It took Jason Kidd shooting 19% from the field over the entire month of February for Mike Woodson to take away his starting spot before last night’s game against the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately, Woodson’s stubborness came back on display in the fourth quarter and for a while seemed like it may cost us the game. Lucky for the Knicks, the Wizards give you a lot of room for error and New York got themselves right to hold a three-game winning streak before facing the Miami Heat tomorrow.
NEW LINEUPS BUT SOME OLD BAD HABITS: James White made the start at small forward with Iman Shumpert finally getting moved to shooting guard. White didn’t supply anything in the way of offense, but he also wasn’t a defensive liability, which had been the problem with Kidd trying to defend faster guards. Unfortunately, Carmelo Anthony was off (1-6 in quarter), but JR Smith and Raymond Felton were aggressive looking for their shots and getting to the rim. And Steve Novak hit a nice bank shot and a trey to help the Knicks lead 26-23 after one.
With Pablo Prigioni out with back spasms, Woodson had Kidd man a new second unit of Kidd, Shump, Novak, Stat and Chandler. The defensive rotations were still off and Chandler was visibly annoyed at times, but at least a deficit wasn’t created. Things tightened up with Melo and JR coming back in and the Knicks took a 54-48 lead into halftime.
After a horrid third quarter where the Knicks went six minutes without a field goal and were outscored 29-19 to give up the lead (73-77), Woodson resumed his love affair with Kidd getting major minutes in the fourth despite bricking several open shots. He would keep him in there until the 3:21 mark. Stat had words for Woodson when he sat for most of the fourth after getting some good points in the post, and he wouldn’t come in until Kidd got benched. Shumpert got in when the game was all but already decided by the cold shooting from the Wizards.
Knicks fans can only hope Kidd doesn’t get this much burn against Miami tomorrow.
NO K-MART?: I would have really liked to see what Kenyon Martin could have done last night. I guess with the Wizards not having Nene, Woodson didn’t feel the need to play him. I feel his defense could have really helped stifle that crazy 21-6 run the Wizards had in the third quarter. K-Mart and Camby are expected to be available for Sunday.
CLOSING STRONG: Outside of the third, the Knicks closed every quarter with a run. They had shutout runs of 8-0 and 9-0 in the first half, and the Wizards were held to just three field goals in the entire fourth quarter (outscored 23-11 in the quarter).
MOMENTUM PLAY: The Knicks were down 75-77 early in the fourth when a steal lead to a Kidd fast break. Wall chased him down for a block that was ruled a goaltend, sending Wall into a brief tirade that earned him a tech. That three-point swing gave the Knicks a 78-77 lead, which they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
FELTON HITS A FLOATER?!: Hell has frozen over. Not only did Felton hit a floater, but it was the shot that iced the game. That shot has been broken all year, making this one of the most unintentionally funny Knicks-related videos of the season.
ANOTHER CAREER-HIGH: Surprise, surprise — another guard gets their career-high on the Knicks. Last night it was Bradley Beal scoring 29 points with 12 coming from downtown. Luckily he was off in the fourth with the rest of his team.
BACK IN 2ND PLACE: The Knicks are back in second place in the Eastern Conference, but the hold is very tenuous — a bad loss or two and the Knicks could be as far down as fourth place. That makes the Heat game on Sunday very important.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcj4V84MT4&feature=youtube_gdata_player]