asked his feelings about Anthony’s free agency, J.R. Smith said he wasn’t worried about his longtime teammate leaving.
“In my heart, I believe he’ll still be here,” Smith, who played the last seven seasons with ‘Melo dating back to Denver, told ESPN New York. “It’s just a matter of him coming up with that decision. Whatever it is, we’re still going to be friends ’til our dying days, so I mean, whether he’s on my team or he isn’t, I still love him like a brother.”
With the Knicks falling out of playoff contention last week, all attention has shifted onto what Anthony’s future holds. He’s been linked to the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers via rumors, though new Knicks president has stated he believes Anthony is a part of the team’s future.
The Bulls have seemingly surfaced as the frontrunner for Anthony.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau “would love to add Anthony” to the roster. Anthony and Thibodeau share an agent, and the coach has already refuted claims that Anthony is a selfish ball-stopper.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Anthony was asking what it was like to play under Thibs. Prior to the team’s game against Chicago, Anthony had nothing but praise for the Bulls coach — who is defensive-minded, by the way — but it’s nothing over the top or overly obvious.
“(The Bulls) have a great coach and system,” Anthony said. “It’s like Gregg Popovich’s system. You can put anyone in the system and it’s going to work. Guys have been in and out of the lineup and they still get it done.”
Anthony said those factors will surely be considered when he becomes a free agent, but he also said he won’t dwell on the Knicks’ disappointing 2013-14 season.
It’s been Anthony’s plan all along to exercise his player option this offseason. It’s just a coincidence that this was the first season in his career that his team failed to make the postseason.
“All this stuff will come into consideration, but I won’t never make it seem like because of this season I’m going to become a free agent. It has nothing to do with this season went,’’ Anthony said. “Even if we had the greatest of a season I probably would still be in that situation.’’
The Knicks (36-45) continued their season long dominance over the Nets (44-37) on Tuesday as they defeated Brooklyn by a score of 109-98 at the Barclays Center. >> Read the full AP recap and box score at SNY.tv.
Need to Know: The Knicks started off Tuesday night’s game by outscoring the Nets 29-18 during the first. The Knicks outscored Brooklyn in every quarter but the fourth.
Tim Hardaway Jr., paved the way with a 16-point game. Shannon Brown, J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire followed him up with 14 points each.
The Knicks went 3-1 in their season series against the Nets.
While the Knicks did not make the playoffs, they have defeated the No. 3, 4 and 5 ranked teams in the East in the past three games.
What’s Next: The Knicks will play their final game of the season on Wednesday when they face off against the Toronto Raptors at 8:00 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony has a small tear in his right labrum muscle, the Knicks announced.
He will not need surgery. He will be reevaluated in a month.
He will not play again this season.
Carmelo had 27.4 points, 3.1 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game during the 2013-14 season.
Last season, Anthony’s season ended with a tear in his left shoulder. This season, it was ended by a tear in his right shoulder.
It’s sad that there’s a chance, however slight, that we’ve now seen Anthony’s last game in New York.
That said, I believe he will be a Knick next year. He needs to get treatment as soon as possible so that he can play on opening day of next season.