Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quote of the Day (The Knicks’ Mike Woodson, on Defense)

“I have zero ego as a coach, none. If you think you see something that’s going to work better than what we’re trying to do, speak up! Say something to me! But what I’m telling you guys is that if you guys will just consistently do what we’re asking you to do on defense, we’ll win games. I don’t give a shit about the offense; you guys can score more than enough points to win games. The offense isn’t the problem. But you have to get stops on defense, and if you’ll listen to what we’re telling you, I promise you’ll get stops. The shit works, okay?”—New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, speech to his onetime team, the Atlanta Hawks, recorded by Slam Magazine’s Lang Whitaker, quoted by Will Leitch, “The Anti-D’Antoni,” New York Magazine, November 5, 2012

The New York Knicks surprising winning streak continues, with the team rolling last night to a 102-80 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. The win leaves them 8-1 atop the Atlantic Division, as well as with a better winning percentage than last year’s league champs, the Miami Heat.

Talk all you want about scoring, but the difference this year from the recent dismal past is the Gospel of Defense as preached by Mike Woodson. Longtime believers—very much including such baby boomers as myself—have been longing for the day when recent Knickerbocker coaches get it through the heads of today’s players that the philosophy expounded by Red Holzman and Pat Riley still works. All credit to Woodson, then, doing whatever it took to get Carmelo Anthony to convert to the old-time religion—and prove himself the impact player the franchise wanted when they made the blockbuster deal for him.

(Since writing the above, I just got the news about the team's loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Let's hope it was just a matter of road exhaustion--and too little time between games to recover.)

(Photo of Woodson from May 2008, by Chris J. Nelson)

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