Woody hints at keeping Game 5 rotation
May, 17, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsMike Woodson benched Amar'e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd for the entire second half in Game 5.Mike Woodson still has confidence in Jason Kidd.
Just not enough confidence to guarantee the slumping veteran more minutes in Game 6.
Woodson played Kidd just five minutes in the Knicks' Game 5 win over Indiana. Kidd did not play in the second half.
Neither did Amar'e Stoudemire, who played just seven first-half minutes in Game 5.
When asked on a conference call if he planned to change his lineup for Game 6 to give Kidd and Stoudemire more minutes, Woodson was noncommittal.
But he hinted that he'd be sticking with what worked in Game 5 -- which probably means Kidd and Stoudemire will get minimal playing time.
"Those two guys have just got to be ready to play. At this point, it’s about winning. We played a different rotation last night, it worked. We’ll look at that rotation again," Woodson said.
Woodson went with Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland over Kidd and Stoudemire in the Knicks' 85-75 win Thursday night.
Copeland responded with 13 points off the bench, and Prigioni helped hound the Pacers into 19 turnovers.
Kidd and Stoudemire played ahead of both Copeland and Prigioni in Game 4 in Indy, when the Knicks were embarrassed at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
So it makes sense that Woodson would stick with Copeland and Prigioni in Game 6.
Woodson, though, did express confidence that Kidd would eventually break out of his extended shooting slump.
Kidd hasn't scored in his last eight games. His most recent bucket was in Game 2 of the Knicks-Celtics series -- on April 23.
"Jason’s going through a tough stretch. Do I have confidence in Jason in putting him on the basketball floor? Absolutely, that will never go away," Woodson said.
Woodson did not address Stoudemire during his conference call. But the $100 million power forward has played just two games since coming back from knee surgery and it is clear that he needs more time to get his rhythm back. So Copeland is a better option. Also, Copeland is a more effective scorer at this point. His perimeter shooting spaces the floor, which can potentially open up driving lanes and force the Indiana bigs out of the paint.
FELTON AND CHANDLER "FINE": Starters Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler were hobbled after Game 5.
Felton hurt his ankle on a steal attempt late in the third quarter. Chandler hurt his back and wrist after taking a hard foul in the fourth.
Woodson said on Friday that both players were "fine and ready to go" for Game 6.
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