Mike Woodson said he hasn't made major changes to the Knicks' system, but their play the last two games has changed dramatically.
Looking more committed and focused than at the end of Mike D'Antoni's tenure as coach, the Knicks built a 32-point lead and routed the Indiana Pacers, 115-100, Friday night at the Garden. Two nights earlier, the Knicks beat the Trail Blazers by 42 points in Woodson's debut.
It was the first time the Knicks have won consecutive games since their seven-game streak was snapped Feb. 17.
"I think now with the change, we had to come together as a team and really figure out, ask ourselves what we really want," Carmelo Anthony said. "Right now we want to win basketball games. We want to get to the playoffs. Why not start now and burn that intensity and keep going?"
Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith scored 16 points each to lead the Knicks (20-24) to the win over the team with the East's fourth-best record. Jeremy Lin had 13 points and five assists and Anthony added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Woodson became interim coach after D'Antoni resigned Wednesday. The Knicks had lost six straight and weren't playing with the energy or urgency one would expect from a team fighting for a playoff spot. The Knicks began Friday night ninth in the East, tied with the Bucks, who own a tiebreaker edge.
Woodson said he's made only some "tweaks." He talks about holding players "accountable."
"If you're sincere about what you want to get accomplished as a player, you'll figure it out, and it's my job to make you figure it out," Woodson said. "I struggle with players that don't play hard.''
The Knicks have responded.
They've controlled the last two games and played strong defense. They've allowed an average of 89.5 points and won by 57 points combined. "Unfortunately, sometimes it takes something dramatic to open up guys' eyes,'' Chandler said. "I think guys now are responding to everything that has happened. Now we're trying to make a positive out of a negative.''
Said Woodson: "We're playing with more urgency now.''
The Knicks showed it right away. They helped force the Pacers into 16 misses in their first 18 attempts. The Knicks held Indiana to six points in the first 10:21 and led by 15. It grew to 19 in the second quarter, 30 in the third and 32 (102-70) with 6:56 left.
"We're just building as a team," Lin said. "We're improving and I think we're developing our chemistry right now."