December 04, 2022

Knicks Cage Bobcats

March 30, 2013

New York Knicks Keep Winning Streak Alive Beating Charlotte Bobcats 111-102

Riding the current longest NBA winning streak (6 games) after the Heat streak was broken at 27 by the Chicago Bulls this past Wednesday, the New York Knicks faced a Charlotte Bobcats team that had only won 17 games when they stepped on the Madison Square Garden hardwood floor Friday night. Head coach Mike Woodson was not concerned about getting his team up against a club that had lost 54 games up to this point.

"They're next in line," Woodson said prior to tip-off. "It doesn't matter who we play. It's all about what we do as a team. We've been playing some pretty good basketball as of late. We're trying to stay at the top of our division. This is an important game. Every game from here on out is important for our ball club."

Right from the start, New York treated Charlotte like the team with the worst record (Orlando started the night with 18 wins) in the league. Like they did Wednesday night against Memphis, the Knicks jumped out to a huge first-period lead (38-20) behind 13 Carmelo Anthony points. J.R. Smith continued his scorching play. He chipped in 9 points (4-6 shooting) looking to score more than 30 points for the third straight game. Iman Shumpert, who hit his first 3-pointers against Memphis, picked up right where he left off. Eight of his points came from behind the three-point arc. Shumpert has converted 6 of 8 three-pointers in the last two games.

By halftime, the contest (if that's what you want to call it) resembled the latest NBA video game, as the Knicks lead ballooned to as many as 30 points (58-28) with Smith adding 14 more points. As a team, New York shot a blistering 62% from the floor including an eye-opening 75% from 3 point land. The Bobcats never had a chance as they were in the crosshairs of the Knicks all night.

Unlike the Grizzlies game, when the Knicks saw its 30 point lead dwindle to five, Charlotte really never made it a game even though they did outscore the Knicks 31-22 in the final period. The Bobcats managed to close the gap to 7 (104-97) but Smith did it on the defensive end with a steal, leading to free throws by Anthony sealing the game.

The streak extends to seven games with Smith scoring 37 points and pretty much locking up the NBA's 6th man award. Something his head coach said was a reasonable goal at the start of the year. His teammates have been impressed.

"He (Smith) is focused," said Anthony. "He is dialed in, locked in. His confidence is sky high. We are following his lead."

Knicks guard Jason Kidd, who began the year starting but now is coming off the bench, compared Smith to a golfer saying "he's putting well. He hasn't hit a bad drive. He's playing as well as anybody right now."

It's been a long time in the memory of Smith since he can recall playing this well.

"I haven't been on a streak like this since high school," he said.

The New York Knicks went on their customary west coast drought (1-4) dealing with injuries and could have easily fallen off the top of the division. Smith found his game at the right time becoming only the second player since 1990 to score more than 30 points in 3 straight games coming off the bench. The Knicks winning streak extends to seven games when they host the Boston Celtics Sunday night.

Knicks Defeat Raptors 106-87 and Stay Perfect Under Mike Woodson 

The three-game winning-streak followed the six-game losing streak cost the New York Knicks head coach Mike D' Antoni his job. The winning-streak has breathed life back into the team's NBA playoff life. It has given interim head coach Mike Woodson a platform to instill in his players how much is at stake as the season winds down.

There were 21 games when the Knicks hosted the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. They will face each other for the last time this year in three days in Toronto after splitting their previous two games both teams winning on the road. Except for pride, Toronto has nothing to play for with their 15-30 record. That may have been the only reason they gave the Knicks a hard time.

Led by DeMar DeRozan (6 points) Toronto and the Knicks were tied 3 times in the first period, with no team leading by more than 1 point after the first Raptors basket gave them a 2-0 lead. Down by one, the Knicks go on 7-0 run to take a 21-15 lead. Toronto closed the gap to three to end the period (27-24) after a Linas Kleiza three-pointer at the buzzer.

With New York sensing that the longer they allowed Toronto to feel they belonged, the harder it would be to put them away, Woodson once again called on his bench to slow the Raptors down. With the game tied once again at 29, Steve Novak hit his customary three-pointer, extending the lead to 7 again 36-29. Toronto clawed back to two (36-34) after a Gary Forbes lay-up. It's as close as the Raptors would get the rest of the period as the Knicks outscored them 13-4 over the next 5-plus minutes for the biggest lead of the half (49-38). J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Jared Jeffries and Steve Novak contributed 17 points off the pine.

