Atlantic Notes: Woodson, Rondo, Brown

Since Knicks owner James Dolan gave Mike Woodson a public vote of confidence on November 20 (while the team sported a 3-8 record), New York has gone 6-11 over their last 17 games. Among those losses include a 41-point defeat to the Celtics at home, a 15-point loss to the Cavaliers two days later, and a one-point heartbreaker at the hands of the Wizards, in which the Knicks failed to call a timeout with ample time left to set up a final play. Ian Begley of ESPN New York writes that no one from the team’s ownership or front office has commented publicly on Woodson’s status over the last few days, although it appears that the players – especially outspoken center Tyson Chandler – still offer their support.

Here’s what we’ve heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight, including more from Begley’s piece:

  • Despite the Knicks struggles, Woodson is still confident that the team can and will win the Atlantic Division title: “Eventually, we’ll get healthy and we’ll see how it all plays out. The beauty about all of this that we’re going through is nobody’s running away with it in our division, and I’m pushing our team to win our division still…We won it last year, and I expect us to win it this year.”
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post thinks that the four-day break between New York’s upcoming home-and-home series against Toronto and their Texas triangle trip would be the window in which Dolan could make a coaching change if he ultimately decided to. Otherwise, the Knicks owner could wait until the offseason, where names such as Jeff Van Gundy or Lionel Hollins may become available.
  • Conditioning is deemed to be the biggest hurdle between Rajon Rondo and his return from rehab. Though Rondo was reportedly “huffing and puffing” after practice, the 27-year-old point guard participated extensively in drills today, as Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston details: “Rondo raced up and down the court during sprint-heavy drills, tried to take charges as teammates attacked in odd-man breaks, and even dunked off his left leg at one point. He seemed to be pushing himself hard as Boston engaged in its first practice after a three-day holiday break.”
  • A source confirms to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the 76ers have assigned Lorenzo Brown to their D-League affiliate, the 87ers. Earlier today, we noted that Bob Cooney of the Daily News was the first to relay notice of those plans. You can read the team’s official press release here.
  • RealGM’s Shams Charania writes about how Michael Carter-Williams‘ young stardom has reminded Philadelphia of the way Allen Iverson once carried the Sixers franchise. The 6’6 point guard also offered his thoughts about how outside talk of tanking helped motivate him to compete hard this year.
  • Tim Bontemps of the New York Post notes the Nets’ inability to respond when challenged with adversity this season, shifting focus on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s inability to instill the toughness and fortitude expected of them after being acquired from Boston this past summer.
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