Practice Report: Melo respects Martin's D

Even with Carmelo Anthony's potential return on Wednesday night, Mike Woodson said that one thing has to remain the same: the defense. In the past two games, without essential personnel, the Knicks still held the Clippers and Jazz to 93 and 83 points, respectively.

"Having Melo back is a major plus in terms of our offensive flow and him being able to make shots for us as well, so it should open it up a little bit more," Woodson said. "But our defense has got to stay consistent in terms of how we play."

Kenyon Martin will make his fourth start Wednesday, and his early-game toughness has been key. Some NBA games don't get competitive until the second half, but Martin doesn't waste time setting an intimidating tone. And he's not afraid to foul hard to send a message.

"He brings toughness, he defends, he's got energy, he finishes well around the rim," Woodson said. "So it's a plus for our team, especially now that we're short-handed with the bigs."

Anthony said Martin has been "picking the intensity up defensively for us."

"That's something that we all know he can bring to the team," Anthony said. "That's one of the reasons why he's on this team. He's been showing that. We've been banged up a little bit with our bigs and he's been stepping up."

THE WEAK LINKS: Speaking of defense, Woodson said Steve Novak and Chris Copeland need to be more locked in.

"Cope has been solid in the minutes that he's gotten," he said. "I'm just trying, when he's in there, to jump start his motor in terms of him having some kind of urgency defensively. He and Novak both, because it's going to be critical as we move up this road that when they get in the game, they cannot take those possessions off."

CAREFUL WITH CAMBY: The Knicks simply can't afford to have another big man go down to injury, which is why Woodson is not planning to increase Marcus Camby's playing time.

"We've still got to be careful with him," he said. "I'm running out of bigs. I don't think I can play him 30 minutes or 25 minutes. I've got to really walk a fine line there in terms of Marcus, especially on back-to-back games."

GOAL REMAINS: Winning the Atlantic Division, which the Knicks (39-26) lead by one game over the Nets (39-28), is still a priority.

"As of right now, we still believe we will win our division," Anthony said. "We're going to win our division. That's our confidence at this moment."

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