Except for an early lapse at the start of the third period, the Knicks defense stiffened when the Raptors dwindled the lead to 7 (57-50) after an Andrea Bargnani running hook shot. Thirteen must have been the lucky number for the Knicks as they once again rattled off those points allowing Toronto only four, taking a 16-point lead (70-54) and never looked back in the 106-87 victory.

Said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, "they turned up the juice and we didn't meet the challenge. Anytime you give up 16 offensive boards, our turnovers are the two things that hurt us."

When the New York Knicks lost to the Chicago Bulls last week, they gave up 22 offensive rebounds leading to 24 points in the five-point loss. It was an eye-opener for the team.

Said Woodson, "that's been a big problem all season," he started. "Us putting bodies on bodies to secure the rebound. I stress that every game before every game. Five guys are going to block out and rebound the basketball. Then we go and play offense. We've done a better job as of late."

Although Jeremy Lin and the "Linsanity" have quieted down, his numbers are starting to reflect what put him on the map in the first place. He finished his night with his seventh double-double of the year scoring 18 points and 10 assists.

"We just moved the ball and try to pick apart the defense and took whatever the defense gave us. I thought we were patient as a team," he said.

Amar'e Stoudemire led all scorers with 22 points with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler adding 17 each.

The New York Knicks traveled by Amtrak right after the game to face the division-leading Philadelphia 76ers. They are looking to avenge the March 11th home loss.

Landry Fields knows how important the game is: "We have already talked about it. We're trying to rise in the standings. It's an important game for us."

In the win against the Orlando Magic, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in 26 minutes for the New York Knicks

For the second straight game, the New York Knicks took the floor without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. They were able to get a win against Milwaukee Monday night without them as Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, hitting all 12 of his free-throw attempts while battling a tender groin. But last night, it was the Orlando Magic with their 32-18 record taking the floor at Madison Square Garden.

Magic's guard Jameer Nelson took immediate advantage of the Knicks backcourt, scoring 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Orlando took an eight-point lead (24-16) with a little less than 3 minutes to go in the first period. New York finished the period outscoring the Magic 9-5 as Steve Novak scored 5 of those points cutting the deficit to 4 (29-25) as the period came to an end.

With Orlando's Dwight Howard on the bench to begin the second, The Knicks scored the first 6 points to take their first lead of the game (31-29). It started a spark that elevated New York to a shocking 16 point lead before halftime (57-41).

With crisp passing on the offensive end and suffocating defense, the Knicks finished the second period on a 26-12 run. It was capped by a Novak 3-pointer at the buzzer. Both Novak and Anthony finished with 13 points apiece to lead New York while Iman Shumpert, inserted into the starting line-up, contributing 10 points. They shot 54% from the floor while limiting the Magic to 40%. Orlando, who relies heavily on their 3-point shooting, missed 11of their first 13 half attempts (15%). Meanwhile, after a rough start themselves, where the Knicks missed seven of their first nine 3-point attempts, they made four of their last six. The momentum they took in with them carried over to the third period.

If this was a boxing match, the refs would have stopped it so Orlando would not have endured further damage. How good did it get for the Knicks? At one point, the Knicks scored 21 straight points, leading by as many as 39 points (88-49). How bad did it get for Orlando? They missed eight of their first 11 shots as they watched New York pull away.

Magic's head coach Stan Van Gundy was not a happy camper in trying to explain the lopsided loss.

"What's shocking to me is that a team that's playing over .600 basketball could get absolutely rocked by as many teams as we have been." On the 21-point explosion, he said, "we got behind, they hit a lot of shots, they got us down and then we just sort of died."

With the Magic having nothing to lose and Howard and Nelson riding the bench dumfounded by how the game got out of hand, the reserves came out and outscored the Knicks 19-8 to creep within 19 (93-74) to begin the final period. Shumpert scored six of the next eight points, putting Orlando out of its misery.

Carmelo Anthony made the most of his evening finishing with 25 points in 26 minutes, his best game so far this season. He rode the exercise bike to keep his tender groin warm when he wasn't in the game.

Said Anthony afterward, "I just wanted to come out with a focus. My shot was falling today."

The New York Knicks have now won eight of their last nine games and their last six-in-a-row at home. They will be without Stoudemire for at least the next 4 weeks and Lin and his tender knee is on a day to day basis. Interim head coach Mike Woodson has no choice but to go with a smaller line-up.

