Mike Woodson Believes the Knicks are Buying Into the Team Concept After Big Road Win Over Miami HeatDecember 10, 2012 – 6:00 am by Steven Cuce
Last Thursday night the New York Knicks handed the Miami Heat their worst home loss in the Big Three era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. For the second time this season, the Knicks beat the Heat by 20 points. You can say it’s still very early this season because it is. You can also say we’ll see what happens when it counts in April and May in the playoffs, but one thing is for certain: the Knicks are playing team basketball this season. This team will be a tough out.
Miami may play down to competition, but for New York to not have Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert for this game and still win by 20 says something. Mike Woodson deserves some credit for the job he’s done early on this season. The Knicks head coach spoke about the big win over the Heat in the following interview.
Mike Woodson joined ESPN New York with Stephen A.Smith and Ryan Ruocco to discuss his Knicks handing the Miami Heat their worst home loss in the Big Three era, his coaching mindset once Carmelo Anthony was ruled out of the game against the Heat, the Knicks gunning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, his impressions of the Knicks after the win over the Heat and the status of Anthony’s finger injury.
That was some performance your team put on against the Miami Heat, huh?
“Well it was a total team effort. I will tell you that. Being short-handed and not having Carmelo Anthony and still having Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert out of our rotation, I thought our guys really stepped up and did what they had to do to beat a great team on their floor.”
What was the mindset going into the game against the Heat knowing you didn’t have Carmelo Anthony? What did you think you needed to do in order to win?
“Well I think from a coaching standpoint, my staff and I realized we had to figure out who was going to start in that spot. Then, who was going to step up and make plays? … It gave us an opportunity to see what we actually had. … Kurt Thomas, right out of the box, was going to start for us. He made some early big plays for us from the defensive standpoint. He had a couple of early put-backs. I mean, everybody just did what they had to do for 48 minutes. It wasn’t a letup. I thought our defense was constant even though we walked in 53-53 at the end of the half. I was excited about that. Then, in the third and fourth quarter, our defense tightened up and we started making shots to open the game up.”
After a win like this over the Heat, do you feel like the Knicks now have a chance to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference?
“Well I think it’s out there, there’s no doubt about that. I have been pushing this team all along that we gotta stay at the top of our division and try to win our division, try to have the first round at home with the advantage. It doesn’t hurt if you are able to have the best record in the East or the best record in the league. Everything has gotta go through you once the playoffs start and that’s important. I think when you play playoff basketball, you gotta go out on somebody’s floor or start out in the second round of the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s tough because you gotta win a game somewhere in order to get out of the series and to be able to do it on our floor all the way through. That may be the case. It would be unbelievable, I think, for our ball club.”
How do you look at this team and feel about this team at this point?
“It’s early in this early season for our ball club; I just like the way we competed. To answer your question about Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, they have already bought into what is going on. They understand the dynamic of what is going out, building the players we did this summer with Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace and Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Six new faces and all six guys bring something unique and different to our ball club. That’s important. It doesn’t have to fall on Melo or Amar’e, but they still gotta do their part. It’s a total team effort and that’s the only way I think we are going to have a shot at trying to accomplish all the goals we set out to do this year. Everybody has gotta do their part to be a major piece of the puzzle and I think guys are buying into that.”
What’s the health status of Carmelo Anthony?
“He’s still day-to-day. Melo is not one who likes to sit down and not play, so he’ll let me know when he is ready, but until then, the beauty about our team is that it gives someone else an opportunity to step up and make plays. That’s what I live for to see who can do that.”