Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during the first half...

Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during the first half of a game against the Toronto Raptors. (Feb. 13, 2013) Credit: AP

A Knick finally defended someone.

Carmelo Anthony backed his coach, who has come under fire amid the Knicks' uninspired start.

There is speculation that Mike Woodson could be in trouble if the Knicks don't turn things around quickly. They have lost three straight at home, including Sunday's embarrassing 31-point drubbing by the Spurs, during which "Fire Woodson" chants were heard at the Garden.

"It's New York, it happens," Anthony said after practice Monday. "Woody's not out there playing; we're out there playing. You can't blame Woody. We're not as a team giving him the effort that he's looking for, and we've got to change that."

There could be a change at the top if the Knicks don't change how they play, starting Wednesday night against the Hawks in Atlanta.

Whether realistic or not, the Knicks entered the season with championship expectations, but they are 2-4 and have faced double-digit first-half deficits at home the last three games.

Losing defensive anchor Tyson Chandler for four to six weeks with a broken leg leaves the Knicks with a huge void in the middle. Teams are meeting little resistance at the rim.

The Knicks have to counter that by playing better team defense and not getting beat off the dribble. Neither of those things happened Sunday, and that has Woodson concerned.

"I'm not happy when you play like this," Woodson said. "I know we are better than a 30-point blowout. We are a better team than that. Is it just one of those games or is this thing going to linger on? I am trying to put the fire out."

This is the first time Woodson has experienced this problem and this heat since he replaced Mike D'Antoni as coach in March 2012.

Woodson guided the Knicks to an 18-6 finish that season. Last year, the Knicks went 54-28, won the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994 and captured a playoff series for the first time since 2000. They believed they would take another step this season, but they seem to be going backward.

"The confidence is there," Anthony said. "I don't think we're losing that. I think right now it's just all about the effort."

Anthony said he has to stay positive and upbeat and not let these struggles affect his demeanor or else it will trickle down to his teammates.

"I've been through worse,'' he said. "Trust me, I've been through worse in my career. That's why my confidence is sky-high that this can get turned around and we'll find a way to get it rolling.''

Anthony said "without a doubt'' he's experienced worse with the Knicks than what they're going through now. He didn't elaborate, but Anthony took the heat for D'Antoni's departure. Now Anthony seems to be trying to take some of it away from Woodson.

"It starts with individuals,'' Anthony said. "Everybody's got to want to do it, everybody's got to put forth the individual effort, and then that relays to the team. If we're not all doing it as an individual, it's not going to work."

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