Big or small lineup, Knicks lack fight
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To put a twist on an old saying: It's not the size of the Knicks in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the Knicks.
There certainly was size in the Knicks' lineup on Saturday, but in coach Mike Woodson's eyes, not enough fight.
Even with 7-foot Andrea Bargnani in the starting lineup alongside 6-8 Carmelo Anthony and 7-1 Tyson Chandler, the Knicks were dominated on the boards and easily beaten to the rim by the visiting Grizzlies in a 95-87 loss. Woodson said he was unhappy with the Knicks' effort and even said the game tape was embarrassing to watch.
"When guys are missing blockouts, when we're giving up layups because we're not protecting one another from a defensive standpoint, that to me is all effort plays," Woodson said. "We can't keep making excuses for ourselves. We've got to start winning games."
After the loss, Anthony expressed frustration with the Knicks' ever-changing starting lineup, which has had 12 variations in 26 games.
Woodson said he will decide if he wants to stick with the big lineup Monday night in Orlando. That lineup could include Raymond Felton, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury. Felton, listed as questionable, said he is not 100 percent and that it will be a game-time decision.
But Woodson seemed less concerned with who will be available than with getting consistent effort from the players who have been on the court. That lack of effort is something even the players themselves have acknowledged.
"We [had] a few -- I don't want to say mental lapses -- but just effort lapses," J.R. Smith said. "Boxing out, gang rebounding, coming up with loose balls, that's all effort plays. We did that with five to six minutes to go in the fourth but we didn't do that prior to that."
Added Woodson: "I've always felt as a coach, if you're in uniform and you suit up, then I expect you to play and play at a high level. Doesn't matter who plays, it's what you do with the minutes when you're out there."
Notes & quotes: Woodson said Metta World Peace (left knee) remains day-to-day . . . Tim Hardaway Jr. did not participate in practice because of an upset stomach. "He was kind of sick after [Saturday's] game,'' Woodson said. "We had to give him the day off because he was struggling."