Is time running out on Mike Woodson as coach of the New York Knicks?
It certainly was running out on Carmelo Anthony and his Knicks teammates on Monday night after Woodson declined to call a timeout with 6.9 seconds left. The ball was in the backcourt after the Washington Wizards had scored to take a one-point lead.
The Knicks had three timeouts left at that point. Using one would have allowed them to inbound the ball at midcourt. But Woodson decided not to use one as Beno Udrih inbounded the ball to Anthony, who eventually missed a three-pointer in a 102-101 loss.
Woodson initially blamed himself before backtracking a bit on Tuesday.
"I'm going to be honest," Woodson told reporters. "I've let games go like that. In Atlanta, I let a couple of games where I didn't call a timeout because they weren't set. We threw it in and Joe Johnson was able to dribble down and hit a winning shot. Was I thinking that at the time? Well, when Beno stepped out and Melo begged for it and he threw it to him, I didn't stop the play. I let it go on. I should've called a timeout, taking it out of their hands and advance the basketball [to halfcourt], but I didn't."
In one sense, this seems like much ado over nothing. Yes, calling a timeout would have let the Knicks advance the ball, saving a couple of seconds. Then again, how long did it take UCLA's Tyus Edney to race the length of the court for that famous buzzer-beater against Missouri in the NCAA tournament? All of 4.8 seconds.
It seems reasonable to believe that whether the Knicks inbounded the ball on the baseline needing to go the length of the court with 6.9 seconds left, or at halfcourt with the same amount of time, the ball was going to Anthony for something resembling the shot he took anyway.
Still, another controversy is the last thing Woodson needs with the Knicks (7-17) in fourth place in the dreadful Atlantic Division and plagued by injuries to Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Pablo Prigioni and Amare Stoudemire. If Woodson ends up getting fired, it could be just one more regret to add to a long list.