"We will stay that way for a while," he said afterward. "Teams have to match up with us." He hopes the team continues to not only rebound but to keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Knicks out-rebounded the Magic by 15 (49-34) and had seven fewer turnovers (7-18).

They travel to Atlanta Friday night before returning to the Garden to face Cleveland on Saturday night.

Melo Gores Bulls

April 08, 2012

In a playoff atmosphere, Carmelo Anthony scores 43 points against the Bulls, the 20th time he has scored 40 points or more in a game and his first as a Knick

When the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls last played each other about a month ago, the Knicks were in the middle of a five-game losing streak and head coach Mike D' Antoni still had a job. They played one of their more spirited games during the losing streak, only to come up empty in the 104-99 loss on the road, extending the losing streak to six. To a man, many of the Knicks said they couldn't wait to get back on the court and it showed as right after D' Antoni "resigned" the Knicks went on to win their next five games for interim coach Mike Woodson. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden on Easter Sunday and New York came out like they had their minds on the last time they faced Chicago.

With last year's MVP (the youngest in league history to win the award) back in the starting lineup after missing the last five games with a groin injury, Derrick Rose was looking to give his team a boost. The Bulls had split their last six games but still managed to come into the game with the best record in the east at 43-13. Right from the start, Rose showed rust missing six of his first seven shots in the first half scoring only seven points.

"I felt good," said Rose of his inauspicious start. "It felt good to be out there. I wasn't trying to do too much."

Meanwhile, the Knicks connected on seven of their first nine shots to take an early 12 point lead (15-3). Carmelo Anthony's torrid shooting (12 points on 5 of 5 field goals) maintained that margin going into the second period. Defensive-minded Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said, "big hole to start the game."

The double-digit lead continued for much of the second period with New York getting as high as 16 (35-19) after a Jared Jeffries offensive rebound and lay-up. Chicago slowly chipped away at the lead getting three more offensive rebounds and converting seven more free-throws to get within eight (53-45). Rose got his basketball legs back to begin the third period as an Anthony jump shot increased the lead to 10 (55-45). Rose scored 14 points tying the game at 67 after nailing a 3-pointer. Chicago ended the period up by three (75-72) setting up one of the best Knicks victories in recent memory.

The ball movement that accounted for the Knicks double-digit lead disappeared as they continually settled for perimeter shots in the fourth period. New York closed the gap to one point (81-80) but Chicago outscored them 10-1, taking a 10-point lead with a little more than 3 minutes left. That's when all the fun began. J.R. Smith, who missed 14 of his 18 field goal attempts (7 of 9 from 3-point land) gets the Knicks within 7 after a rare 3 pointer. The Knicks shut out Chicago the rest of the period as the Bulls not only turned the ball over but missed their last four free-throw attempts that could have secured the victory. Trailing by three, Anthony connects on a deep three-pointer, tying the game at 91. Rose then misses his last-second shot, sending the game into overtime as the sold-out crowd roared its approval.

In overtime, Chicago took a 99-95 lead after Rose and Joakim Noah combined for 8 points. Not to be undaunted, Anthony scores the final 5 points, the last three a trifecta with 8.2 seconds left and Luol Deng all in his face. It was Anthony's 43rd point of the night, a season high. His first as a member of the Knicks and the 20th time he has scored 40 points or more in a game. The play-off type atmosphere had Woodson with a wide grin of satisfaction on his face.

"Unbelievable," he started. "They (Chicago) refused to give in after we got off to a great start. We kept grinding. Our team refused to quit."

Anthony got caught up in the fact that both teams will play each other Tuesday night and may face each other in the playoffs.

"This was a playoff type of game. We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep going. So this was a big statement game for us. A big win today."

Brooklyn Nets take the first Battle of the Boroughs defeating the New York Knicks 96-89; Brook Lopez scores 22 points and 11 rebounds

It took 13 games and one overtime before the official birth of the Brooklyn (still sounds kind of weird) Nets.

Both teams were supposed to face each other to start the NBA season but then Hurricane Sandy blew into town forcing the game to be canceled. When they finally stepped on the floor Monday night at the Barclays Center, both teams had gotten off to a good start. The first place Knicks had a 1 game lead over the second place Nets who were eager to see if their fan base would truly make this a "home game" for Brooklyn.

