GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- More often than not, defending the pick-and-roll has been a mystery for the Knicks this year.
According to Synergy Sports, they are giving up the second-most points per play in the NBA to both the ball handler and the screener on pick-and-roll plays this season.
At issue is the Knicks' decision to switch defenders on pick-and-rolls. Often, the switching leads to a mismatch (think small guard defending big man or plodding big man defending a quick point guard).
Mike Woodson wants all of the switching to stop.
"I don't want to switch," Woodson said after Thursday's practice. "I've always wanted to put the emphasis on our perimeter guys to guard perimeter players. Bigs are supposed to guard bigs and when there's some breakdowns there is supposed to be help. It's a team defense.
"We've had our problems in that area," the coach added. "Those are things that were trying to correct because if we do it right, and we have ... it works. I've just got to get us going a little bit more consistently."
Often, the pick-and-roll defense has been the tipping point for a Knicks team that enters play Thursday ranked 24th in defensive efficiency.
Point guards are scoring more than 20 points per 48 minutes against the Knicks, according to 82games.com.
"Everybody has problems with the pick and roll. That's a problem in our league. You're either going to get under it or you're going to get over it to try to secure the basketball," Woodson said. "We've had our struggles in that area big time and that's something that we're going to have to work to clean up."
Bargs should get more minutes vs. TOR: Andrea Bargnani surprisingly played just 16 minutes against Oklahoma City on Christmas Day. Woodson didn't explain why Bargnani, who is averaging 30.5 minutes per game, wasn't out there for his normal complement of playing time against Oklahoma City.
But the coach said he expected Bargnani to play more minutes against the Raptors on Friday and Saturday. ... Woodson said he did not speak to Beno Udrih about Udrih's comments after Wednesday's game. Udrih said that he wasn't comfortable with all of the criticism being directed at him. He never mentioned Woodson by name, but the coach has been critical of Udrih after several recent losses.
J.R. not looking at division standings: The Knicks can climb to within one game of the Atlantic Division lead with two wins over Toronto this weekend. But J.R. Smith isn't focused on the division standings.
"In our situation we've got to win every game, no matter who's in first, who's in last place," Smith said. "To look at [Toronto] any different than we do anybody else just because they're in first place, I think that'd be stupid."
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