Can ‘Stubborn’ Woodson Step Up?


HANG TIME, Texas — Stubborn is refusing to take the fashion hint that it’s not OK to wear that plaid shirt with those striped pants. Stubborn is not letting the guy in the next lane with his turn signal on get in front of you during rush hour.

The admission by Knicks coach Mike Woodson that he ignored a request by Carmelo Anthony to come out of the game against the Cavaliers would seem to go way beyond stubborn to that other word that begins with “st.”

In an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 FM, Woodson said that Anthony had asked to be removed from the game due to knee discomfort before suffering an injury in the second quarter.

Woodson decided to leave Anthony in the game and his leading man aggravated the right knee injury when he tripped without contact. Anthony went to the locker room with 6:42 remaining in the second quarter and did not return to the game, which the Knicks rallied from 22 points down to win.

Anthony officially has been diagnosed with a sore knee and is listed as questionable for tonight at Detroit and could miss Thursday’s high-profile showdown at Madison Square Garden against the Thunder.

“Melo was hurt,” Woodson said on The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show. “For him to ask me to come out of the game before he actually took that spill made me realize that something wasn’t right. He’s never ever, ever, even hinted about coming out of the game [before Monday]. I play him too much in that regard. Melo’s a trooper — he’s a warrior, he’s a tough kid.”

Asked why he chose to leave Anthony in the game after the request to come out, Woodson said: “I should have [taken him out]. Stubborn coach — I just didn’t.”

It is almost inconceivable that a head coach would blow off such a request from his star player, which has led some to speculate that perhaps Anthony was looking for a quick exit after an 0-for-4 first quarter and ultimately a 1-for-5 shooting performance that left him with a season-low six points.

But considering that Anthony could be on the shelf now for the next two games, that cover-up hardly seems likely.

There is also the matter of Woodson leaving Amar’e Stoudemire on the bench for the final eight minutes on Sunday when Miami was making a comeback from 16 points down to beat the Knicks.

Woodson said after the game that he stuck with his lineup of Anthony, J.R. Smith, Jason, Kidd, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler because he liked the Chris Bosh-Chandler matchup when the Heat went small. But he has since changed his mind.

“Bad coaching,” Woodson said. “You can blame that on coach. Hey, you live and you learn. I learned from it.”

In the little over a month since Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert have returned from injuries, Woodson has handled his rotation like a one-armed juggler, grasping wildly at anything.

At a time when the Knicks should be gearing up for the playoffs with the confidence that comes from a solid identity, they have neither. That’s on the coach.


  1. LeBlocked says:

    Woodson’s decision-making in three very important games — TWO were losses (Loss vs. OKC, Comeback at CLE, Absolutely gut-wrenching loss vs. MIA) — has begun to make me doubt whatever it is he is trying to do here in New York. What is the purpose of starting James White and Kurt Thomas, who by now should barely even be in the rotation as hard as that is to say? Why are the Knicks playing small ball to close out games when it was proven by the losses to Miami and Oklahoma City that it won’t work against a coach with a brain? This is starting to look pretty bad for Woodson who I really want to make it with this team, he seems so promising when things are going good but when it rains it pours. PLEASE DON’T TURN NYK INTO THE ATLANTA HAWKS.

  2. Kamote says:

    Pop for COY. From making Duncan dominant, to letting TP take his place, to incorporating new guys to his system, to almost winning against great teams while resting his star players. And yes, they still hold the best record right now.

    The COY award is always focused on teams that makes a huge turn-around from the past year (much of the reason why most COY winners get fired after another year or so). That won’t happen with Pop, because he has just been consistent all throughout his coaching career. Tim, Manu and TP get older every year… while Tiago, Leonard, Green, Neal and the rest are improving gradually. A few are noticing that the Spurs are changing, and thats because theyve just been consistent for more than a decade now. Thats what a great coach should do.

  3. bob says:

    good thing denver got rid of melo , any team that has melo or westbrick will never be NBA champion , NEVER EVER

  4. iSHAQ or SHAQTOLOGY says:

    give quality minutes to KENYON MARTIN…
    rest for a moment…. PLAYOFFS is coming…..

