Woodson 'upset' Knicks wore 'funeral black'
New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he was "upset" that his team wore all black on Wednesday before Game 5 of the Knicks-Celtics series to mimic a funeral for Boston.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he was "upset" that his team wore all black on Wednesday before Game 5 of the Knicks-Celtics series to mimic a funeral for Boston.
"I'm a little upset about that, and I've addressed that," Woodson said after practice on Thursday. "... Things like that have just got to be, just kept outside the game and just concentrate on playing basketball."
The Celtics forced a Game 6 on Wednesday night with a 92-86 win at Madison Square Garden.
Kenyon Martin reportedly told his teammates after their Game 4 loss in Boston to wear black to Game 5, "funeral black," he said, in anticipation of the Knicks eliminating the Celtics.
Woodson said he did not know about the team's plan before the game. The coach said he learned about it Thursday morning and expressed his disappointment.
He said he "absolutely" would have prohibited the Knicks from wearing black if he had known about the idea.
"I made reference to our guys, you need to stay out of the papers and just concentrate on playing. That's not important. What you're wearing doesn't have anything to do with how you play on the basketball floor," Woodson said.
"I've addressed that with our players, and that's enough. The game is played on the floor, and that's where it should be played."
Raymond Felton said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM that he was not aware the black clothing signified a funeral. He initially thought the idea was meant as a team bonding exercise.
"If I would have known that it was all of that, I would have said let's not do that, let's just come like normal and let's just play basketball," Felton told "The Michael Kay Show" on Thursday night. "We shouldn't have done it, it's over with. Now it's time to go play basketball."
Tyson Chandler said the idea of a team wearing black to a potential close-out game is nothing new. Chandler said he and the Dallas Mavericks wore black on several occasions during their run to the 2011 NBA title.
"It's nothing against the Celtics," he said. "It's something we were doing as a team. It wasn't meant to offend anybody or anything like that. It was meant to motivate guys in the locker room."
The Knicks traveled to Boston on Thursday to prepare for Game 6 in Boston on Friday night. They hope to close the series out at TD Garden, and they have history on their side.
The Celtics are the 11th team in NBA history to force a Game 6 after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. Three teams have won Game 6.
Woodson insisted on Thursday that his team remains confident heading into Game 6.
"We're confident. We're 3-2 in the series and still facing a close-out game. I feel pretty good about it, and our guys feel good," Woodson said. "We just got to go give back what we gave away last night. We got to go back there and try and figure it out tomorrow night."
The Knicks have not won a playoff series since 2000.
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