Woodson: Team needs to be 'more physical'

Mike Woodson is planning to put Melo and the Knicks through a few rigorous practices this week. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- During Saturday's practice, Mike Woodson spent time going through film of the Knicks' recent losses to three physical teams -- the Celtics, Pacers and Bulls -- and their Jan. 3 win over the Spurs.

Of the many points he wanted to make, comparing good versus bad defense, one of the biggest was there needs to be more aggressiveness for 48 minutes, not just in spurts.

"I'm not condoning physical play to hit people or anything like that. We've just got to be a little more physical," he said. "We were that way when we started the season and we've had some slippage in that area. I look at the Boston game, I look at the two Chicago games here at home. They were the tougher teams."

Speaking with reporters, Woodson sounded adamant about what he wants from his players -- and he's planning to organize two or three rigorous practices after Sunday, before they play the Pistons on Thursday in London. The coach wants to make it tougher on them, so they bring that same intensity to the court.

"We've just got to get back to where we were," he said. "I don't like to say we need to beat up on each other, but we need to get in the gym where we mix it up a little bit, and if it becomes out of control -- because I'm going to force that issue. ... It ain't about trying to outscore teams, which we've been struggling in that area as of late. It's about trying to defend, rebound and then we'll figure out the offense once we get the ball."

Woodson said he feels a big reason for the Knicks' recent "slippage" is because the team hasn't had many practice repetitions to prepare for games. He's glad the guys will have those coming up.

"I've been doing this a long time, man," he said. "I like to practice because I know if I get a good practice, I feel good about going into that game. I really do. When there's a s----y practice, I don't feel good."

MELO'S TAKE: From watching the film, Carmelo Anthony realized the team hasn't been talking much on defense.

"We have just a lack of communication, and the games that we've been losing, those are the games that we don't talk," he said.

Anthony said the guys are approaching Sunday's game against the Hornets as a "must-win," and they're especially focused on performing well in the first quarter. In their past eight losses, the Knicks outscored their opponent in the opening period just once.

"We need that," he said. "We need to get off to a great start tomorrow just for our own sake, get our confidence back, get off to a fast start and win the basketball game."

STAT'S TAKE: From watching the film, Amar'e Stoudemire recognized the effort wasn't there. He said he wants to see everyone demonstrate more leadership.

"It's about character, and it's being built now," he said. "We're having a low point right now. We've got to make sure we maintain character, maintain professionalism and go out there and do what we can to win."

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