Only one word is needed to tell you how interim coach Mike Woodson has led the New York Knicks to a 4-0 record since his promotion last week: Accountability.
That was something that Mike D'Antoni lacked during his tenure.
The defensive tenacity the Knicks have displayed over this small sample stretch (yes, that even includes you Melo) looks like the Knicks of old. Woodson's fiery defensive nature showed when he reprimanded Landry Fields on a missed assignment Saturday night against the Pacers. But the reprimanding and accountability is just what the doctor ordered for a team that has lacked defensive continuity for years.
"Make no mistake about it, it was our defense that got us the spurt that we needed, and you know that's what good teams are supposed to do. We've just got to bottle it up, man, and just continue to do it."
Woodson was hired to put the "D" back into D'Antoni. Something that was never instilled into the mind of the offensive-minded Carmelo Anthony and something The Garden has only chanted the past ten years, but never saw.
The Knicks need to follow the blue-print that was constructed by the Boston Celtics only a few years ago when they first got the "Big Three."
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce came together, put their egos aside for the good of the team and played with the defensive prowess that led them to become championship contenders. They eventually won the title and came within one game of a second crown two years ago.
Forget Phil Jackson. For now.
Woodson has proved himself before as a coach. Under the tutelage of Bobby Knight, Woodson eventually got a chance with the Atlanta Hawks where he coached for six seasons, improving the Hawks' record each year.
He has dealt with the prima donna, defensive-lacking superstars before (i.e. Josh Smith, Joe Johnson) and turned them into strong, overall players and teammates. He handled the locker room well and provided a certain level of consistency throughout his time as a head coach.
Mike Woodson has turned this controversy into cohesion, and looks to keep this run going.
“I think when you get in a playoff run and deep into the playoffs, it’s the teams that really defend and rebound that normally come out a championship run as champions.”