May 28, 2024

This might be the best bittersweet news of the entire year if you're an avid Knicks fan and supporter. Reported first by Stephen A. Smith, a journalist and NBA insider for ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, Phil Jackson was approached by New York Knicks management about a possible job offer that would give him the responsibilities as the next Head Coach of the Knicks.

Recent reports have been modified updating that report stating that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front office position as team president of basketball operations. I thought that was current GM Steve Mills' job to lose? What about Assistant GM Allan Houston? But this is how Jim Dolan, President and CEO, Cablevision Systems and Chairman, Madison Square Garden company orchestrates his business. The business that we are most concerned with is the New York Knicks.

As of today March 3, 2014, the New York Knicks are well on their way to a disappointing and deflating representation of an NBA regular season, positioned 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, a 25-40 overall record currently enjoying a 4-game winning streak. A new episode of Marvel Agents of Shield premiered tonight on ABC-TV. If you were unaware, it's a pretty good show.

Let's get this Knicks stuff out of the way because that's how hard it is to watch this team. That's how hard it is to fully invest your spirit into the Orange and Blue. Maybe the addition of Phil Jackson in a management arrangement could ease the pain and give us a substantial amount of faith even though it might not translate to wins on the court immediately. Maybe down the road, we will see the fingerprints of what 11-world championships won as a coach and two championships won as a player could transition into as a talent evaluator and trader.

Maybe down the road, we could see an entire franchise image make-over rivaling the San Antonio Spurs organization, minus the dynasty (it's too early) due to the insertion of one man. Maybe he could be exactly what we need. All of these predictions and future dreams could be a reality if Jackson indeed joins the Knicks organization and is given the space and opportunity to operate, only if Dolan keeps his hands to himself. Only if Dolan owns the team and does not get involved in basketball related ideas influencing management transactions and in that case, he has done enough.

Donnie Walsh, remember him? Presently a consultant for the Indiana Pacers was the former President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks. He only drafted a Hall-of-Famer in Reggie Miller in 1987 and aided the construction of a team in the 2013-2014 Pacers who are the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. As of today, the Pacers are 47-17, the best record in the NBA. What Walsh did for the Knicks made him our messiah, as long as he was employed by the Knicks. In 2008, Walsh cleared $27 million off the Knicks payroll in trading players with large contracts for cheaper and durable pieces. He cleared cap space for the Knicks to have a chance at signing a max player among the summer free agent class of 2010, in which Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, were all available. He signed Stoudemire to a five-year $100-million dollar deal. The Knicks were back.

They were having a great season until some bumps in the road steered the Knicks off-track momentarily which prompted Dolan to don his basketball hat and command the pursuit of then Denver Nuggets star F Carmelo Anthony. Walsh obeyed his wishes sacrificing the punch of the team while mortgaging the future. Due to health, pride, and superior basketball knowledge Walsh resigned June 3, 2011.

As Walsh left, a man within the organization became his successor in Glen Grunwald, the former Vice President of the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. He only orchestrated a trade to acquire Vince Carter and drafted Tracy McGrady, giving the Raptors three consecutive playoff berths from 2000-02, which included a trip to the conference semi-finals. In 2012, Grunwald was promoted to general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations for the Knicks. He gave us one of the best seasons to date. In the 2012-13 NBA season, Grunwald manufactured a Knicks team with veterans and role players built around the centerpiece in Anthony to achieve a 54-28 regular season, which clinched their first Atlantic Division crown since the 1994 season and a trip to the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

Like Walsh, Grunwald was let go also following his success. This is all while Dolan has maintained his basketball hat. These moves illustrate that Dolan doesn't allow room to grow or develop, but space to do nothing as your General Manager job will be in jeopardy if he doesn't approve. Now the Knicks General Manager responsibilities belong to a bright gentleman who has never operated Basketball Operations in his life, Steve Mills. The basketball hat is still on. This is the beautiful mind of Dolan at work. Those are his actions.

