Mike Woodson is coaching the New York Knicks, the oldest team in NBA history who, through the first ten games of the season, are 8-2. There are five players 35+ years old, and only one player under the age of 25. This season, Woodson will have to do what Gregg Popovich does with his San Antonio Spurs: always coach with the next game in mind.
In the Knicks’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Ronnie Brewer only played 21 minutes, and Marcus Camby (38), Pablo Prigioni (35), and Kurt Thomas (40) did not play. This was the second of back-to-back road games, the first a 20 point victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
New York is looking like one of the best defensive teams in the NBA thus far, but in the second of back-to-back games, the decline in their defense was noticeable. After beating the Spurs 104-100 on 11/15, they took on the Memphis Grizzlies the very next day, and fell 95-105.
As Carmelo Anthony continues to battle with the lack of calls from road referees, I do have to wonder about how he will hold up over the course of the 82-game season. Against Dallas, the Knicks were making a run in the final minutes after being down the whole game and had a chance to take the lead with less than a minute left. Anthony drove, and was drilled in the face by the Mavericks’ Chris Kaman, but received no call. On the next possession, Anthony took a jumper over Shawn Marion with 4.8 seconds left, but the ball slipped out of his hands and didn’t even hit the rim. The Mavs then hit their foul shots and ran the clock out.
“I can take a punch,” Anthony said in reference to injury concerns over the no call. “I’m alright.”
The Knicks, like every other team in the league, are indeed flawed. How successful they are is just going to be a matter of Woodson’s ability to cover those flaws as the season unwinds.