Woodson’s On Hot Seat As Knicks Suffer Worst Loss of the Season to Washington Wizards

Published on: 17th December, 2013


Knicks vs. Thunder
Anthony was a game-time scratch  | read this item

Related News

  • No Related Post

New York — Here in New York, we’ve seen our fair share of losing over the past several seasons and across all sports. But, tonight, at Madison Square Garden, the loss incurred by the Knicks may have been about the worst we’ve seen in these parts in memory.

Tonight, the Knicks coaching staff and the veteran players who make up most of their roster had mental lapses that were not only unforgivable, they were also unbelievable in a 102-101 loss to the Washington Wizards.

There are certain losses that can be marked as pivotal to a franchise’s present and future. Losses so terrible that a team’s confidence in itself and in its coach can be permanently affected. Losses that, by their very nature could impact on the employment of the team’s coach and some of its players.

Tonight was, quite possibly, such a loss for the New York Knickerbockers and its coach, Mike Woodson.

Anthony's last second heave went nowhere

Anthony’s last second heave went nowhere

It was a game that could have and should have had a happy ending for the Knicks, with positive story lines coming out of the home team’s come-from-behind rally in the fourth quarter, to J.R. Smith finally discovering his long-range shooting touch, and the Knicks fighting and scratching to get back in the game despite losing Pablo Prigioni to a fractured toe. Instead, this turned into the worst loss of the season and possibly, a loss we’ll look back at when the story of this season is finally written when the schedule runs out on April 16, 2014.

Tonight, in a game where Washington surprisingly came into Madison Square Garden and outplayed the Knicks, even taking a 15-point lead with 9:33 left in the third quarter, it came down to their young guard, Bradley Beal, beating Beno Udrih on a baseline drive to put the Wizards up by one, 102-101, with 6.9 seconds remaining in the game.

With 24.5 seconds left in the game, Udrih hit one of two foul shots to put the Knicks up by one, 101-100. The Wizards then called timeout.

Woodson said afterwards that he had told his charges there were three timeouts and a foul to give. In the post-game, though, every Knicks player interviewed said Woodson had not reminded them of the timeouts.

Beal then easily scored his bucket, beating an exhausted and slow afoot Udrih easily to put Washington up by one.

And, why did Beal have such an easy trek to the basket to hit that go-ahead layup? Another Knicks mental error. Udrih, playing because starting guard Prigioni fractured a big toe earlier in the game, overplayed Beal to his right, giving up a baseline drive. But, in that defensive setup, Andreas Bargnani was to rotate over to the baseline to block Beal’s dribble. Bargnani forgot to do his job and watched the whole thing from the foul line.

But that wasn’t all.

The Knicks, with those three timeouts remaining, decided not to take it to set up the final play for the win.

“I probably should have taken a timeout there at the end, but you know Beno (Udrih) grabbed it and the ball is in Melo’s hands before I could even react and I should have reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “So, that’s on me.”

Ya think? What Woodson forgot to do is unfathomable in the NBA. This ain’t a rec league, this is the real deal. It was amazing that none of the Knicks coaches got up and started waving their hands and screaming to Anthony to stop dribbling upcourt and call the damned timeout. (Where is Lawrence Frank when you need him?)

Woodson says he screwed up. Some players said they screwed up. Another player, Carmelo Anthony said that if his coach is admitting to screwing up, he’ll go with that excuse.

And, what exactly was Anthony thinking as he called for the ball after Beal’s bucket with 6.9 seconds remaining and practically walked it upcourt? Didn’t he, a ten-year veteran realize the Knicks would get the ball at mid-court after a timeout to set up a play, undoubtedly for Anthony to win the game?

“I think we were expecting a timeout,” Anthony said. Except, he called for the inbounds pass from Udrih after Beal’s score and slowly, excruciatingly slowly walked the ball up the court as the clock wound down.

Very simply, they all screwed up.

Mike Woodson may have owned up to it all when the Knicks’ latest debacle was over on Monday night but his taking responsibility for such an egregious mistake may not be enough to change his status as a coach-in-waiting — of a pink slip.

Readers Comments