Woodson, Drew: Old friends don't speak

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson looks on against

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson looks on against the Orlando Magic. (March 28, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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ATLANTA -- Mike Woodson was nostalgic about being back for the first time since being let go by the Hawks after the 2009-10 season. But he wouldn't talk about his former assistant and replacement, Larry Drew.

The two haven't spoken to each other since Woodson left. "We haven't talked," Woodson said Friday. "I just want to talk about basketball. Let's keep it that way."

Woodson and Drew were teammates in the NBA, and Drew was Woodson's assistant all six years he was the Hawks' head coach. A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution said their relationship soured because Woodson believes Drew undermined him.

After the morning shootaround, neither coach mentioned the other's name. Drew praised the Knicks' play of late but didn't credit Woodson for guiding them to eight wins in nine games entering Friday.

"In a lot of cases, teams do respond to coaching changes," Drew said. "If you look at the New York team, they've certainly responded to what has happened."

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Smith respects Woodson

Hawks forward Josh Smith and Woodson went through some rough times, but Smith said it made him better and considers Woodson a friend. Smith also said Woodson's offensive philosophies are better suited to Carmelo Anthony than what Mike D'Antoni ran.

"Mike [Woodson] concentrates on the star players getting the ball because he understands they attract so much attention on defense that they can leave guys open on the perimeter instead of everybody has the green light," Smith said. "I think he's definitely benefitted out of it. You can tell from his game."

Smith said he is happy his old coach got the job.

"I gave him a call when they gave him the interim job and told him congratulations and I know he's going to do good things for this organization," Smith said. "Right now, it's telling it all."

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