When Mike D'Antoni resigned from the Knicks in March, there were some reports saying that the coach and his star player, Carmelo Anthony, didn't see eye to eye in regards to the offense.
While D'Antoni had always favored the pick-and-roll dating back to his Suns days with Steve Nash, Anthony had always been a player who excelled more in isolation.
But Mike Woodson suggested before the Lakers game that Melo didn't have a problem playing for D'Antoni.
"He's always been coachable," Woodson said. "From day one when I stepped in here, that hasn't changed -- even when I was an assistant."
On Thursday night, both coaches will have the biggest challenge of limiting the two best scorers in the NBA right now: Anthony (27.7 points per game) and Kobe Bryant (29.2). Woodson was asked if he thought the tempo of the game may change with more scoring from the two stars, perhaps with them even going head-to-head at times.
He said, "Kobe's had great games at the Garden and we're playing at such a high level here at home and Melo's been great, man. So it should be a good game."
The Knicks will look to defend the only undefeated home record in the league at 8-0, and it all starts with Bryant and Anthony. Bryant had a big game at the Garden on Feb. 2, 2009, scoring 61 points. This season, Anthony is averaging a league-best 28.9 points at home.
Woodson said he's going with his usual starting five of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Anthony and Tyson Chandler. D'Antoni said Metta World Peace will mostly guard Anthony. On the flip side, expect Brewer and J.R. Smith on Bryant -- perhaps even some Melo for some potentially highlight-worthy matchup moments.
3-POINT STREAK: The Knicks are on pace to break the single-season record for most 3-point attempts. Woodson had no idea.
"I didn't know that until you mentioned it," he said. "I don't care about that. We've got to make them."
They currently have 616 attempts, but they're making 40.9 percent of them -- third-best in the league.
THE NEED FOR SHEED: The players have been raving about Rasheed Wallace's locker room presence this season. But that hasn't surprised Woodson.
"When we got him in Detroit, he was the same way," he said. "I mean, I knew exactly what I was getting from him when we made the move to bring him over. The players respect him based on what he's done throughout his career, and he's been great on and off the court."
WOODSON ON D'ANTONI'S OFFENSE: Woodson talked about how he's utilized D'Antoni's offense, with some alterations:
"I didn't abandon his offense. I've taken his offense and added a lot. We're still playing open basketball, trying to get guys the freedom to play. If you look around our team with Kidd and Raymond and Pablo and J.R. and Melo and Ronnie, all these guys can make plays with the basketball.
"I've used a lot of Mike's offense, but I've also taken his offense and tried to expand it and do some things that I like to run, like double pick-and-rolls and triples and misdirection plays and things of that nature. Those are things I've examined from his offense and I've tried to expand a little bit. I like everything about Mike's offense. I really do."
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