On Brink of Elimination, Woodson Says ‘Strong Chance’ of Reverting to Small Lineup
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — After a one-game experiment with a bigger lineup ended in another Knicks’ loss, Mike Woodson says he’s strongly considering abandoning the experiment and reverting to the small lineup for Game 4.
In an attempt to get more size into the lineup against the bigger Indiana Pacers, Woodson started Kenyon Martin at the four and shifted Pablo Prigioni to the bench. Carmelo Anthony, who played the four in the Knicks’ small lineup, shifted to the three alonside Martin and Tyson Chandler.
The Prigioni lineup went 16-2 down the regular-season stretch, while the big lineup lost Game 4, 93-82, pushing the Knicks to the brink of elimination entering Thursday’s game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
Asked if he would go back to the old lineup, Woodson said: “We’re contemplating doing that. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. That lineup has been great for us for two, three months. and I went away from it last night to go big and a lot of that was based on guys not being in practice and not too sure about Iman [Shumpert] in terms of his knee.
“So I didn’t want to bring him off and then him being stiff. I mean there were a lot of things playing into why I did what I did but that lineup has been good and there’s a strong chance we could go right back to that lineup.”
Prigioni played just three minutes in the loss, despite being critical to the Knicks’ ball movement.
Asked after the game why he gave Prigioni so little run, Woodson said, “He played under 4 minutes. I’m not going to sit here and explain it.”
Anthony, Chandler, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire all avoided speaking to the media Wednesday, but Anthony said after Game 4 that if the Knicks don’t come motivated on Thursday they could be headed for an early summer vacation.
“If we walk into Thursday’s game with no confidence,” Anthony said, “they could easily walk away with that victory.”
Photo: Daily News
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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