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Chris Copeland gets his chance, takes full advantage

Chris Copeland tries to drive past Detroit Pistons

Chris Copeland tries to drive past Detroit Pistons forward Jason Maxiell during a game at the O2 Arena in London. (Jan. 17, 2013) Credit: Getty

The Knicks' rotation is going to just keep spinning, and that could be good news for Chris Copeland.

With the Knicks missing Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, Copeland scored 12 points in seven minutes in Saturday night's 113-84 win over the Jazz. "Tonight he proved he deserves to be on the floor,'' Mike Woodson said. "We'll play him on this West Coast swing.''

Said Copeland, "I thank God for these teammates. These guys pick me up and keep my mind right. They let me know I have to stay ready and not get frustrated with any situation. The coaches, too. Coach Woody tells me, 'Your time will come. You just have to stay ready.' ''

Copeland has shown a flair for scoring but rarely had played of late, mostly because Woodson has been looking for someone who is more adept defensively. Going into Saturday night, in fact, Copeland had played only once in the previous 13 games and was officially inactive for two of them.

Copeland did play well in that one game -- 13 points in 10 minutes on Feb. 20 -- and he might have to replicate that now that Stoudemire is out for six weeks and Anthony's health is uncertain.

"We've got to ride everybody. Cope becomes a player," Woodson said Saturday morning, adding that Copeland shares a position with James White and that the latter is more of a defensive player.

Even before he heard that Stoudemire needs surgery, the coach said, "Tonight we may need Cope because we probably need some offense."

He added, "As young players in the league -- it's his first go-around being in the league -- you've just got to mentally stay ready. I don't know when I'm going to play him. I've just got to pick and choose how we go around and look for different rotations again. We've kind of been battling that all season, but, hey, it's part of my job."


Proud lineup

The Knicks used the same starting lineup as they had in the one-point loss to the Thunder Thursday night: White, Kurt Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. "I think we started out all right," Woodson said of the Thursday game.

Chandler thought the ending was good, too, despite the loss. "It was a joy to watch,'' he said. "I told my teammates in the locker room afterwards, 'Don't hold your head down. We play like that, we're going to win our share of games.' "


Kidd nears 40

Jason Kidd turns 40 two weeks from Saturday night. "What he's been able to accomplish is unbelievable," said Chandler, who also was his teammate on the Mavericks' title-winning 2011 team. "He has to be in the top three point guards of all time. The way he has played the game he has been able to evolve, he's brilliant. His mind is brilliant."


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