Clock Ticking … Woodson Will Serve As Sacrifice For Knicks’ Bigger Failures

VIDEO: The GameTime crew breaks down the final plays of the Knicks’ loss Monday

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It won’t be cheerful around Mike Woodson‘s household come Christmas — provided the embattled New York Knicks’ coach lasts that long.

Woodson did the right thing Monday night, manning up to his failings in the final stages of the Knicks’ gut-punch loss to Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.

But his own words may well cost him his job.

“I probably should have taken it, the timeout, there at the end,” Woodson said after the final frantic moments of what New Yorker’s have already crowned the “Manhattan Meltdown.”

Woodson didn’t call the timeout to organize his troops in those chaotic final seconds. His team didn’t foul Beal before he was able to glide to the rim, basically uncontested, for the game-winning layup. In the waning ticks of the clock, Woodson stood silently, with three timeouts unused.

So it was left to Carmelo Anthony to try to atone for his coach’s mistake. Melo’s desperation heave at the buzzer couldn’t salvage a disastrous situation.

Then things got really bad for Woodson.

“I should’ve reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket,” Woodson said of Beal’s game-winner, “so that’s on me … It happened so fast.”

Woodson, of course, will serve as the sacrifice, but there’s a much bigger failure by the organization here. After all, he’s not the one who made the personnel decisions that have left the Knicks with a mismatched roster of players incapable of repeating what last season’s Atlantic Division-winning crew did. He’s not the one playing defense. (Or, as in the Knicks’ case, not playing defense).

That said, someone has to serve as the fall guy. And firing the coach is often the only way to pacify an uneasy fan base.

Is it fair? Probably not. It usually isn’t. But Woodson and the other members of the NBA’s coaching fraternity are paid handsomely to shoulder this sort of burden. They get hired knowing that the ending is usually an ugly one, with the coach being shown the door without any of the pomp and circumstance that accompanied the process on the front end.

“As far as I’m concerned he’s secure right now,” Anthony said in defense of the coach that engineered the Knicks’ 54-win season a year ago. “I haven’t heard anything. Nothing to discuss, so he’s our coach and we’re rolling with him.”

The other words he spoke, however, are the ones that will resonate with the masses.

“We were supposed to call a timeout, we didn’t, and we lost the game,” Anthony said. “If he said it’s his fault, then it’s his fault. There’s no need for me to talk about that or make excuses for it.”

The chances of Woodson turning this around any time soon are remote. Tyson Chandler‘s return from injury won’t save him. Neither will compliance from J.R. Smith. Jim Dolan‘s vote of confidence at this point will serve only to stir the drama.

So the rumors will persist. Rumblings about the Knicks pursuing the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau as a potential replacement/savior will no doubt intensify, stoked furiously by the New York media machine.

And Woodson will bear the brunt of it all. Because, fair or not, this is on him.

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks’ loss to the Wizards


  1. sports fan says:

    Even though a coach can now call a timeout, Carmelo still should’ve called for a timeout regardless. He is a veteran & the leader of the Knicks so he should know better. Woodson should be given a chance to try to turn things around when Chandler gets back in the line-up.

  2. robert says:

    Knicks do not play team offense and defense. Melo takes all the shots and they dont play team defense that’s why they lost to the Wizards

  3. Roy says:

    Even though it pains me to say….. they should consider trading J.R. Smith & Raymond Felton. Only players they should consider trading. I would say Andrea but nobody is going to take him. They should have never picked him up. He is a terrible player, horrific on defense and his offense is barely satisfying.

    Woodson, Melo, and Chandler should all keep put. They’re fine.

    • Davro83 says:

      “Pains you to say JR and felton”. If it pains you to say it then you dont know basketball. JR is a terrible player. He wasnt to me like mElo but cant shoot. And felton is a backup point guard at best., I would trade both these in a heart beat.
      And have you been watching the knicks play? Bargnani has been playing well this season. Yes his help D is bad, but one on one, his defense this year has been excellent. His 3 point percentage is also the highest its been in a few years. I would trade anyone form the knicks excpet Melo, Chamdler, Prigioni and possible Bargnani.

  4. Fatou says:

    I feel like mike woodson should know how to play his players. I am not saying he should be fired but it is his fault the Knicks are losing. Anything that happens on the court and the outside is the coach’s fault. Since the Knicks are desperate for a new point guard, we need a trade(no names). If the Knicks replace Mike Woodson, then that’s their problem either way you are going to win or lose with that new coach. I believe Knicks would be able to come back. They just need to work as a team and not be lazy on their defense.

  5. Vern says:

    With a good pg that last play wouldn’t have been necessary. They had a good lead.With a good point they wouldn’t have lost the lead. No sense blaming it on any one person because the whole team made mental breakdowns

  6. okc2014 says:

    My hands are up on this one. Fire Woodson? Get rid of players? I don’t know where to start. That team is way too problematic. And I don’t care enough about them to think a real solution through. But I’m very excited to see how this will all pan out. Based on this article it’s safe to say that Woodson may be a panelist on NBATV come Christmas time?

  7. nymicks says:

    in first, excuse me for my poor english,
    in second, team management is responsible for this ugly season debut: you can’t replace Kidd, Copeland, Kurt Thomas, Camby and Wallace, who make the chemistry of last season, with 2 players without basket-ball IQ.
    Bargnani is a selfish player who takes shot in first intention, without rebounding presence…and takes 5 rebounds per game in 30 minutes. For the second player, I have no comment…
    Third, Woodson makes too many poor coaching decisions: without efficiency, JR and Bargnani stay on the court, in the final seconds, Carmelo does nothing good (Chicago-Denver-Wash) and prefer takes a long distance shoot instead of to take a drive. This guy was clutch…. now he got the ball to win the game and…….7-17
    I think it’s very hard to drive persons like the Knicks roster and maybe Woodson is disagree with management and trade rumors but if he’s not able to take a time out… him.

