While it is no surprise that the New York Knicks (31-28) rolled over the Washington Wizards (14-45) 103-65, it was a bit surprising to see the New Jersey Nets (22-38) beat the Philadelphia 76ers (31-28) on their home court 95-89. What is even more surprising is that the people calling into sports shows on talk radio here in New York are still going on about Knicks interim head coach (with emphasis on interim) Mike Woodson being out of the picture for next season. As the Knicks keep winning (even without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin) it seems incongruous that people are not willing to give Woodson a chance to be in the mix for next year.
The Knicks are 13-4 since Woodson took over, and Carmelo Anthony is playing like, well, Carmelo Anthony, instead of that impostor who played under Mike D’Antoni. Whatever the reason for this resurgence of prowess, Knicks fans need to know it is a good thing. Whether or not it is because Woodson is a great coach seems inconsequential to many, but the truth is that this team has been designed around Anthony, and it wasn’t working under D’Antoni. It is now definitely working and Woodson is a big part of that.
The fact that the Nets gave the Knicks a little gift is a nice touch, especially with the Nets having a chance to play spoiler. The Knicks are now tied for second place in the Atlantic division and for seventh in the playoff race. There was a time not too long ago when the Knicks didn’t look like they would make the playoffs; now, unless there is a major collapse, it seems a certainty.
The Nets get to play Boston today, and if by any chance they still want to play spoiler, that would be fine with Knicks fans. We are not getting any ideas here about taking the division, not being three games back with seven games left, but the closer we get to the Celtics, the better it is for us. It also speaks volumes about Woodson and what he has done with this team over the last seventeen games.
The bottom line for me is this: if the Knicks make the playoffs, Woodson should be seriously considered as head coach for next year. Why shop around? He has the right emphasis on defense, the players like him, and the fans appreciate his ability to motivate and guide this team. Mike Woodson as Knicks head coach for next year should be a no-brainer, but some people around town apparently don’t think so.
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