As Mike Woodson saw it, Tyson Chandler was resting on his All-Star laurels and that was unacceptable.
"When you're voted as an All-Star, I mean that's how you've got to play each time you step out on the floor," Woodson said after practice Thursday in Greenburgh. "There's no excuse. I just didn't think he was playing at that level, especially at the offensive end. He probably thought he was. But I wanted him to play with more pace, more pep. That was my assessment as the coach. When I see slippage, it's my job to address that."
So Woodson sat Chandler down before the Knicks defeated Orlando and told him he had to start asserting himself, even when he is in direct competition for shots with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. The Knick center, who will play in his first All-Star Game next month in Houston, responded with 21 points, the first time he cracked 20 since a win at Sacramento on Dec. 28.
"I took his advice," Chandler said.
Whether they're All-Stars or bench players, Woodson continues to make the Knicks accountable, which should bode well as the team tries to continue to challenge Miami for the top spot in the East.
"He's the perfect coach for New York, and that's why I thought Knicks fans would love him," said Orlando's Al Harrington, who played in Atlanta for Woodson. "Coach Woodson always holds players accountable.
"He's direct. He's real. He tells you when you're not performing the way you should be."
The Knicks can expect to hear criticism from Woodson if they don't come out with a big defensive effort Friday when they host the Bucks. Milwaukee is 24-20 and in seventh place in the East. But the Bucks have gone 8-4, with wins at Chicago, at Portland and against Golden State, since Jersey City product Jim Boylan replaced Scott Skiles as coach last month.
Boylan hopes to continue to make his mark as an interim coach, just as Woodson did last season when the Knicks finished out the season 18-6 after Mike D'Antoni and the Knicks parted ways. As for the Knicks, they know what's coming if they get off to another poor defensive start.
"We hear it all the time," Raymond Felton said.
Woodson was all over his guards when they allowed Orlando's J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson to light them up in the first three quarters on Wednesday night. The backcourt will be challenged again by the Bucks' tandem of Brandon Jennings, who has been a Knick-killer since the Knicks passed over him in the 2009 draft, and Monta Ellis.
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Tyson Chandler is an All-Star, but NY Knicks coach Mike Woodson tells him to play like one
New York Daily News | Feb 1