  8. kiefy says:

    The real tragedy here is that with a record of 7 – 17 this organization is still only 3 or 4 games back from playoff seeding. The Eastern conference is shamefully bad and shamelessly tanking (contrary to the spirit of the draft rules). Why can’t the NBA do something to give this league some legitimacy like other professional sports?

  9. asharif24 says:

    knicks should trade amare studemire to the celtics for rajan rondo

  10. asharif24 says:

    Knicks should trade Stoudemire to celtics for Rondo when he comes back

  11. Seriously says:

    Are you kidding? Woodson has been OWNED by every one of the coaches the Knicks played this season. He was owned by Frank Vogel last year during the 2nd round. This is not the first of his mistakes – he makes these mistakes every game, this one stands out because it happened in the last 20 seconds but he has been an absolute failure as a coach this year. He does not make any adjustments, does not know when to take JR out of the game, does not know how to hold Melo accountable.. Also to say Woodson has no say in personal is absolutely wrong. A head coach is not the guy who signs the players but he does have heavy influence on the players who are coming in. Anyone saying otherwise does not know how basketball decisions are made. Unfortunately for the Knicks – Woodson held the regards of CAA (JR Smith, Chris Smith, Melo, Bargnani) over basketball decisions. These are also the players that are defending him.. Come on tell the story like it is.

  12. It’s all about mentality and the fact that they play criminal defense, keep an eye on schumpert on this play

  13. Unkle Daddy says:

    They should do a coach trade with the Lakers then they would see the players and the coaches both are bad on both sides. D’Antoni back to the Knicks… Lol!

  14. Tyrone Glover says:

    Played the game practically all of my life, that defense that coach Woody has the team playing is not designed for the personnel we have, too much switching , creating far to many mismatches! The zone for this group worked fine in the Boston game , what does coach do go away from it. Boston comes back and we all know the rest…..Coach appears to be incapable of

  15. jose says:

    carmelo in my view should leave. not a team player and takes way too much shot

    • KC says:

      Um, what? Melo is the only thing this team has going for it now that Chandler is out with an injury. Who is going to shoulder the offensive load if there’s no Melo? Who is going to take the big shot when the game is on the line? Yeah, Melo needs to step up his defense but offensively, I don’t know if there’s a player I’d rather have take the last shot than him.

      But they should have called a time out.

  16. Jesse says:

    Hey trade JR, Shumpert and Bargnani. Right now Andrea is having a good season; you should trade him now that he has some trade value before he is back to his old self again.

    • asadsqwqds says:

      haha you crack me up, who tha hell would take on barganis contract? bargani is doing good right now, but they wont find a trade for him, same with JR, paid to much of his production, only trade chip knicks have is shump because he is cheap and young.

  17. bballron43 says:

    You can’t win if you dont play defense. Its the coaches responsibility to demand and teach defense. If a player doesn’t play defense he sits. Additionally the Knicks do not have a good team! to old and slow and banged up

  18. #clippernation says:

    The Knicks problem is that need a better coach that can actually fit all these unique pieces into one contender team. Right now Iman and Smith aren’t playing at the level they were at last year. I see this team being a championship team if they get their act together. I honestly think that they should trade Raymon and get a good perimeter shooter who can also create their own shot.

  19. dustydreamnz says:

    Yeah, I don’t think Woodson should go either. Last season with Woodson coaching their team was of similar quality and had 50 wins. I do think Lowry would be a good trade though. It’ll be interesting to see how much they improve when Chandler returns.

    • Denholm says:

      knicks will never trust masai ujiri again after he left them for broke with bargnani, they would lose either hardaway or shumpert and that leaves them with almost no talent, or picks to develop, they might make the playoffs but they would not be a title contender, they werent last season even with 50 wins, blow up the roster, trade for picks, start fresh.

  20. Jesse says:

    Melo is the only player in the Knicks roster that should not be in the trade market!!!

  21. realknlckfan says:

    Say what u want but Eric Gordon is better with the ball in his hands. Wonder what he would look like at the point for the knlcks, he is wasted in NO …… just a thought

  22. Eaham says:

    Is not the coach. They shoudn’t fire Woodson. Atleast alow felton and tyson chandler to be healthy before you aim all the cirticism at the coach. Carmelo isn’t to blame either, he is a one man team right now and efficient, while J.R chucks away shots like its his team. Get rid of J.R, literally get rid of that disease and allow the knicks to have more efficnent shots for other players. Dolan knows best, don’t fire woodson

  23. realknlckfan says:

    Very few teams can win without a legit pg. Yes this is mostly on woodson, but in grade school I would have known to call timeout as a player. The only one with any heart who is not sceard of the moment is melo so everybody else leaves it up to him, and then won,t back him up when it don’t work out. Everyone on the court and on the bench should’ev been screaming timeout.MAKE ATRADE! GET A STARTING PG .we have 3 backups.

  24. asasa says:

    I blame knicks backcourt for the failures, Shump and JR are playing horrible, Shump has already cost knicks 2 wins down the stretch, the faul vs indiana and now the horrible defense on beal against washington he even had a foul to give and still messed it up.

  25. bballjunkie1 says:

    New York will have the same problems with whomever coaches them if they don’t stress defense 1st. Plain and simple, defensive minded teams are talking to each other these guys don’t talk, screen or help, it didnt matter the time out, Beasly rolling uncontested with game on the line was the problem, no help so if time out called Mello would have hosted up something anyway and I guess a game winner after squandering their lead would have erased their problems.