Knicks in need of defensive tune-up

The injured Knicks won't the only beneficiaries of the team's upcoming trip across the Atlantic.

It will also help the coaches. The Knicks' staff will have plenty of time in between games/practices to dissect the Knicks' inconsistent play of late.

The difference between the Knicks of the past three weeks and the team that started the season 18-5 is stark.

And it starts on the defensive end.

Woodson said before Sunday's victory over the Hornets that he hoped the Knicks could put together a 48-minute effort.

That didn't happen.

The Knicks gave up 29 points in the first quarter, 20 in the first nine minutes.

To their credit, they clamped down thereafter, holding the Hornets to 58 points on 38 percent shooting over the final three quarters.

But from Woodson on down, no one was particularly impressed with their effort.

"We're starting to see progression but at the same time, no disrespect to (the Hornets), but we're playing against a team that's not going to be in the playoffs and we expect to play better than that," Smith said. "We want to be a championship caliber team, we're talking about being a championship caliber team, (so) these games shouldn't even be close."

Woodson said defense will be a point of emphasis in his next two practices.

"I just think we need the reps to get back to (the way they played earlier in the season)," Woodson said. "I sit there and I watch rotations being missed, block outs -- shots go up and we're not putting bodies on guys. We've got to get back to playing defense."

They've got to get to London first. That alone should be a step in the right direction.