The change in the Knicks has been dramatic since Mike Woodson replaced Mike D’Antoni.
With D’Antoni back at the Garden with the struggling Lakers tonight, Woodson was asked this morning to explain why the Knicks’ play is so different. After thinking about it, trying to find what he wanted to say, Woodson responded:
“Maybe I scared them into playing. I don’t know. I had some things that I had to get off my chest being back in the driver’s seat as the head coach. I kind of stated what I wanted and what I expected from guys and who I was going to hold mostly accountable, which was Melo, Amar’e and Tyson at that particular time.
“They kind of knew where I was coming from. They bought in and we we’ve been playing some pretty good basketball since then. So that’s all I can attribute it to I guess. Maybe I scared them into playing, I don’t know.”
It’s worked. Anthony is an MVP candidate and the Knicks are 34-11 since Woodson took over and 19-1 at home. They were 18-24 when D’Antoni’s Knicks’ career ended in March.
When Woodson, who was an assistant under D’Antoni, was asked if the Knicks were lacking accountability before he took over, he wouldn’t answer that. But his non-answer said plenty.
“I’m not going there,” Woodson said. “I can only attest to what happened when I was coaching that time and what I expected as a head coach. That’s it. What happened before that, happened. We’ve moved on since then. We’re trying to build something in a big way and that’s what it’s all about.”
J.R. Smith will play tonight despite back spasms