    ERIK SPO coach of the year…
    for getting RAY ALLEN & CHRIS ANDERSEN
    MIAMI champion again….

  5. Sponz says:

    I still have faith in Mike Woodson. I think he has the man management skills needed to get the best out of this Knicks team. Melo playing better D, JR Smith becoming a greatly improved all round player, Amare agreeing to come off the bench! These are just some of the things that Woodson has made possible with his elite man management skills. I feel like Mike will be able to improve all other facets of his game. It probably won’t happen this year, but maybe the next. The core of the team is guaranteed for the next few years at least. If we can turnover some of the old guys for young up and coming bench guys to run off the bench then we will be in with a much better shot.

  6. Bob M says:

    Woodson had the same problems in ATL. It was poor coaching decisions that gave him the gate from a talented Hawks team. He has done better than I expected with the Knicks. They are playing better defense and are getting good team chemistry. He has more talent and veteran leadership with the Knicks. Hopefully, it doesn’t turn into the problem that he had in Atlanta.
    The Knicks have a shot. Talented players that know how to win make the most difference in the playoffs. Woody has a couple of champions on his team. They still have a good shot.

  7. Gregory kaloyerakis says:

    i think the other st word is stupid

  8. Isaaac says:

    i can see where Woodson was coming from. Down by 20+, melo is the knicks go-to-guy, woodson decided that melo – even sub 100% – was better at the time than the alternative. Woodson saw his decision as the one in the best interests of his team at that moment. As they say: Hindsight is 20/20

  9. Let’s hope its not a costly mistake

  10. john says:

    Also coach of the year candidates don’t make mistakes like he has andchampionship caliber teams ddon’t blow 19 point leads

  11. john says:

    Woodson is a punk. Nowmelo is out for a while. If melo has never asked to come out and he requests it then take him out. And horrible coaching vs heat . Amare is playing better and smarter and u leave him on bench. . If u r blowing a 16 point lead then your lineup u have in is not doing their job. .No way in a million years should he get coach of year. He is a total a.s clown

  12. sports fan says:

    Tom Thibodeau should get coach of the year. Without Derrick Rose the Bulls have far exceeded everybody’s expectations. Although Woodson is doing better than D’Antoni he should still be doing a better job with the talent he has on their roster. I can’t think of any other instance where a coach did not take his star player out when the player is requesting it.

    • W/E says:

      omg…coach of the year? give it to George Karl please..if the bulls were in the western conference they wouldnt even make the playoffs and i doubt the nicks would even get 8th place..

      • Bstarr says:

        Agree a 10000% with you on this. I prefer George Karl and not Tom Thibodeau. The way the Nuggets are playing is marvelous! Reminds me of the Supersonics in the 90’s.

  13. Druiddribbles says:

    Blame the trip during the Cavalier’s game on Melo but blame the Miami loss on the Heat. Step up and be accounted for.

  14. Bstarr says:

    For me he is still a contender for coach of the year. Did you not see what a mess that clown d’Antoni made with the same material???? With Mike Woodson the Knicks are back in the top of the East & league. Every coach can make mistakes…..did you not see the NBA finals last year??? Scott Brooks tactics were horrible!

    So don’t judge Mike Woodson on 1 lost game against the Heat pall. It has been almost a decade ago that the Knicks were a as good as now. Ask Spike, he can tell ya!

  15. Loki says:

    Much respect for Coach Woodson putting the blame on himself for the mistakes. I have no doubt he’s going to learn from them and use that knowledge to power them through the rest of the season and not get destroyed in the first round this time

  16. Dommy says:

    at least he’s willing to admit his mistakes, i have a feeling he’ll learn well from them.

    • TheStarMiddleschooler says:

      Hes a horrible coach tryin to figure out what to do with a outdated roster….Kid needs to retire now and then he would mess up the lineup less, Starting Lineup:
      SF Melo/Smith (Melos hurt)
      PF:Amare (trash trade him)
      C Tyson (Meh)
      Good team:Bad Coach

  17. Shirley (B-U6) Nat says:

    And it was this man who is meant to be in contention for Coach of the Year.