Protect the home floor. Win the division. Capture home court advantage heading into the postseason.
These three objectives were clearly identified when Mike Woodson took the reins on the sidelines last season. In this day and age of hyperbole, coach speak, and sports clichés, it’s refreshing to see a team not only openly state its goals but attack them with a focused approach.
“I’ve been hammering it from the day I took over that we have to establish something in the Garden. The good teams that win at a high level, they win at home. That’s the only way we are going to have a shot at winning our division and hosting first round at home. Got to win at your spot, make it miserable for other teams to come here and play,” Woodson eloquently stated.
The Knicks have responded in a big way and followed Woodson’s demands. Under its head man, New York is 18-1 at Madison Square Garden in the regular season and 19-2 including the playoffs.
Tyson Chandler, a vocal leader in the locker room, echoes the message from his head coach, “You know, we are going to try to win every game at home and we are going to go out on the road and compete. His whole thing was that we have to protect our house. Teams coming in have to feel like they have to go somewhere else to get a win.”
As pointed on MSG Networks’s Alan Hahn’s Sulia and according to ESPN Stats & Info, the Knicks are crushing teams inside the friendly confines of the World’s Most Famous Arena. Under Woodson in the regular season, New York is limiting the opposition to an average of 87.9 points per game and has won by an average margin of 15.6 points per game.
“That’s something that we work on. We want to protect our home court. That’s what we’ve been doing and what we want to continue to do. As a team, coach Woodson has us buying into what he wants – his schemes and it’s worked,” Carmelo Anthony explained after hearing “MVP” chants from the crowd on Sunday afternoon.
The newly transformed Garden is a true sports landmark with rich history and a grand stage for the viewing public. Every single game inside the building is a must-see event, which heightens the intensity for both teams. The Knicks are taking full advantage of the raucous atmosphere as one of only two squads in the NBA with an unblemished record at home.
“I think we have the greatest home court advantage in the entire League,” Steve Novak emphasized. “You look around and every seat is full. If you can’t get up and play here, you can’t play anywhere. The fans have been great. “
Each player inside the New York locker room understands the long season ahead. However, through seven home games, the Knicks are establishing a dominant presence at Madison Square Garden.