Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
The last two weeks have just been games and rest days.
I don't mean to make too big a deal of this, but Nate Taylor's article from today has some interesting notes about the Knicks' schedule for the last two weeks or so. Fact number one is that the sixteen-day period ending tonight has been, as we discussed before it started, pretty rough. There were ten games during those sixteen days, eight of them on the road.
Fact number two is closely related: Mike Woodson hasn't held a full practice since November 14th, the day before the Knicks beat the Spurs. Since that day, they haven't scrimmaged or run drills and, by sheer coincidence, have gone 3-4 in their basketball games. On one hand, a long break from practice isn't unusual, and rest is valuable for a team with several players recovering from injury and several more perpetually recovering from being 40 years old. On the other hand, the Knicks sure have looked like they need some practice. Their ball movement lacks, their defensive rotations have completely fallen apart, and they're just palpably duller and less organized than earlier in the season. Now, they might very well look even worse right now if they'd been expending energy on those off days, but quotes like this one suggest otherwise:
"Sometimes when you don’t play well, and you have losses, you like to go back and make adjustments and improvements," Knicks forward Ronnie Brewer said. "Since we’ve had so many games and so many back-to-backs, we haven’t had that opportunity."
Woodson and Tyson Chandler echoed Brewer's sentiment about what can be lost without practice. Thankfully, the schedule's about to open up a little bit-- New York starts next week with their first two-day break in a while-- and Woodson might finally be able to get his guys in the practice gym for a minute. A long homestand in mid-December should also allow the Knicks some time to drill. They definitely need it.
(Side note: I think this also sheds some light on Woodson's reluctance to play Marcus Camby. Camby just hasn't had any time to run around or practice sets with his teammates at this point.)