Mike Woodson says this is no time to panic for 3-9 Knicks
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Some Knicks have sounded the alarm, and Mike Woodson, already unhappy with what he's been seeing, doesn't like what he's hearing.
After the Knicks' fifth straight defeat, a 98-89 loss to the Wizards on Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony said he's worried about his teammates putting their heads down and losing confidence. J.R. Smith thinks the Knicks are feeling pressure. Earlier in the week, he said "I'm panicking" because of their rough start.
"They shouldn't feel pressure," Woodson said after practice on Sunday. "I think we're two games out with a lot of games left. Panic word shouldn't even be an issue. The issue is how can we come together as a group and figure out how to play consistent basketball for 48 minutes? So I don't know what J.R. is talking about.
"It shouldn't be panic time. It's too early in the game for that."
But the Knicks are 3-9 as they begin the Western Conference leg of this four-game trip Monday night against the Blazers. From there, the Knicks play at the Clippers and Denver.
If the Knicks truly are rattled and don't find a way to execute better offensively and stop three quick and talented point guards in Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Ty Lawson, they could go winless on this trip. John Wall torched them for 31 points Saturday night.
Even with the vote of confidence he recently received from Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan, returning to New York 3-12 wouldn't be good for Woodson.
"If we panic, we might as well shut the season down," Raymond Felton said. "It's no need to panic. We've just got to figure this thing out."
There have been several constants for the Knicks -- all negative. They're not making shots and forcing too many of them. Woodson said they talked at practice about making the extra pass and not settling for long jumpers.
The Knicks shot 14-for-38 (36.8 percent) in the second half against Washington, including 6-for-18 from three-point range. They also have defensive deficiencies on the perimeter and in the paint.
They miss Tyson Chandler, who will be out at least another two weeks with a broken bone in his right leg. Felton remains hobbled with a pinched nerve in his hip. The point guard, who wasn't playing well when he was healthy, said it would take a "miracle" to play against the Blazers, adding "wishful thinking, L.A."
Other teams find ways to win without key players. The Knicks did last season but haven't been able to thus far. Because of the injuries and the minutes restrictions on Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire at the start of the season, Woodson still is juggling lineups and rotations.
"It's hard because you got two starters that are not in uniform," he said. "I don't know what kind of team we really have. We haven't had a full deck. Somehow we have to get to that just to see where we are. Until we get there, we got to somehow maintain and hold this thing down so it don't get too far out of whack."
One positive Saturday night was Stoudemire's 5-for-5, 12-point performance in 21:37. He and Martin had "recovery days" Sunday, according to Woodson. He hopes to have Stoudemire against Portland and believes he can continue to be productive.
"I think we can get back to that because that's what we saw last year before he went down that last time," Woodson said. "At the end of the day, we need a win. That might shed light on our ballclub in terms of making us feel good about ourselves. Nobody likes losing. The only way we're going to get out of it is we have to do it ourselves."
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.