What does the potential arrival of Jackson mean?

Does it mean that Dolan will actually let the basketball people handle basketball related activities or, is it only a matter of time before he interferes and aides another exit of a great basketball mind?

The mere idea of pursuing Jackson while Mills, the man occupying the current GM position, which hasn't lasted an entire NBA season, says it all.

Dolan can't wait.

You would think he will leave his hands to himself because it is Jackson, the "Zen Master," a man inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, but we don't know. I have faith in a coach who has won 11 world championships to have an idea in choosing the kind of players he suspects has the characteristics and skills that result in wins on the basketball court. Does Dolan believe so, or is this just to save face and throw someone else to the wolves of the general public and the media capital of the world.

It's interesting, isn't it?

This one really hurt, riding a - game winning streak and creeping closer to the final playoff spot, the New York Knicks faced the Cleveland Cavaliers knowing the team they are chasing (Atlanta Hawks) had already lost earlier in the day. That news seemed to bolster the Blue and Orange from the very beginning as they jumped out to a 34-27 first quarter lead paced by Carmelo Anthony's 12 points.

The bench kicked in scoring a combined 17 points between Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Shannon Brown to take a 1- point halftime lead. For a change, it appeared that New York regained the home court confidence they established last year. Then, Cleveland led by Jarrett Jack's (31) and Dion Waiters' (22) points played with the mindset that if they can't make the playoffs, neither should the Knicks.

The comeback began with the Cavs outscoring the Knicks 28-23 in the third getting within 7 (84-77). Then, New York could not hit a shot and could not defend the pick and roll. They missed 13 shots while turning the ball over 5 times. Meanwhile, Cleveland took advantage on the inside, scoring 40 points in the paint. They shot a ridiculous 77% in the second half erasing a 17-point deficit after a Jack 3-pointer with 3:54 left gave them their first lead of the game.

Waiters scored his last points with a trifecta and Anderson Varejao victimized the Knicks with yet another pick and roll ending in his slam extending the lead to 6 (100-94). A J.R. Smith jumper and two Anthony free throws got the Knicks within 2 (102-100) but that's as close as they would get.

As a unit, the Knicks knew they blew an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak to 8 but to get within 2 games of the Hawks. Especially knowing they are about to embark on a 5 game western swing that starts Tuesday night against the Kobe-less Lakers.

Head coach Mike Woodson wanted this game as a springboard to the upcoming trip.

"This was like a getaway game for us to get us set up for the road," he said afterward. "We didn't close it out. So we got to go on the road and win all 5 if we can."

Center Tyson Chandler (4 points) coming off the game against Philadelphia in which he scored 17 points in the win gave kudos to Jack.

"Jarrett Jack took control of the pick and roll in the second-half. He made some tough shots especially down the stretch."

The New York Knicks have 12 games left in the regular season, eight of them on the road.

If they do make the playoffs, they will face either Miami or Indiana. They will be facing teams that are still jockeying for playoff positions. That's why games like last night were one they could not afford to lose.

The New York Knicks did its part beating Toronto to help itself get an NBA playoff spot, but the Nets kept them out by losing to the Hawks 93-88

We are at the point in the NBA season where teams have solidified their playoff position. Some teams are trying to improve their spot, while others are hanging on to faint hopes. Such is the story of the four teams that took to the floor Friday night. The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center while the New York Knicks were on the road against the division leading Toronto Raptors.

The Nets know they will face the Chicago Bulls (who took them out in 7 games last year) when the playoffs start in two weeks. There will be no urgency to play their starters extended minutes to keep them as fresh as possible. For Toronto, it's the same story, the team is looking to win its division for the first time in franchise history. Atlanta holds a 1.5 game lead over New York for the 8th and final spot. It's more like 2.5 games as if both teams end up with identical records, the Hawks would get in due to having a better conference record. Comments were made recently by the Hawks general manager Danny Ferry that they would not mind missing the playoffs (they would face Miami or Indiana in the first round) so they could be a team in the lottery. It had folks from the NBA shaking their heads.

