Knicks get vote of confidence from James Dolan

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks waits to take

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks waits to take a foul shot against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 20, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

Al Iannazzone

Newsday Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone. Al Iannazzone

Al Iannazzone joined Newsday in January 2012 as the Knicks’

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Mike Woodson wasn't the only one to receive a vote of confidence recently from Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan. Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Knicks' roster did, too.

In an interview with the New York Post, Dolan said he thinks "this team can win a championship." He also said he believes Woodson can guide them because he has the players' respect, and that Anthony is the star who can get them there.

That belief only means the Knicks have to work harder, and not just Woodson. Everyone has to put in the time and extra effort for the Knicks to get through this ugly, disappointing start.

The Knicks haven't looked like a playoff team, but there are 70 games left, plenty of time to fix what ails them.

Tyson Chandler is scheduled to return from a broken leg in two to four weeks. J.R. Smith, who had offseason knee surgery and was suspended the first five games for failing a drug test, is starting to look a little like the player he was last season.

But the Knicks still need more and better.

They need more consistent and better play from their point guards. They need to commit more to the defensive end and do a better job guarding the pick-and-roll. They need to get more help for Carmelo Anthony so he isn't forced to do too much and ultimately breaks down. They can't have issues with effort anymore. They need to develop better chemistry.

They need to get more out of Iman Shumpert, and if they trade him, they have to get some type of impact player for him. They have to figure out how to get more out Amar'e Stoudemire because the Knicks need a post presence.

If all that happens, the Knicks could erase their rough start and look back on this as a time when they came together, grew as a team and developed the chemistry and confidence they need. It's not all on Woodson or on Anthony -- everyone has to do more.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

Rocket men

Two fans sitting near the Thunder bench for a recent Oklahoma City home game wore Houston Rockets' gear. The Nuggets were in town, not Houston.

But the story is the fans' father gave them the tickets with the condition they had to wear Rockets' attire. Kevin Durant, among other Thunder players, had some fun with them and reportedly the fans removed the Rockets jerseys at the request of Thunder owner Clay Bennett.

Sounds a little like the Seinfeld episode when Elaine was sitting in the owner's box at a Yankees game wearing an Orioles hat. But she refused to remove it and was thrown out of the seats.

L.A. story

Kobe Bryant, who tore his Achilles tendon in April, has returned to practice and could return to game action during the Lakers' upcoming three-game trip that includes a stop in Brooklyn.

The news hasn't been as positive for Steve Nash, who remains out with nerve pain in his back. There have been reports that Nash could retire if his health doesn't improve. Nash dismissed that, as did coach Mike D'Antoni. "There's no talk of him sitting over there eating bonbons the rest of the way," D'Antoni said. "No."

Rondo rumors

Celtics president Danny Ainge told Boston reporters this past week that Rajon Rondo isn't going to be traded. The trade deadline is three months away, though, so things could change.

Of course the Knicks have an interest. Their point guard play hasn't been good at all. But that doesn't mean they will get Rondo.

Most teams that don't have a top-flight point guard would be interested in Rondo, and likely would have more to offer -- especially draft picks. The Knicks can't trade their own first-round pick until 2018, which will make it difficult to acquire any marquee player.

The Celtics clearly are rebuilding, and Ainge told The Boston Globe that Rondo is "the centerpiece of our future." But that also could be a way to let everyone know it's going to cost plenty to get Rondo if Boston decides to move him, or if he twists the Celtics' arm once he returns from his ACL surgery.

Rondo might not want to be part of a long rebuild with a rookie NBA coach in Brad Stevens.

Fast breaks

Tuesday was the nine-year anniversary of the Malice at the Palace, a fight between the Pistons and Pacers that ultimately led to players brawling with fans. Of the nine players who were suspended at least one game from that incident, only Metta World Peace, who was Ron Artest then, Jermaine O'Neal and Chauncey Billups still are playing in the NBA.

Rudy Gay took 37 shots against the Rockets last week and scored 29 points. LeBron James' reaction: "If you give me 37 shots in a game, I'd put up 60. Easy." James takes 15.7 shots per game -- he's making 60.1 percent -- and averages 25.6 points. Gay is shooting 38.1 percent.

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