Said Nets head coach Avery Johnson before the game, "my first two years was an 80-20 split for their side. I'm hoping for an 80-20 split on our side this time." It was more like 50-50 at the beginning after both teams were introduced in front of the sold out (17,732) crowd.

The Knicks were without Jason Kidd who was out with a sore lower back so head coach Mike Woodson had to tinker with the line-up starting veteran Kurt Thomas and moving Ronnie Brewer to the shooting guard spot. Both teams relied heavily on their bench and in the end, it came down to gritty defense and stamina that allowed Brooklyn to come away with the 96-89 win.

Neither team would lead by more than seven points the entire game. The game, tied 12 times, also had 13 lead changes in regulation. The Nets took a 5-point lead (81-76) with 4:01 left in the 4th quarter after a Brook Lopez dunk. Knicks Carmelo Anthony quickly answered that with a 3-pointer of his own to get them within two points (81-79). It began an 8-0 Knicks run that put them up by 3 (84-81) with 1:38 left and victory in sight.

The teams would trade baskets down the stretch, as a Lopez lay-up and free throw tied the game at 84 (he missed the second attempt that would have given them the lead) once again giving New York a chance at stealing the victory but Anthony's jump shot hit off the rim sending the game into overtime.

Brooklyn then took advantage of the extra five minutes outscoring the Knicks 12-5 to take the first Battle of the Boroughs. The win overshadowed New York's center Tyson Chandler and his career-high 28 points. Anthony, who played 50 minutes, finished with a game-high 35 points on 11-25 shooting. On more than one occasion when Melo went to the free throw line, he was serenaded with chants of M-V-P which were quickly drowned out by the Brooklyn fans.

Nets guard Deron Williams, who finished with a double-double (16 points, 14 assists) was very aware of the home crowd, "It was good to hear them cheering for us the entire game," Williams stated.

Joe Johnson noticed the support as well.

"Every time some sort of Knick contingency started to cheer, our fans got louder and this is what we have been dreaming about since I've been here," Johnson said.

A victory will do that.

When coming out of the subway, it's not too hard to gaze the skies and marvel at how tall the buildings are or wonder why there's a food vendor on every corner and at the end of every block. It's also fascinating to observe how much of a melting pot this place is and pondering where did all of these people come from? That place is Manhattan, NY, New York City, the city that never sleeps. NYC grants you a reason to stay out beyond your bedtime due to the nightlife, the bars, the restaurants, the sights and monuments, but just maybe, maybe the reason you haven't arrived home yet is because you are attending a New York Knicks game, the professional basketball team that calls the Mecca of Basketball, Madison Square Garden, on 33rd Street home.

There's no place like the Garden when it's rocking with the intelligent basketball minds from Wall Street brokers to social workers. I believe the Garden hasn't really erupted since the 1990s during the Patrick Ewing era. Remember when former Knicks Forward Larry Johnson executed a four-point play on the Indiana Pacers during the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, ultimately winning that game and advancing to the 1999 NBA Finals? The Knicks ultimately lost to San Antonio Spurs or most notably "The Dunk". How about a series of events that ended in guard John Starks dunking over sg Michael Jordan among others in Game 2 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls?

Those nights are cemented in NBA history and have little chance of duplicating themselves in the near future, but there is a chance that this current arrangement of what is the New York Knicks can have the garden partying like it's 1999, whatever that means. Last season featured one of the best Knicks seasons that they have had in quite some time, garnering many accolades courtesy of their personnel. SG J.R. Smith won the Sixth Man of The Year Award. The Knicks captured the Atlantic Division Crown and earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference winning 54 games. The orange and blue team advanced to the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs where they eventually lost to the Indiana Pacers in six games, previously defeating the Boston Celtics in the first round in six games. In a season where several accomplishments were attained, many would expect that those same accomplishments would translate to the postseason which is an entirely different season and one that the Knicks are still adjusting to and acclimating themselves to even though with the injuries that plagued the Chicago Bulls, and the Celtics presented a clear shot to the Eastern Conference Finals that the Knicks did not take advantage. In a couple days the 2013-2014 NBA campaign begins for the Knicks who will enter this season with a number of questions regarding the expectations attached to their organization which are: Can this team actually win a championship?

