GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson doesn’t want his team’s 31-point loss to the Spurs to become a trend.
So he’s trying to put “the fire out” now with the Knicks having lost four of their past five games.
“I’m not happy when you play like this,” Woodson said after practice on Monday. “Because I know we are better than a 30-point blowout last night. I mean, we are a better team than that.
"Is it just one of those games, or is this thing going to linger on?" Woodson continued. "I am trying to put the fire out. We got to defend. It is just that simple. You put yourself in position to win games when you defend and rebound the ball."
The Knicks fell behind 21-4 before eventually trailing by as much as 37 in a 120-89 loss to the Spurs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have had some disturbingly flat starts at home, and their defense has been poor at times.
They’ve lost their best defender and biggest inside presence in Tyson Chandler to a broken leg for at least the next month. And team owner James Dolan hasn’t been thrilled with the Knicks’ lackluster start, so pressure continues to build around the Knicks and Woodson.
The Knicks have been trying to integrate new pieces like Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace and they just got J.R. Smith back on Sunday from a five-game suspension.
Anthony called for a team meeting last week to urge his team to give more effort and play harder. The Knicks responded by winning in Charlotte last week before failing to show up against San Antonio.
Anthony called the loss “embarrassing” while Woodson said it was “unacceptable” and he wondered where the team’s pride was in the second half when it trailed by as much as 37 points.
Anthony said he accepts the challenge of having to lead this team out of its current funk.
“I don’t like to play with pressure, but I can’t be blind to the fact its pressure,” Anthony said of if he feels pressure to lead by staying positive for the team. “I gotta accept that, and I’ve accepted that. I’ve accepted the challenge to lead this team, and I will continue doing my best to try and do that, regardless of what that is.”
Anthony says he remains extremely confident.
“I’ve been through worse, trust me,” Anthony said. “I been through worse in my career. That’s why my confidence is sky high that this can get turned around, and we’ll find a way to get it rolling.”