NBA Notes: 'Melo backs coach; Celtics shopping

NBA Notes: 'Melo backs coach; Celtics shopping
December 17, 2013, 11:00 am
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Austin Rivers (right) is struggling to find minutes in a crowded Hornets backcourt. (USA Today Images)

While the Sixers were busy getting pasted by the Brooklyn Nets, 130-94, the other New York team dropped another important game in stunning fashion.

Knicks: Carmelo backs Woodson after flub
The Knicks are finding new ways to lose. On Monday, they dropped a home game to the Wizards, 102-101, when Washington went ahead with 6.9 seconds left and coach Mike Woodson chose not to call a timeout.

Carmelo Anthony ran up the court and missed a heavily contested, double-teamed, off-balance three to end the game, dropping the Knicks to 7-17.

"I probably should have taken a timeout there at the end, but you know Beno [Udrih] grabbed it and the ball is in Melo's hands before I could even react and I should have reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket," Woodson told reporters after the game. "So, that's on me."

But despite the team's record and the latest coaching blunder, 'Melo thinks Woodson's job is safe.

"As far as I’m concerned, he’s secure right now," Anthony told ESPN New York after the loss. "I haven’t heard anything. There’s nothing to discuss. He’s our coach, and we’re rolling with him.”

The Knicks are one game ahead of the Sixers in the Atlantic Division. But New York's payroll is $87 million, according to -- more than $30 million more than the Sixers'.

In fact, the Knicks' three highest-paid players -- Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler -- make more than the Sixers' entire roster.

And it gets worse -- Prigioni hurt
Adding injury to insult, Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni injured his right big toe against the Wizards and is out at least two weeks.

Prigioni had been starting in place of the injured Raymond Felton (hamstring). The Knicks are now down to their third-string point guard, Udrih.

In 24 games this season, Prigioni is averaging 3.9 points and 3.2 assists. He had averaged 34 minutes in the three games before the Washington loss.

Celtics: Interested in Austin Rivers?
The Celtics haven't found much interest in veteran forward Gerald Wallace, according to CSN New England, which also reports that Boston doesn't expect any "legitimate" offers for mending star point guard Rajon Rondo.

A. Sherrod Blakely reports that Hornets guard Austin Rivers, the son of former coach Doc Rivers, is a player to watch.

Rivers is struggling to find minutes in a crowded New Orleans backcourt that also has Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans. In 15 games, Rivers has averaged 3.9 points in 10.7 minutes.

Rivers appears to fit the description of what Boston is looking for -- "a player still on their rookie contract whose potential is of greater value than their present play," according to Blakely.