Knicks Edge Celtics Despite Struggles With 3-Pointers and Defense

and Paul Pierce traded baskets. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett excited the near-sellout crowd at the XL Center with dunks. And Raymond Felton and Rajon Rondo attempted to dribble past each other to get into the lane. Plus, the fans were awarded five free minutes of basketball in the Knicks’ 98-95 overtime win.

The Knicks competed well without Amar’e Stoudemire (left knee bruise), J. R. Smith (sore left ankle) and Marcus Camby (strained left calf). Carmelo Anthony (23 points) was his usual self. Chandler (16 points) finished a number of alley-oop dunks off pick-and-rolls.

Jason Kidd gave the Knicks the lead in the final minute of overtime with a long jumper. Chris Copeland secured the victory by grabbing a rebound in traffic, making two free throws with 11.3 seconds left and blocking Jamar Smith’s last-second 3-pointer, which could have sent the game into double overtime.

The Knicks were impressive in some areas and struggled in others. They rebounded well, something they didn’t do in their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards.

“It was a lot better,” Coach Mike Woodson said.

Still, their defense and shooting, at times, were not at the level they need to be if the Knicks are going to compete against elite teams, like the Celtics. Boston pounded the ball in the paint, exposing the Knicks’ interior defense without Stoudemire.

On offense, the Knicks continued to demonstrate decent ball movement. But on a number of possessions they settled for jump shots in shooting 36.7 percent. They finished the game 3 of 29 from behind the 3-point arc. On the other end of the floor, the Celtics focused on driving to the basket.

“Early on were we playing back and forth, and that happens sometimes,” Woodson said of his team’s defense. “I thought in the third and fourth quarter we played better.”

After the starters left the game, Woodson pushed his reserves to win. In the final moments, the Knicks’ bench applauded the efforts of Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kidd.

“They were playing so well; we were all excited over there,” Chandler said of his teammates. “They showed a lot of heart and it was only a preseason game.”

Throughout this season, the Knicks will compare themselves to the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last year. Even if it was a preseason win, the Knicks were pleased with the way they performed against a Celtics team they will see many times in the regular season.

“They’ve owned the Atlantic Division,” Kidd said. “This is a good preseason game to see where we’re at against one of the best teams in the league.”

REBOUNDS

James White, who missed Thursday’s game with a sore right hamstring, returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard. He finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. … Mike Woodson said J. R. Smith should be back to full strength next week. … AMAR’E Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby did not travel with the team. Woodson said he was hoping that Wallace would be able to scrimmage next week as he continued to work on his conditioning. “He’s been going at it hard and he’s starting to look good,” Woodson said. “We’ll evaluate him next week and see where he is.”

Knicks Edge Celtics Despite Struggles With 3-pointers and Defense

and Paul Pierce traded baskets. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett excited the near-sellout crowd at the XL Center with dunks. And Raymond Felton and Rajon Rondo attempted to dribble past each other to get into the lane. Plus, the fans were awarded five free minutes of basketball in the Knicks’ 98-95 overtime win.

The Knicks competed well without Amar’e Stoudemire (left knee bruise), J. R. Smith (sore left ankle) and Marcus Camby (strained left calf). Carmelo Anthony (23 points) was his usual self. Chandler (16 points) finished a number of alley-oop dunks off pick-and-rolls.

Jason Kidd gave the Knicks the lead in the final minute of overtime with a long jumper. Chris Copeland secured the victory by grabbing a rebound in traffic, making two free throws with 11.3 seconds left and blocking Jamar Smith’s last-second 3-pointer, which could have sent the game into double overtime.

The Knicks were impressive in some areas and struggled in others. They rebounded well, something they didn’t do in their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards.

“It was a lot better,” Coach Mike Woodson said.

Still, their defense and shooting, at times, were not at the level they need to be if the Knicks are going to compete against elite teams, like the Celtics. Boston pounded the ball in the paint, exposing the Knicks’ interior defense without Stoudemire.

On offense, the Knicks continued to demonstrate decent ball movement. But on a number of possessions they settled for jump shots in shooting 36.7 percent. They finished the game 3 of 29 from behind the 3-point arc. On the other end of the floor, the Celtics focused on driving to the basket.

“Early on were we playing back and forth, and that happens sometimes,” Woodson said of his team’s defense. “I thought in the third and fourth quarter we played better.”

