Practice Report: Woody says lay off Melo

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony is shooting 31.8 percent from the field and only 2-for-22 from 3-point range in the past four games.

There are questions about the health of Melo's left shoulder -- he wore padding on that area in Game 1. But there are more concerns about him hurting the team's offense with his heavy isolation play in the postseason.

Mike Woodson, however, made it clear on Tuesday that Anthony shouldn't be the target of criticism. He said "a lot of guys came in [New York] and couldn't cut it," but Melo has, and he helped the team reach this point in the playoffs.

"He shouldn't get criticized," Woodson said in the hours leading up to Game 2 against Indiana. "Melo's had a hell of a season, man, and he's struggling a little bit, but we're right in the thick of things. ... Even as bad as we played [in Game 1], we had our chances coming down the stretch. Now our backs are against the wall, and we've got to see what we're made of."

Entering Game 2, Woodson talked to his guys about being patient, not feeling panicked.

"I'm not overreacting and I'm telling my guys not to overreact," he said. "You've got to win four games to get out of this series. We've only played one, so there shouldn't be no panic mode on anybody's faces around here."

But the Knicks need to make adjustments. Having played the Celtics and now the Pacers, two top defensive teams that rotate well, their offense has seen a flicker of change. Penetration and 3-point looks haven't been as easy to come by, and the team has leaned on Anthony and J.R. Smith late in the shot clock for points. That's why the Knicks know their defense needs to be more of a catalyst, so they don't have to rely constantly on half-court scoring.

"If we can play the defense that we have during the year when we're playing at our best, I think that's what makes our offense go -- when we can get out and run," Steve Novak said.

"I think it's about defense more than anything," Kenyon Martin added. "We've got to be more aggressive from the beginning of the game."

A DOSE OF NOVAKAINE? Novak said he's planning to play on Tuesday night after missing two games with back spasms.

"I think so -- if we can get it loose and warmed up," he said. "It's definitely not 100 percent right now."

Novak said his back "locked up" when he shot-faked during halftime warmups of Game 5.

STAT UPDATE: Woodson said Amar'e Stoudemire went through some team drills Tuesday, but he didn't scrimmage as it was a recovery day. The plan this week is for Stoudemire to go through another 3-on-3 scrimmage Wednesday, rest Thursday and play 5-on-5 on Friday. The team will then make a decision on Saturday about his Game 3 availability.

Woodson shared his thoughts on the power forward's recovery from a knee injury.

"As expected, winded and not in great shape," he said. "The fact that he's taken some body blows now a little bit and being able to cut and move, and then run up and down the court, that's a step. ... We've just got to still take it a day at a time and see where we are with him."

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