When the Nets introduced their new big 3 (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry) last year the biggest question was how many minutes they would play during the course of the regular season as new first year Head Coach Jason Kidd knew that keeping them healthy and fresh would be the key to their postseason success or failure. Terry is no longer with the team, Pierce has been relatively healthy under those controlled minutes but Garnett's (his replacement Mason Plumlee has played very well in his place as evidenced by his game-winning block against LeBron James and Miami this past Tuesday) back has been a reason for concern. Before playing against Detroit last week on the road, Garnett missed the previous 15 games.

So it was no surprise when Brooklyn took the floor Friday night, the starting line-up had the look of an exhibition game. The Nets were without the services of Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson with little used Jorge Gutierrez starting in place of Williams. Garnett started his second straight game at center.

Plumlee continued his stellar play coming off the bench after Garnett's 3 minutes of play. Although he missed 2 of 3 free-throws, he connected on all 3 field goals scoring 7 points as the Nets took a 7 point (23-16) first quarter lead. The Hawks didn't play the second quarter like they were giving up on their playoff hopes. Led by Jeff Teague (all 14 points in the quarter) Atlanta outscored Brooklyn 39-24 to take an 8 point lead (55-47).

Atlanta extended the lead to 10 (66-56) after a Teague layup but the Nets closed out the 3rd quarter on a 17-8 run getting them within 1 (74-73) setting up the game that could define the Hawks post-season plans.

Neither team led by more than 5 (86-81 Hawks) after 2 Paul Millsap free throws. His 27th point of the game gave them a 1 point lead (89-88) with 1:46 left. Teague adds to the lead with 2 free throws and then Kyle Korver blocks Marcus Thorton's lay-up attempt. Joe Johnson misses a floater followed by another Teague basket. Game over.

The New York Knicks did their part beating Toronto on the road but had to be hanging their collective heads when they learned about the 93-88 Atlanta win. The loss broke Brooklyn's 15-game home winning streak. Maybe Ferry was playing reverse psychology with his players when he made his no playoff comment. Looks like it's working.

Brooklyn's Bit: Prior to the game, New York High School, College and Pro legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar introduced his SkyHook Challenge to bring awareness to the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia he was diagnosed with in 2008. Skyhook Challenge is a timed trivia game fans participate in to see how many questions they can answer about Abdul Jabbar's basketball history. 

Phil Jackson Selects Derek Fisher to Coach New York Knicks

June 10, 2014, signaled a date in New York Knicks history that we can actually acknowledge as the start of the Phil Jackson era, finally.

As we all know by now, Jackson was appointed the President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks earlier this year. As good as it felt to have the knowledge that Jackson, the owner of 11 championship rings as a coach was joining the Knicks in a management role, overseeing basketball operations, there is still a bit of uneasiness. Yes, there is nervousness because we have no evidence that his great coaching will translate into great management.

Although, Jackson relieved then Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson as one of his first orders of business. Hiring Woodson's replacement was a little problematic, as Jackson's first choice, Steve Kerr, a TNT basketball color analyst, bowed out and signed on with the Golden State Warriors.

But, June 10, 2014, signaled a day when Jackson stepped forward into the future of the Knicks franchise making his presence felt in NY besides occupying a seat at an occasional Knicks home game. He hired a coach. He hired someone he could trust. He hired someone who knows his basketball philosophies. He hired someone he has coached and he hired someone he has won championships with. He hired Derek Fisher. On June 10, 2014, it became official that Derek Fisher would become the newly minted Knicks floor manager from the bench,

It makes sense. After failing to lure Kerr, his initial target, Jackson went with the next best thing. In seeking the right candidate to fill the shoes that Jackson has mastered as a head coach, Jackson required a young mind, someone, he has ties with and is also comfortable with, and most importantly, someone who understands the triangle offense, the coaching strategy that Jackson has implemented throughout the duration of his head coaching career.

