Knicks

Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Undermanned Knicks take off and take day off

The Knicks aren’t practicing today and it’s not just because they’ve won eight-of-nine games since Mike Woodson became interim coach.

Woodson gave them their second day off this week to keep them physically fresh and able to play. It’s a good move since the Knicks are so banged up.

They’re already without Amar’e Stoudemre (back), Jeremy Lin (knee), Jared Jeffries (knee) and Bill Walker (elbow). Carmelo Anthony is playing through a strained right groin that hobbled him last night and Baron Davis a sore hamstring that also limited him.

But Anthony and Davis fought through their injuries to help the Knicks to a 108-86 win over the Magic. Anthony had 25 points and six assists and Davis 11 points, six assists and seven rebounds in a game the Knicks led by 39.

When the two weren’t on the court together they were sharing the exercise bike to keep their respective injured parts loose.

“I was monitoring Baron along with Carmelo, and constantly turning and asking how many minutes each guy had played,” Woodson said. “I can’t afford to lose anyone, neither one of those guys. Anybody really at this point. So with so many guys being banged up, we've really got to keep eyes on that and watch it closely.”

Tomorrow the Knicks start a back-to-back in Atlanta and there are no guarantees Lin will be back. So it’s important for Anthony, Davis and Tyson Chandler, who has been playing through pain for much of this season, to get some rest.

Lately, the Knicks haven’t been resting much on the court. Their defense has been “stifling” as Mike Woodson said over the last nine games. Here are some numbers that bear it out:

The Knicks have held seven of their last nine opponents under 90 points. That happened 11 times in the first 42 games. It’s no secret the Knicks are playing much harder defensively since Woodson replaced Mike D’Antoni.
 

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