In the second half Tuesday night, Carmelo Anthony missed a couple of reads guarding Orlando's pick-and-roll, which prompted the defensive-minded Mike Woodson to get on his star player. From there, the Knicks clamped down and held the Magic to just eight points in the first 9:30 of the fourth quarter, en route to a 99-89 victory.
But Woodson wasn't done discussing pick-and-roll defense. The coach harped on it during Wednesday's practice at the Antioch Community Sports Complex in San Antonio, in preparation for Thursday night's game against the Spurs. He also worked with Anthony, who's guarding more screeners in P&Rs now that he's at the four spot with Amar's Stoudemire sidelined.
"Our defensive rotations weren't right and he was a part of that, and today we kind of cleaned up some things," Woodson said Tuesday during the "Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco" show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
As he always does, Woodson said that it's not just about holding the star player accountable; it's about the entire team being on the same page.
"I think all players want to be coached and it's just a matter of you pushing the right buttons," he said. "Melo wants to be coached, he wants to win, he wants to do things the right way, so it's my job to make sure that I put him in a position to be successful. Everybody's got to try to buy in and see that it works. When the system is put in place, we've got to make sure that we at least attempt to do what's asked."
Here are a few other key nuggets from Woodson's radio appearance:
On how the Knicks will maintain their edge: "The good thing about this team versus last year's team is we're a little bit deeper, and guys have bought into what we're trying to get done on the basketball floor. They've bought in off the court, too. They are committed, and that's the only way you're going to win at a high level and even put yourself in a position to win a title. They're close to one another and they want to win, so they play like they want to win, and that's why we're 5-0. But we've got a big test tomorrow night in San Antonio."
On other big differences from last season to this one: "We're not turning the ball over as much as we did last year, and we execute at a higher level. And our defense has just been solid. They are buying in and are playing smart."
On how this season's Knicks team is better suited to compete for a championship: "I think Mike (D'Antoni) was very, very successful and you can't take that away from him. I have a great deal of respect for him in terms of what he's done. But you know as well I know that defense wins titles, and that's the only way I know it because I experienced it in Detroit as a Piston. But if you can mix some offense and defense with your team, you become the total package." He credited the Spurs and Lakers for doing that, leading to multiple championships since 1999.
You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.