Fisher fit the bill. Is this hiring a result of the success that first-year head coaches have enjoyed in most recent times? It's difficult to dismiss what Jason Kidd has accomplished in the neighboring borough of Brooklyn. Kidd steered the Nets to 44-38 finish, earning a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division, as well as a trip to the second round of the 2014 postseason.

How about Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix? He transformed a team that only won 25 games during the 2012-13 Season into a team that won 48 games this year. Not to mention David Joerger who spearheaded the Memphis Grizzlies attack, exceeding Hornacek with 50 wins. Those are just a couple of examples, but I think in the eyes of someone like Jackson, he seems like the kind of guy who will do exactly what he wants to do, and in adding Fisher he did just that.

For those who do not know Derek Fisher, he is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He played collegiate basketball at the University of Arkansas for four years and is a member of one of the most celebrated draft classes in NBA History. Fisher holds a career average of 8.3 points and 3.0 assists. Fisher didn't exactly light the world on fire during the NBA season, but the reason why he is a household name is because of what he was capable of producing when the lights shined the brightest. I'm referring to the NBA postseason. That's how I will remember Fisher. Fisher possesses NBA records of 259 playoff games played, winning 161 of those games. He has five rings to serve as evidence. Some would even argue that other than Shaquille O'Neal, Fisher played a pivotal role in aiding Kobe Bryant to secure the championships he won early in his illustrious career.

For all the key defensive stops, steals, big shots and breakout performances Fisher has accumulated throughout the NBA postseason, one particular series of events stands out more than most. The 0.4 shot. During Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs, Fisher, then suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers, down 73-72 caught an inbound pass from teammate Gary Payton, only to catch the ball, turn and force a shot up all within 0.4 seconds to give the Lakers a 74-73 win, and a 3-2 series lead.

Fisher delivered a 100% effort every night he stepped on the court whether it was a defensive move, doing the dirty work, or guarding the opposing teams best perimeter player. When called upon he responded, and there's no reason why I feel that he won't do the same as a coach. Fisher was tough, strong-minded, a character guy and a competitor, all characteristics we can expect will allow Fisher to make a smooth transition to the bench, this time around wearing a suit. Fisher is well-respected around the league, and beloved by all of his peers.

"He's a smart guy, smart mind," says Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant to Marc Berman of the New York Post. "He's a great motivator, great speaker and can really relate to a lot of guys and demands that respect from everybody," Durant continues.

"I think he can be a great coach," TNT analyst Reggie Miller expressed during the Spurs and Thunder playoff series.

As Fisher is small in stature, his heart made up for his lack of size displaying an all for one team basketball inspired play that generates interest and support. If that doesn't influence your belief in the job that Fisher is capable of doing, look no further than his introductory press conference held by the New York Knicks at their training facility.

"I look forward to sharing my experiences with my players, and helping to reestablish a championship culture," says Fisher while addressing the NY media in attendance.

Here's another one. "This is not for Phil and I to just hang out again as friends," says Fisher, in which he concludes that statement by adding, "We want to add more banners to this ceiling here."

How Fisher and Jackson will go about their business in doing so is intriguing and yet worrisome, but the power, sternness and matter-of-fact tone in which Fisher articulated throughout his press conference leads me to believe that he will do just that. I'm encouraged. The only problem facing Fisher is the obvious fact that he has never coached before on any level. He has never occupied the bench as an assistant head coach or even as an intern.

Jackson made it clear that in the beginning of Fisher's tenure in New York, he will be very hands-on, most notably participating in their training camp where Jackson expressed that a co-operation will be in effect. Fisher has to gain the respect of his players.

He's Fisher and certainly not Kidd. See Fisher wasn't a superstar in this league the way Kidd was. As head coach, Kidd received near-instant credibility from his players. Fisher will have to earn his. I believe he can do it. I believe in Fisher. I believe that he can mold the Knicks to play like champions like he once did. I believe a Fisher coached team could exhibit the same characteristics that Fisher displayed while he graced the hardwood as a player in being strong, tough, defensive minded, as well as, adopting and instilling an all-team mentality.

