There was frustration in the Knicks’ locker room after the 123-94 Christmas Day loss to Oklahoma City. None more than from Beno Udrih, the third-string point guard who now has been forced into the starting role after injuries to Raymond Felton (groin) and Pablo Prigioni. Udrih has been singled out for poor play on several occasions by Mike Woodson in the press and appears to have had enough.
“It’s easy to point fingers when the team loses. But it comes down to we are a team, we lose together,” Udrih said. “No matter who makes a mistake or who doesn’t, it’s still a team loss. So I think all of this stuff should be kept out of the media and not call certain people out.”
Udrih did not shoot well against the Thunder, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting and having a pair of shots go off the side of the backboard. He had six assists and two turnovers. Woodson did not mention his errors Wednesday, but he has on other occasions since injuries have pressed the backup into action. Udrih doesn’t appreciate it.
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He didn’t want to mention Woodson by name but as he discussed what he thought was a lack of communication he used the phrase “don’t just be a coach, be a person.”
Woodson was especially critical of Udrih’s errors after a loss to the Wizards and those kinds of events, Urdih said, are affecting him. “I kind of feel like when I do the right thing, it’s not the right thing in some people’s eyes,” he said. “Sometimes I have a feeling like when I do a mistake, they have a feeling that I’m making the mistake on purpose. As weird as it sounds, that’s how I feel.”
“You can point fingers at me as much as you can, but if things don’t work it’s not one person’s fault,” he added.
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
Carmelo Anthony can opt out of his contract at the end of this season. What people saw of the Knicks Wednesday might be a glimpse of their future if he does. If Anthony finishes the season with the Knicks and bolts, it could be a tussle with the salary cap to add star power. The cap figures to rise to about $63 million for next season. Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani are owed a combined $50 million next season. J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton are due an additional $10 million together.
A lot can happen between now and then. If the Knicks continue to struggle, Anthony and the club could agree to put him in a deal. And of course Stoudemire, Chandler and Bargnani all have expiring contracts, which hold value in NBA trades.
Kenyon Martin returned after missing five games with an abdominal strain and played 13 minutes, grabbing two rebounds. . . . Chris Smith, brother of J.R. Smith, made his NBA debut with 1:21 left in the game. He didn’t take a shot.
NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING
With Anthony out, a sellout crowd failed to generate enough energy or buzz to give the Knicks a home-court advantage.
“It felt like no one was in here,” OKC’s Kevin Durant said.