After the starters left the game, Woodson pushed his reserves to win. In the final moments, the Knicks’ bench applauded the efforts of Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kidd.

“They were playing so well; we were all excited over there,” Chandler said of his teammates. “They showed a lot of heart and it was only a preseason game.”

Throughout this season, the Knicks will compare themselves to the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last year. Even if it was a preseason win, the Knicks were pleased with the way they performed against a Celtics team they will see many times in the regular season.

“They’ve owned the Atlantic Division,” Kidd said. “This is a good preseason game to see where we’re at against one of the best teams in the league.”

REBOUNDS

James White, who missed Thursday’s game with a sore right hamstring, returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard. He finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. … Mike Woodson said J. R. Smith should be back to full strength next week. … AMAR’E Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby did not travel with the team. Woodson said he was hoping that Wallace would be able to scrimmage next week as he continued to work on his conditioning. “He’s been going at it hard and he’s starting to look good,” Woodson said. “We’ll evaluate him next week and see where he is.”

Knicks’ Executives Project Confidence in Off-Season Moves

Why, a reporter asked Grunwald, did the Knicks decide to let Lin, last season’s sensation, depart in July rather than match the $25.1 million offer sheet extended to him by the Houston Rockets? Until now, the Knicks have never explained on the record what their reasoning was in letting Lin go, but before Grunwald could belatedly address the matter, Woodson jumped in and answered first.

“I think as a franchise, we wish him nothing but the best,” Woodson said. “We were able to get a player by the name of Raymond Felton. This day is really about the team we have fielded this summer and we need to focus in on that.”

Woodson, who lost the interim in front of his job title when the Knicks signed him to a multiyear deal in May, offered his answer with the assurance of someone confident in his status with the club. After a summer in which he recruited an old teammate, the Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, to work with first Amar’e Stoudemire and then with all the Knicks’ big men, it was Woodson, not Grunwald, who did most of the talking Monday. In many ways it was the Mike Woodson Show, with Grunwald seemingly content to play a secondary role.

Not that Woodson did not go out of his way to compliment his boss, saying, “I couldn’t be more proud to work with Glen, in terms of being able to get players that wanted to be here and players I think I can win with.”

And not that Grunwald, who patted Woodson on the back when the news conference began, declined to speak. Of Lin, he said, the Knicks’ decision “came down to the fact that Houston made a commitment to him that we weren’t prepared to make.”

“We had a lot of options available to us, and we felt the Raymond Felton option was the best one,” he added.

Felton, who had a decent 54 games for the Knicks during the 2010-11 season before being traded, had a poor 2011-12 season for Portland in which he was out of shape. At 28, he is four years older than Lin but far younger than many of the aging veterans the Knicks picked up in the off-season.

Woodson and Grunwald naturally were asked why the Knicks had signed so many players who were so old: Jason Kidd (age 39), Kurt Thomas (39), Marcus Camby (38), Pablo Prigioni (35) and perhaps Rasheed Wallace (38), who is expected to come out of retirement to play for Woodson.

As he had with the question about Lin, Woodson jumped right in, telling reporters that he did not want a young team, that he already coached an inexperienced club — the 2004-5 Atlanta Hawks — and did not want to do that again. It is older teams, he contended, that win N.B.A. championships, not young ones.

“I don’t think we’re too old,” Woodson added. “I think when you look at the core group of our team — Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire — we felt we needed veteran pieces around those guys.”

Grunwald agreed.

“When the Dallas Mavericks won the championship a few years ago, their average age was 30,” he said. “It takes veteran teams to win. I think we have some excellent veterans.”

One issue that Woodson will have to address is how to get Stoudemire and Anthony to play in sync on the court, something they have done only sporadically in their time together in New York.

“It’s my job to make that work,” Woodson said. “I think when you’re building a championship team, it’s not going to be Carmelo’s night every night, it’s not going to be Amar’e’s night every night. I think that’s why we’ve been able to feel really good about the veteran guys we added, because they’ll be able to take some of the pressure off.”

Woodson says he wants to win now. He stressed that over and over Monday. He acknowledged that a lot of things would have to go right for the Knicks to fulfill his plan to claim one of the top four spots in the Eastern Conference, but said, “We have a legitimate shot as anybody in the N.B.A. this season.”

Many in and around the N.B.A. would disagree with that assessment, but media day, like spring training, is for optimism. And right now, optimist No. 1 is Mike Woodson, with 82 games ahead of him.