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Bobcats blast resting Knicks

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The New York Knicks looked more like a Summer League team Monday night than the No. 2 Eastern Conference playoff seed.

Coach Mike Woodson gave his stars the night off, and the result was a 106-95 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

But Woodson didn't seem concerned in the least, as Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and four others got a night to rest and the backups wound up playing more minutes than they had all year.

This is the way Woodson has chosen to prepare for the first-round playoff matchup against Boston, after the Knicks wrapped up the No. 2 seed by beating Indiana on Sunday.

The Knicks will close out the regular season at home on Wednesday against Atlanta.

"I'm just getting our team ready (for the playoffs)," Woodson said. "One game is not going to make that much difference. We'll have Thursday and Friday to prepare, but we've done what we needed to do and if Melo and them want to sit out Wednesday as well, it's on them. But I'm thinking they're probably going to play."

The Knicks didn't even bring Anthony, Chandler, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire on the trip. Felton and Marcus Camby suited up but did not play.

Officially, the Knicks listed Anthony out with a sore left shoulder, Chandler with a bulging disk, Martin with a sprained ankle, Camby with plantar fasciitis and Stoudemire with a knee debridement. Smith and Felton were simply "resting."

Woodson used just seven players, starting James White, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni. All played at least 41 minutes. Jason Kidd played 21 minutes off the bench, and Rasheed Wallace -- in his first appearance since December with a foot injury -- played four minutes before taking himself out of the game.

Copeland responded with a career-high 32 points, Novak scored 17, White 15 and Shumpert 14 on a night when the Knicks launched 37 3-point attempts and made 14.

"We gave that starting unit 40-plus minutes so they'll be tired tomorrow probably," Woodson said. "They played hard. I can't take anything away from them as a group. Charlotte was just a better team tonight. But our guys competed. We really never got into a flow from a defensive standpoint, and that's because these guys haven't played together that much. You kinda expect that. But offensively, we played well enough."

The Knicks fell to 53-28.

"We went out there and fought," Copeland said. "Nobody gave up the whole game. Our shots didn't fall and we missed some defensive assignments but we kept fighting, and that's a good thing."

The Bobcats were in control throughout. They bolted to a 30-17 lead after one quarter and pushed the lead to 18 early in the second quarter. Ultimately, they led by as many as 23 in the second half.

Gerald Henderson led the way with 27 points, and Kemba Walker had 23 points and 13 assists. The Bobcats also got 12 points from Jeffery Taylor, 10 points and 11 rebounds from Bismack Biyombo, and 10 points from Josh McRoberts.

The win moved the Bobcats to 20-61 and into a tie with Orlando for the worst record in the NBA, as they try to avoid being the NBA's worst for the second year in a row. They have now won six of their last eight home games.

"Without a doubt, we're getting better," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "Our home record, as of late, has been very good. Defensively, I think we're more organized."

Notes: NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver held a town hall meeting with Bobcats season ticket holders before the game. He said that the Bobcats have not petitioned to have their name changed and that it would likely be an 18-month process if they did. There has been sentiment for the franchise to get back the Hornets nickname with New Orleans abandoning it. ... The Knicks waived Solomon Jones on Monday, so the roster currently stands at 14. Jones, 6-foot-10, appeared in two games. He was signed last week after the Knicks waived Kurt Thomas. ... Woodson said before the game the Knicks would likely sign a backcourt player, with the frontcourt now deep enough with the return of Wallace and Camby. ... If Anthony sits out Wednesday's game against Atlanta, he will in essence lock up the NBA scoring title. He's averaging 28.656 points per game, with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant at 28.137, so Durant would have to score 80 points in his final game to catch Anthony. ... Charlotte had its own injury issues with Ramon Sessions (knee), DeSagana Diop (knee) and Brendan Haywood (foot) and Byron Mullens (ankle) all out. ... The Bobcats will host Cleveland on Wednesday in their season finale.
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