With the Knicks' soft schedule entering the All-Star break, Mike Woodson has a slight chance to coach the Eastern All-Star squad. The Knicks could conceivably pass Miami for best record in the Eastern Conference by the cutoff date for coaching selection — Feb. 3.

The second-seeded Knicks (28-15) trail the Heat (29-13) by 1 1/2 games in the East standings after last night's action. If the clubs are tied, Woodson has the edge over Erik Spoelstra — 2-0 vs. the Heat.

"If it happens, that's great. I'm not in it to coach an all-star team,'' Woodson said. "I'm in it for one thing, man. To try to win a title and try to bring it back to New York. That's what I'm in it for. I let the players understand the All-Star Game is a great game to showcase talent, the best players around the league. I'm about one thing. Trying to keep them healthy and see how far we can make this run.''

The Knicks are amid a five-game homestand. Following last night's 113-97 win over Orland, they play host to Milwaukee, Sacramento and Detroit, before going on the road to play Washington.

"It's dangling out there,'' Woodson said. "If it happens, it happens. If not, I'm just going to go and rest, and think basketball and get ready for the final stretch.''

* The Knicks won't have a player in the Rookie-Sophomore All-Star Game as second-year man Iman Shumpert got passed on again. He understood it this time as he didn't make his season debut until the London game Jan. 17.

"If they did, it would've been great, but I figured they wouldn't,'' Shumpert said.

Shumpert's exclusion from the Rookie squad at last year's All-Star Game caused a ruckus. Then Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni ripped the decision when told assistant coaches vote on the Rookie-Sophomore game.