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Knicks missed Prigioni, coach says

Posted by Amalie Benjamin  April 21, 2013 01:03 PM

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NEW YORK – Despite taking the win in the first game of their first-round series against the Celtics, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Sunday Pablo Prigioni's absence was felt "on both ends of the floor."

"We went back and charted our offense. We had some slow time where we just, we were very stagnant," Woodson said.

It's not known whether Prigioni will make it back for Game 2 on Tuesday. The 35-year-old guard sprained his ankle in the Knicks' final game of the season. Woodson listed him as still "day-to-day," and said the team would know more after practicing on Monday.

If Prigioni is able to go, that would change up the rotations a bit, with Raymond Felton likely to start on Paul Pierce with Iman Shumpert on Jeff Green. The Celtics' Green went off for 20 points in the first half of Saturday's game, but had only six points in the second half after the Knicks' defense clamped down on him, with Carmelo Anthony getting a large chunk of that defensive duty.

Woodson said that was what the team had envisioned before the series, before Prigioni had gotten hurt.

"I thought Melo did an excellent job on Green," Woodson said. "Green’s a tough cover for anybody."

Overall, Woodson was very happy with his team's defensive play, especially in the third and fourth quarters, saying it was more solid than he's seen his team all year in those situations.

"There was times when we had movement and we had good looks that we just didn't make shots that really could have, I thought, could have broke the game open," Woodson said. "But we didn't make them.

"And again, when you play playoff basketball, and I've experienced this over the years, it’s not going to always go pretty offensively for you. That’s probably the first thing that normally goes because everybody’s so locked in from a defensive standpoint.

"But I've always said that if you’re struggling to score the ball, you've got to make sure the other team is struggling to score as well. Then you put yourself in a position to win. I thought that’s what happened last night. ... Our defense seemed to hold in there a little bit longer than theirs."

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