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‘Melo says Knicks players “worried” Woodson could lose job if losing continues


We told you yesterday Mike Woodson’s seat is getting hot in New York — The Knicks are 3-13 and have lost nine in a row, owner James Dolan has a Nets obsession, the Knicks play the Nets on Thursday and if the Knicks streak reaches 10… let’s just say Dolan is unpredictable.

The fact Woodson could lose his job does worry the Knicks players, Carmelo Anthony said, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

“I mean, yeah, we’re worried about that,” Anthony said on Tuesday. “But then again, we’ve got to worry about playing basketball, man. I think that’s been a problem in New York all this time. Everybody worries about what’s being said on the outside.

“As a team we’ve got to stick together. We’ve got to control our locker room. We’ve got to control what happens on the basketball court. That’s by us playing hard, that’s by us sticking to the game plan and doing what coach Woodson says to do out there on the basketball court. We can’t worry about the speculation that’s going on outside this building and we shouldn’t. And as a leader of this team I’ll try my best not to allow that.”

We can pick apart what Woodson has done wrong as coach of the Knicks — the desire to go big and make ‘Melo a three when he is better at the four, the team’s confusion over switching on defense — but the fact is Knicks management gave him a mismatched roster that can’t win without Tyson Chandler healthy. Woodson would be a scapegoat for bigger problems if fired.

Plus, who could the Knicks get to replace him? Phil Jackson isn’t walking through that door. Neither is Jeff Van Gundy. Coaches know the Knicks are basically locked into this roster for next season, too, with the possibility ‘Melo could leave as a free agent this summer. Look at what George Karl told Denver journalist Dave Krieger in a recent interview when asked about a return to coaching (Karl wants the right fit):

“I mean, I watch the Knicks play and I wouldn’t want to be in that hell for a million dollars. It’s just New York City and the Garden and the immensity of the pressure. I think Mike Woodson is standing up to it with tremendous integrity.”

The Knicks getting some wins would cure the issues short term — eventually the Knicks will get Chandler back, eventually J.R. Smith will start hitting some shots, eventually they will play better but they need some wins short term to take the pressure off for now.

And ‘Melo should be worried, because right now he pretty much has to carry them to those wins.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.