It's hard to not believe in a guy who has won at the highest level attainable not to mention five times. When a deal like this comes into focus and becomes official, I have only one question for Jackson: Why wasn't Fisher the initial candidate?

Glen Grunwald Stays on with the New York Knicks as an Advisor

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that Steve Mills, who previously served as a key executive with the Knicks for 10 years, has been named the team's president and general manager. Mills replaces Glen Grunwald, who will remain with the organization as an advisor.

"I am pleased to be able to welcome Steve back to the Knicks. He is a well-respected sports executive with a strong background in basketball, as well as a familiarity with NBA operations and our company. We look forward to his leadership and believe he is the right person to help us reach our ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship," said James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company.

"We are grateful for Glen's many years of valuable service and pleased that he will remain with the organization," Dolan added.

A 30-year veteran of the sports world, Mills' career has included 16 years with the National Basketball Association, where his talents led to a notable ascent from account executive to senior vice president of basketball and player development. This was followed by 10 years at The Madison Square Garden Company, where Mills had a wide range of responsibilities that included overseeing business and basketball operations for the Knicks and Liberty, along with business operations for the Rangers and for all other sports-related activities at The Garden.

"I want to thank Jim for this opportunity to return to the Knicks in this important position. It is an honor and a privilege to work for such a storied franchise and I look forward to doing whatever it takes to make the Knicks a successful franchise and a team that fans can be proud of, both now and in the future," Mills stated.

After 10 years with the Toronto Raptors, Grunwald has been with the Knicks in various capacities since 2006 and will continue to work with the organization as an advisor.

Mills' decade-long career at The Madison Square Garden Company included his role as president of MSG Sports, during which he oversaw all business operations, including marketing and community relations, for the company's three professional sports teams and Sports Properties, which included college basketball, boxing, and track and field. Steve originally joined the Knicks as executive vice president of franchise operations in September 1999 and became president of sports teams operations for Madison Square Garden in 2001.

Prior to his move to The Garden, Mills played an integral role in the development of the National Basketball Association, where he held several positions with increasing responsibility, including his last role as senior vice president, basketball and player development. His responsibilities included managing the league's relationships with all domestic and international basketball organizations, including the NCAA and USA Basketball, as well as overseeing the NBA's developmental programs and player initiatives during one of the most critical periods in league history. Mills also played a key role in the creation of the Women's National Basketball Association and served on the team responsible for the negotiation of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Mr. Mills started his career with the NBA in 1983 as an account executive in the corporate sponsorship department of NBA Properties.

Before returning to MSG, Mills most recently served as partner and CEO of Athletes & Entertainers Wealth Management Group, LLC, a company he created in 2010 that links sports and entertainment stars with investment and management leaders to create new business opportunities.

An accomplished collegiate basketball player, Mills started three seasons at guard for Hall of Fame Coach Pete Carril at Princeton University, where he helped lead the Tigers to two Ivy League first-place finishes, including the league title and a NCAA berth in 1981. He also played professionally for one season in South America in 1981.

Mills earned a degree in sociology from Princeton in 1981 and has served on the Board of Trustees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Board of Directors for USA Basketball. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Princeton Varsity Club and on the Advisory Board for Manhattan's Hospital for Special Surgery. Mr. Mills and his wife Beverly have two daughters and reside in South Orange, NJ.

Can Knicks center Tyson Chandler make up for his missed free-throw against the Bulls? Breaking down the New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves preview

The 2013-14 NBA season is upon us once again and the New York Knicks and their fans are looking for a championship this season. As team orange and blue gets ready to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, one game on the road to hopefully snagging the Larry Obryan Trophy in June, let's do a recap.

