GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he doesn't think much about his job security. Still, he was happy to get a vote of confidence this week from Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan.
"It means a lot," Woodson said after practice Friday, "but this is not about me. This is about our team digging ourselves out of the hole."
The Knicks (3-8) have lost four straight and are headed on a four-game road trip that includes tough games against Portland and the Clippers. In an interview in Friday's New York Post, Dolan said he is confident that Woodson can turn it around.
"I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players," Dolan said. "They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that's part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team . . . that's when a coach is kind of done."
Injured center Tyson Chandler certainly has Woodson's back, and he said it's great to see him get support from management. "I think Coach has done an excellent job," he said. "I think you can't be so quick to jump off the boat. It's early in the season, 10 games in or so on the season. Yeah, we've had our struggles, but I believe things are going to turn around. We had a good year last year and I expect better things this year, like I say, come later in the season. It's early. We've got to get some things together, obviously. But I fully expect this team to turn in the right direction."
Woodson apparently has lost some fans. The Knicks' home losing streak has reached six games, and there have been some chants for his firing.
Woodson said yesterday that it's OK with him if fans want to express their opinions. "I've been playing basketball all my life. I've not always been the most-liked guy when I played on teams," he said. "That's just the nature of our sport. Does it bother me? Absolutely not. And I mean that when I say that."
The one positive is that the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference are so bad that the Knicks haven't fallen far behind. After Friday night's action, they are only two games behind the first-place Raptors in the division and only one game out of a playoff spot. Only four of 15 teams in the conference are over .500.
"I haven't lived my dream as a coach worrying about the security of my job. Trust me when I tell you that,'' Woodson said. "I think it's great that the owner's come out and given me a vote of confidence that he believes in me. And I believe in him . . . But at the end of the day, I got a job to do, and that's trying to get this team back headed in the right direction."
Notes & quotes: The NBA fined Woodson $25,000 Friday for criticizing officials in a radio interview . . . Raymond Felton (hip) is questionable for Saturday night's game at Washington.
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the
Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
Cablevision owns Newsday.