GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Even when the Knicks were in a complete free-fall and a dreadful seven-game losing streak, Mike Woodson never thought his team packed it in for the season.
“I’ve never thought our team quit,” Woodson said after practice on Monday. “I’ve never thought that. Even in games that we’ve lost that were close games coming down the stretch, we held leads, we just wasn’t able to get over the hump.
“I wasn’t able to get them over the hump,” Woodson continued. “But they never quit and they’re not quitting now. We’re playing for something, trying to see if we can get that eight spot and start a new season.”
The Knicks are on a roll but will put their six-game winning streak on the line against East-leading Indiana at the Garden on Wednesday night. Entering Monday’s game, the Knicks (27-40) trailed Atlanta by 3.5 games for the eighth spot in the East.
“Nobody wants to go home and watch [the playoffs] on TV, I surely don’t,” Woodson said. “They should be hungry too and I think we are. The way we’ve been playing has proven that we’re here and we’re trying to push to get that eight spot and we can’t have any slippage.”
Besides the Knicks’ recent hot play, Woodson also can feel a little electricity in the air around the organization with Phil Jackson’s arrival. The team is holding a much-anticipated press conference on Tuesday morning.
Combine that with the big game on Wednesday and the Knicks are pretty excited right now.
“He can’t help but enhance the organization,” Woodson said of Jackson. “I think there’s a buzz in the air. There’s a lot of excitement around New York and Knick nation.”
“He’s going to get everybody’s attention right off the bat,” Woodson added. “And that’s how it should be. I’m sure he’s had time to think about what he’s walking into and I’m sure he has a plan. Until he gets here and puts everything in motion ... it’s going to be exciting day tomorrow for all of us because again it’s a guy who’s been very successful in what he’s done.”