The ring is the thing for Knicks

BREAK OUT SEASON In 2010, Bargnani had his BREAK OUT SEASON
In 2010, Bargnani had his best season as a pro. In his first season without Chris Bosh, Bargnani took over as the teams top player. He started 66 games, all at center, and averaged 21.4 points and 5.2 rebounds and shot 34.5 percent from three-point range. Photo Credit: Getty Images

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The Knicks haven't been over .500 since Jan. 13, but there was title talk in the locker room after Saturday night's win over Detroit. Everywhere you looked, there was championship hardware.

Hoping it would inspire the team after a poor performance in Toronto on Friday, Tyson Chandler brought the championship ring he won last year with Dallas to the game to show his teammates. Also, pictures of the NBA championship trophy were hung over each locker during the Pistons game. "We've got to remember what we're fighting for," Chandler said.

Chandler said Max Cayard, the Knicks' manager of player security, told him he should break out the ring. The trophies likely were the coach's call. "Whenever you have those trophy posters over your locker, it gives you that visual that you can achieve that goal, so it's great to see it," Amar'e Stoudemire said.

"They're inspiring," Carmelo Anthony added. "They're motivating. It gives us something to look up to, look forward to. We know where we want to be at and a lot of work we need to do to get there."

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Lin says knee is OK

Jeremy Lin said his left knee has been bothering him from "over-use" for a few days but said it's "nothing serious." He was asked if it's something the Knicks will have to monitor, especially given that they're averaging about four games a week. "No," he said. "Doc said it should be gone soon. Just stay on top of it and keep doing different exercises and get in there and do rehab."

Jeffries out for a while

The Knicks will be without valuable reserve Jared Jeffries for at least the next two weeks. An MRI Saturday revealed inflammation in his right knee, which was repaired last summer and has bothered him throughout this season.

"We just got to take it a day at a time and welcome him back when he's healthy," Mike Woodson said. "A good, healthy Jared is great for our ballclub because he does a lot of things to anchor our bench defensively."

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Jeffries injured the knee Wednesday in Philadelphia. He said it "buckled," and when he got up, he walked right into the locker room. He missed four games earlier this month with right knee soreness.

The Knicks have struggled defensively when Jeffries has been out. They lost the previous five games Jeffries missed before Saturday night, giving up 108.6 points in those games.

"We'll give him the two weeks and see how he feels and then hopefully he'll be back on the court,'' Woodson said, "because we could use him."

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Woodson was confident

Woodson was an assistant with the Pistons when they won the 2004 NBA title, and he interviewed for their head- coaching vacancy that went to Lawrence Frank last summer. But the former Hawks coach said he wasn't worried that he wouldn't find another job.

"I struck out three times, not just with Detroit," Woodson said. "I interviewed in Minnesota and I interviewed in Houston as well. I thought all the interviews were great. But ownership and whoever made the decisions in those organizations decided to go in another direction, and I've got to respect that.

"I was just excited I got a phone call here, giving me an opportunity to come back to New York and an opportunity to get back to work, because that year off was a long year."

No comment

For the second straight day, Baron Davis declined to comment on his confrontation with Jose Calderon during and after Friday's game in Toronto. "I got nothing to say," he said . . . Woodson said the Knicks are considering sending rookie center Jerome Jordan back to the D-League to get some experience. It may be on hold now with Jeffries' injury.

Knicks-Bucks on ESPN

The April 11 game between the Knicks and Bucks, who currently are battling for the East's last playoff spot, will be televised by ESPN. It also will air on MSG. Ten of the Knicks' remaining 17 games will be broadcast nationally on ABC, TNT or ESPN.

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