I have the answer, and sadly it's No, take it and receive it. With the way this team is constructed I believe the Knicks will have a hard time stopping elusive and quick point guards on the perimeter from penetrating the paint due to the lack of athleticism on the perimeter excluding from that group 3rd year shooting guard Iman Shumpert and former Sixth Man Of the Year J.R. Smith, the enigma. There's no doubt that the new additions of forward Metta World Peace, center Andrea Bargnani and the 2013 first round pick of the Knicks in guard Tim Hardaway Jr. should all aid the Knicks in their individual strengths, but that's not the issue.

The Knicks have more questions regarding their overall makeup than a five-year-old yearning to explore the world so let's start here: Will we see a more organized and balanced offensive attack this season? The "Melo offense", courtesy of star forward Carmelo Anthony makes me sick, which is an indictment on the personnel of this team and the coaching staff, which leads to my next question: Can Head Coach Mike Woodson duplicate the season he delivered last season? The Knicks won 54 games and captured the Atlantic Division crown the previous season for the first since guard Michael Jordan announced his initial retirement (Shaking My Head), which means he is definitely earning his pay but with a vastly improved Eastern Conference as well as the other team across the river threatening their rights to the heart of New York, he is on the hot seat. Here's another one: How will these lineups work? Do you want to go with a more defensive lineup and start World Peace along with Shumpert, Chandler and the obvious mainstays in pg Raymond Felton and Anthony? Or would you rather a shootout starring, cover your eyes, Smith in the starting lineup along with Felton, Bargnani, Anthony, and Chandler? Can forward Amar'e Stoudemire remain healthy throughout this season and contribute? Whether he plays or not, we should all thank Stoudemire for electing to choose the Knicks that 2010 offseason for reshaping the culture that haunted the Knicks for the duration of an entire decade, because without the signing of Stoudemire, there is no Anthony, but there's a title on the line and the addition of Stoudemire and his offensive skill set down in the low post pushing Anthony to the perimeter could do wonders for the Knicks. Are there any other point guard options? The only time Anthony advanced to any conference finals and in his particular career the Western Conference Finals was in the 2009 postseason against the Los Angeles Lakers when he played alongside pg Chauncey Billups, a 5-time all-star, an NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, and a 2-time NBA All-Defensive Second team finalist. Felton is solid but he does not measure up. Okay, front office, figure out.

Lastly, this message is directed at Anthony on behalf of all New Yorkers: we adore your scoring prowess but we would really appreciate it if you blended yourself within the offense in the first three quarters and then take-over the fourth because the game is not won in the 1st through 3rd, it's done in the fourth. Let's get creative, act as a decoy, call for picks, work off screens, and hit the open man when you see it fit to do so and upon the fourth quarter, explode because you are "Melo". If the Knicks can locate all of the items on their scavenger hunt, they will get their wish and possibly challenge the Miami Heat but until then as we observe this season, let's just hope the Knicks can find the various fans and cooling checkpoints to survive the humidity as only they can change the weather forecast for oh so satisfying comfort.

 

For the New York Knicks at 3-4, defeating the Atlanta Hawks tonight 95-91, seven games in and 75 more games left to complete their 82-game campaign, their world is already crumbling before they can experience enough time to be wholesome. Those to blame for their less than impressive start to their season include the cheerleaders, the president, and general manager, the hot dog vendors, as well as, the vending machines.

The blame game has already begun as well as the finger-pointing. One would assume that there would be a level of confidence attached to the New York Knicks label based on the season they enjoyed not too long ago capturing the Atlantic Division Crown, and winning 54 games in the process. To the naked eye, this team hardly resembles the team that accomplished those achievements last year due to the numerous roster changes in personnel but what’s most alarming about their start is their current mindset. Last year's Knicks team, although it struggled to play defense throughout the year, a re-occurring theme for the past decade, played with a certain level of intensity, focusing on competing against all challengers no matter the match-up and the strain. Last year’s Knicks team entered the season with expectations that they placed upon themselves of what they envisioned for themselves, revolving around the prime objective of winning an NBA championship, and with wins against the Spurs (which made me feel for the first time in a decade that the Knicks had arrived), three victories against the Miami Heat, as well as, winning a game on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder, fans, the public as well as myself believed that a championship was actually within reach. Sadly, thus far, I have not seen that same aura that surrounded the Knicks last year.

When you hear starting point guard Raymond Felton state that "I've got to play harder," team owner James Dolan requesting must-wins against the likes of the Atlanta Hawks, and star forward Carmelo Anthony having to validate the coaching of head coach Mike Woodson to the media, there is obviously a problem.

