It’s been an up-and-down year for the New York Knicks, but they’ve still managed to grab the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference despite a slew of injuries down the stretch. New York is getting healthier, though, which has head coach Mike Woodson encouraged. Now, they have to deal with what could be an emotionally charged Celtics team in the opening round.
Mike Woodson joined Stephen A.Smith and Ryan Ruocco for his weekly spot on ESPN New York to discuss the state of the Knicks heading into a playoff series with the Celtics, the impact the tragic events this week in Boston could have on said series, and the team’s health situation entering the playoffs. He expressed confidence in this team’s ability to hit its stride entering the playoffs and explained why the recent signing Quentin Richardson could help them.
On his team’s first-round playoff series with the Celtics:
“It should be a great series both ways, because nobody wants to go home. So I’m kind of anxious to get to our game Saturday and see what we’re made of.”
On if he thinks the tragic events this week in Boston will impact the series:
“Boston has always been known for great fans, you know that as well as I do, and they’re gonna be there no matter what to support their team, just like our Knicks fans. … It’s a tragedy that something like that has to happen, and hopefully it will bring people closer together. But the matchup is what it is. I mean, the Celtic fans are great, our fans are great.”
On if they’ll approach the series differently:
“Yeah, we will approach it differently from the standpoint of the game itself and keeping our composure and just playing the game, and trying to win a 48-minute ballgame each time we step out on that floor.”
On feeling confident despite injuries and the statuses of key injured players:
“Although we’ve been beat up and kind of rode this roller coaster this season, we still — I think — have enough guys to compete for the Eastern Conference Finals. Only time will tell. I’m sure we’re going to get Tyson [Chandler] and K-Mart and guys like that back in uniform by Saturday, and we’re just gonna have to wait on Amare [Stoudemire] and possibly Rasheed [Wallace] and Camby. But if we get everybody back, it just gives us extra bodies, if we’ve gotta throw in there for not long minutes but good short minutes to help us win games, that’s all gonna be a plus for our ballclub as we head up this road.”
On feeling his team can play “perfect basketball:”
“You gotta almost play perfect basketball when you get in the playoffs. Do I think we have the team that’s capable of doing that? Absolutely. I think we’ve proven that this season.”
On signing Quentin Richardson:
“I figure when we get some of our bigs back, we wouldn’t have to go big. And it gives us one more perimeter guy that can defend a little bit, that can make shots and space the floor like we play. I just think it adds to what we’re trying to do.”