Mike Woodson, Chris Copeland

Knicks have strange habit of starting players and then barely playing them


The Knicks, as pointed out by Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal, often start players like James White and Kurt Thomas and then give them very few minutes.

Herring uses a couple different benchmarks – five or fewer minutes, fewer than 16 minutes – but, either way, the Knicks lead the league by a wide margin.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson was asked about the practice:

“By starting them, you’re putting them on a stage to start in an NBA game, and guaranteeing that the player is going to go out and make the most of his minutes,” Woodson said. “Guys like [White] and Chris Copeland, they know they aren’t going to get 30 or 35 minutes, and that it might be only four or five instead. So they have to go all out. And [as a coach], you hope that helps get you off to a good start.”

I have no idea whether this is a sound strategy. But I absolutely love it.

Woodson was criticized in Atlanta for his simplistic Iso-Joe scheme, even though the Hawks had the NBA’s second-best offensive rating in his final season there. The problem was aesthetic more than anything. Fans don’t enjoy watching boring boring basketball.

But this is creative – maybe even innovative – and Woodson should get credit for thinking outside the box in an effort to help his team win more.

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

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The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show got the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score 6 (!) fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
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Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.