Looking Back

The Knicks opened their campaign with an unimpressive 90-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at home. On the second game of a back-to-back, the Knicks came two points short of a morale-boosting win against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks lost a heartbreaker to the Bulls, 81-82. One of the culprits for the loss was a missed free-throw shot by center Tyson Chandler with 10.8 seconds left in the 4th quarter. A bucket could have sent the game into overtime and then with a higher basketball IQ in place and perhaps, luck, a win.

If there are any positives to take away from this loss is that the Knicks can hang with a top tier team in the Eastern Conference. However, on the flip side, Carmelo Anthony and the guys are still dogged by the failure of registering a win against Chicago in five straight contests dating back to last season. What's ironic about the Knicks' struggles against the Bulls is that they have enjoyed overwhelming success against the Miami Heat, the reigning defending champions. The Knicks took three of four victories against the South Beach kids last season.

The Knicks are an enigma, but aren't we all? All-in-all, it's too early in this brand new season to label the Knicks. The team has experienced a roster overhaul replacing nine players from last season to this season's reduced collection of seven additions most notably rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr., forward Andrea Bargnani, forward Metta World Peace, and JR Smith's little brother Chris, also a guard. So the Knicks need time to gel.

Looking Forward

Tomorrow evening, the Knicks will return home to host a Western Conference opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7:30 pm in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Unlike the Knicks, the Timberwolves have yet to experience defeat. They are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference undefeated at 2-0. They defeated the Orlando Magic in overtime 120-115 and the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-81. Although the Knicks have made significant alterations to their roster gaining youth opposed to last year's AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the Timberwolves are still younger and probably faster.

Floor General Ricky Rubio, a Spanish import, has established himself as one of the premier point guards in this game due to his advanced ability to find teammates anywhere on the court for easy baskets. He is capable of dominating the game by passing exclusively. Forward Kevin Love, who missed a substantial amount of time last season due to a variety of injuries enters this season relatively healthy. He's looking forward to reminding us all who the best power forward is in the game today behind Spurs future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. The rest of the wolves feature a well-balanced team in bigs, wingmen, and guards that include rebounding machine F Nikola Pekovic, F Dante Cunningham, F Derrick Williams, F Corey Brewer, F Chase Budinger, G Kevin Martin, and rookies G Shabazz Muhammad and C Gorgui Dieng.

The Western conference in totality has remained consistent in providing a tough night for any team and that's what I believe the Knicks are in for.

The Wolves are going to look to run as they have the personnel to rebound and push the break. Star players always salivate at the opportunity to play in the Mecca of Basketball. I expect Love to take full advantage in showcasing his skills. I expect the Knicks to come out hungry to relieve the stress of receiving a loss to the Bulls earlier this week. They will offer a spirited effort in their return from a one-game road trip. Every night Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony steps on the hardwood, the NBA community, as well as the fans, expect a scoring clinic and I expect Anthony to deliver the goods. The Wolves desire to be taken seriously within the Western Conference and the Knicks are anxious to step foot on the basketball court to avenge their previous loss. Expect a good quality and grind-it-out back and forth contest.

 

WATCH VIDEO - NEW YORK KNICKS CHASE BLUE CARPET

In celebration of the reconstructed Madison Square Garden and to tip-off the 2013-14 NBA season, the New York Knicks held the Blue Carpet Event presented by Chase Bank.

Knicks' legends, professional boxers, and many more stars filled the Chase Blue Carpet as they entered the revamped arena for the Knicks' home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Blue Carpet celebrants, as well as, fans weighed in on their prospects for the Knicks' 2013-14 season.

Former Knicks players, Larry Johnson, John Wallace, and John Starks, as well as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Damaris Lewis, believe the versatility and attitude of newly acquired players, Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace, along with the strong qualities of rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., are fitting additions to the championship caliber team.

Former professional heavyweight boxer, Gerry Cooney, gushed over the beauty of the new MSG interior, in particular, the spacious Chase Bank Seventh Avenue entrance lobby filled with memorabilia and two 600-square-foot screens on the ceiling. Wallace and others raved over the transformed arena and phenomenal view from the Chase Bridges, which contain glass walls to provide a clear view of the court. The Chase Bridges seat up to 430 fans and are accompanied by a total of six scoreboard monitors. Finally, not to be forgotten, there was endless praise over the newly installed HD scoreboard above center court with mini scoreboards embedded underneath for players and fans to view conveniently from courtside and the lower bowl.

