By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com LINK
The Knicks must have a friend in the NBA scheduling department, because their upcoming London trip couldn't come at a better time.
Don't let Sunday's win over lowly New Orleans fool you, these Knicks are far from the team you watched get off to an 18-5 start.
They don't defend for long stretches, they get off to too many slow starts and they have several veterans sorely in need of a day off.
It's a good thing London's calling. "No better time than right now," Carmelo Anthony said of the Knicks' trip to London this week to play the Pistons. "Give us three, four days [to] get some rest, get guys back. … Get the guys who’ve been playing major minutes to rest their bodies and heal. See what happens from there. This couldn’t have come at a better time." The Knicks will head to London to play the Pistons on Thursday, which means they will play just one game in the next seven days.
Any break in the schedule is beneficial when you're the oldest team in the league, especially when you've played 37 games in the season's first 72 days. "This one game is great for us at this point," Mike Woodson said on Sunday, before his team beat the lowly Hornets to snap a three-game losing streak. "We can use some of these days [off]."
The Knicks will practice Monday in New York and then fly to London on Monday night. Woodson hopes to practice once in London before they play the Pistons, winners of seven of their past 10, on Thursday.
In between, the Knicks may have to participate in a couple of events scheduled by the NBA. But other than that, they will have a chance to rest. For a team with five players over 35, it will be a welcome respite.
"It's no secret we have the oldest team and we definitely need as much time off as we can [get] to recover," J.R. Smith said.
Plenty of guys could use a day off, but you can make a strong argument that Jason Kidd will benefit the most from a few days off across the pond.
Woodson said on Saturday that it wasn't "healthy" for Kidd to play as much as he has recently. Kidd has played more than 30 minutes in 10 of the Knicks' past 14 games.
Woodson held Kidd (5 points, 8 assists) to just 23 minutes against New Orleans on Sunday.
"It's a tough [challenge] because we need Kidd on the floor," Woodson said.
The Knicks hope to get Iman Shumpert back on Thursday against Detroit.
Ray Felton (broken right pinky) is also getting closer to a return. Rasheed Wallace, who has missed nearly a month with a stress reaction in his left foot, may start running when the Knicks are in London.