After three years and $1 billion worth of renovations, MSG has heightened the experience of what is known as "The Mecca" to an unprecedented level. Let's see if the metamorphic arena will reflect in a highly successful season for the Knicks.

 

Videography: Alexis Williams

Jeremy Lin reflects on his growth since being traded from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets

"That's the sign of our growth as a team," Jeremy Lin said responding to a reporter's question after the Houston Rockets beat the Brooklyn Nets 106-96. "We probably wouldn't have done that earlier in the season. We probably would have folded and fell and given away the game. We regrouped, took their hit, then counter-punched, and we were able to get the win."

Jeremy sees that maturity was a factor in the team's ability to get the win over the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

"We got some stops when we needed to, but we made it tough, we made it tough for them."

Jeremy sees that he is blending in and believes that the team is really blending.

"The past couple of weeks, we've shown flashes of in my mind, of being a really, really good team whether it's a game against OKC or Golden State or games like that," he said. "Today was an uglier one. We turned the ball over; we didn't play as well as we normally did, but we were able to get the win so we're thankful for that."

And, it's always good when you can get a win on the road.

"Any win on the road is a great win for us," he responded. "We want to keep pushing and try to build a winning streak; we have a favorable schedule coming up."

What has been Jeremy Lin's biggest adjustment coming from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets?

"I think it's just different, because it's a different system and I'm in a different role; being able play alongside a huge and elite playmaker in James Harden and learning to mesh with him and we're getting there and I'm really happy with where we're at right now and I'm happy with where our team is in terms of how we're playing."

So what does Jeremy Lin miss about New York City?

"I miss the fans, just like how crazy the Garden (Madison Square Garden) would get last year, how loud and awesome the experience was, yeah, that's what I miss most."

Has Jeremy Lin experienced the level of excitement in other NBA arenas like the Linsanity at Madison Square Garden in New York City?

"Here and there, here and there," he said. "Sometimes it will get crazy and stuff. I think our last home game against OKC back home that was insane; we had the Toyota Center rocking, so, it was cool."

So is it less pressure on him being in a smaller market.

"Less pressure, less spotlight, so it usually means less pressure," Jeremy said.

What will be the point of success for this team in making the playoff and going forward?

"I think consistency and I think it's attention to detail on the defensive end," he responded. "I think offensively we're okay. Offensively we'll struggle here and there but, I think we've shown we're an explosive offensive team and I think our biggest improvements can come on the defensive end.

Has Jeremy got over the trades?

"I just hate to see anybody leave, but in terms of the trade in and of itself, it's not for me to really, really comment, it kind of management's job," he responded. "It was tough for me to see my teammates leave, but we have new guys coming in, I just met a few of them, it's definitely time to turn the page and move on."

Days before the Knicks took on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Thursday night, Knicks small forward, Carmelo Anthony, called his team the laughing stock of the NBA after plummeting to the bottom of the Atlantic Division and losing 9-straight games.

"We are the laughingstock of the league," Anthony said about the rivalry between the two New York teams. "I mean, it's nothing to hide. We are...that's why it's a big game for us."

But it seems as if the tables have turned on the Knicks after they blew out their former point guard Jason Kidd's team. More orange and blue fans filled the Brooklyn arena than black and white and when the Nets hit center court, it seemed as if the Knicks had home court advantage. Fans booed Brooklyn, but no one received a more unwelcome reception than Jason Kidd.

"Put Jason Kidd in," a Knicks fan yelled to the Nets.

Brooklyn played horribly and any true fan should be embarrassed. Thursday's 113-83 blowout loss was the second consecutive loss that Brooklyn fell short by more than 20 points on their home court.

Everything pretty much went wrong for the Nets. The Nets fell behind double digits in the first quarter and though they cut it by less than five in the second quarter, they were never able to regain a lead over the Knicks (4-13.)

But, hey both teams couldn't lose, right? And the better team out of the worst won.

Anthony had a huge night with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Iman Shumpert scored a season-high 17 points. Shump took to Twitter after the game to pop off to fans about jumping back on the Knicks bandwagon.

He retweeted this message: "Now everybody back on that @I_Am_Iman bandwagon again. Some of y'all kill me."

Meanwhile, Andrea Bargnani showed out and scored 16 points before he was ejected in the fourth quarter for taunting Kevin Garnett after they had a scuffle.

"I don't speak Italian," Garnett said after the game, when asked what Bargnani had said to him.

Brook Lopez ended the night with 24 points and nine rebounds, who again played without injured Paul Pierce and Deron Williams.

Nobody was laughing at the Knicks after Thursday night.

Matinee games and the Knicks have been going together like those hideous orange uniforms they have displayed having lost all previous 6 games. So it was interesting (especially coming off their last 2 games) to see how they would fare against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday afternoon at the World Most Famous or some would say "infamous" Arena.

With the heat mounting on head coach Mike Woodson and injuries to Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni, Woodson elected to go with his bigs in the starting line-up, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani against the smaller Grizzlies. The strategy backfired as Memphis jumped out to a quick 17-8 lead after a Mike Conley short jumper. New York managed to right themselves going on a 14 to 8 run cutting the deficit to two points (25-22) at the end of the first period.

Tim Hardaway, Jr got the crowd into the game with a vicious dunk after a Carmelo Anthony steal giving the Knicks a 3-point (28-25) lead that would not last long. In the blink of an eye, the Grizzlies outscored the Knicks 25 to 12 taking a 10 point (50-40) halftime lead. Ex-Knick Zach Randolph 11 and Tony Allen 13 points leading the way. Meanwhile, the Knicks shooting was atrocious. They attempted 10 three-pointers missing 9. Anthony misses 6 of his first 10 shots, Bargnani 4 out of 5 and Iman Shumpert missed all four of his.

It went from bad to worse in the third period even though New York was only outscored by 1 point (22-21). Jammal Franklin, the latest guard the Knicks made look like an all-star, goes in for an uncontested lay-up pushing the lead to 14 (72-58). Memphis, crushing them on the boards out rebounded them 44-23. Seventeen second chance points and a whopping 11 to 4 in offensive rebounds. The final results would be even more horrific.

Down by 12 to begin the final period, the Grizzlies went up by as many as 19 (85-66) with more than five minutes to go. Boos raining down from the frustrated crowd. The Knicks frantic comeback was started by a Hardaway, Jr 3-point bomb and when Anthony finishes a lay-up, the lead dwindled to 10 (85-75) getting the crowd back into the game. But just like all game and all season, the defense that defined the team last year, could not get stops when needed.

New York managed to get the lead down to four points (91-87) after Chandler converts free throws with 25.6 left. It would be the last points of the game for them as the Knicks lost for the 10th time at home. The big line-up was anything but as Memphis outscored New York 60 to 28 in the paint and out-rebounded them by an astounding 56 to 29. Something Woodson was not pleased with.

"That is embarrassing especially when you start a big lineup," Woodson said.

He called out players he felt were responsible.

"Tyson, Bargnani, Melo have to rebound the ball better and we have to do it as a unit. We could not keep them out of the paint and that was a problem."

The loss dropped their record to 8 and 18 and they are quickly becoming an afterthought in a division that can be taken by anybody.

"I take pride in trying to win games at home" continued Woodson. "That was the whole beauty the last two years. We have been slow in that area and that has put us in a hole. If we won half of our home games we would be sitting at the top of our division the way it is playing out. We have to put a string of wins on the road. That is the only way we can get out this hole."

If the New York Knicks keep losing, be it at home or on the road, Woodson may not be around if they do climb out.

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