Tonight's win should grant the Knicks some breathing room until they face the Houston Rockets tomorrow night at home in an early season test against a Western conference contender. The result should indicate the direction of where this season’s destination will be.

The loss of center Tyson Chandler, out 4-6 weeks suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula courtesy of a penetration dribble by Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker last week, will definitely impact the Knicks defense around the basket. The black cat has not left MSG as yet. This latest loss to their frontline makes their inside presence as soft as gummy bears relying on center Andrea Bargnani to be the last line, the enforcer. This loss to their front-court has prompted management to inquire about the services of Forward Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets a rebounding demon for G Iman Shumpert, in my opinion, an absolute mistake not because of what Faried can provide but because of what Shumpert can become, and that's one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league.

All in all, I believe it is too early to panic regarding the Knicks current state due to the infant stages of this 2013-2014 NBA season. Mike Woodson is still trying to find the correct ingredients in assembling the first and second unit. J.R. Smith has just returned furthermore planning to remind us all who the reigning 2012-2013 Sixth Man of The Year is. Bargnani is not comfortable yet, although recording a double-double in tonight's affair with 20 points and 11 rebounds seem as though he’s getting his feet wet, enjoying his new role and responsibilities and at the end of the day Melo is still on the roster right? Let them play.

As for Thursday's nationally televised wine and dine between the Knicks and the Rockets, I expect a shootout, if the Knicks are willing to respond because I know the Rockets will. James Harden is only scratching the surface of becoming the best shooting guard in the league behind Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat G Dwyane Wade. Every player in the NBA salivates at the opportunity to lace them up against their former employers and look for G Jeremy Lin to expose the Knicks as well as Felton. I do not know who on this roster is capable of defending Rockets C Dwight Howard but it will be fun to observe the Knicks and the schemes they will entertain and execute against arguably the best big man in the NBA. The only way the Knicks will be successful this season is if they replicate the production they relished last season and that is scoring more than the other team, a feat that Anthony has to spearhead being the Numero Uno. We'll see how much the Rockets fare under the Broadway lights as well as the North Pole conditions that we love so much as natives.

Phil Jackson New President of New York Knicks

Just as the New York Knicks shocked the basketball universe winning 54 games last year, their division and their first playoff series in more than 10 years, they have done a complete 180 this year. It's been a Murphy's Law kind year for the Orange and Blue that has it 13 games under .500 and currently 4 games out of the last playoff spot.

Think of a way for them to lose a game and they have done it. With criticism mounting, talk of a new head coach and a protest planned before their game against Indiana Wednesday night, rumors began that owner Jim Dolan had reached out to ex-Knick Phil Jackson. The meeting was brokered by mutual friend Irvin Azoff back in December. When Jackson made it clear that he had no interest in coaching, Dolan offered him President of Basketball Operations.

Jackson was introduced to the media Tuesday morning at the World's Most Famous Arena, the place where Jackson earned his first two championship rings with the Knicks, the last coming in 1973. Since then, Jackson added 11 more rings between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Signing a 5-year contract at an estimated $12 million per year, the clock has started to see if he can add another ring to his illustrious career.

Phil Jackson spoke off the cuff after being introduced not relying on a pre-written statement. Aside from Dolan and General Manager Steve Mills, former teammates Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Dick Barnett attended as well. He began by talking about the concept of a team.

"We want to build a team. This is a franchise that developed a team back in the 60's that was consistently playing team basketball for 7, 8 years. That's the cache that I think brought me here. There are things I believe that the players should have that's important to them. They should have the security in knowing they will be supported by the organization and coaching staff. Putting yourself on the line, you need to have that support. This is something we want to build for them."

Dolan's history of meddling with his past hires has been well documented; most notably the Donnie Walsh saga, and more recently with his last GM, Glen Grunwald. Dolan rarely speaks to the media and thus, the media feels he has little regard for them. Aware of that, Jackson made a plea, as he emphasized he wants to change the negative perception surrounding the team.

"I want to develop relationships with people here. I'm reaching out to you today and the media people to say we can have an open relationship. We need your support and the fans need a positive atmosphere to come and enjoy the game and the players need a positive attitude in which to play."

Phil Jackson would not have taken the position if he was not guaranteed total autonomy and control of basketball operations. His first official order of business will be talking to Head Coach Mike Woodson and the team before they face the Pacers riding a 7-game winning streak. He's hoping his presence will have an effect on the rest of the season culminating in getting into the playoffs, even if their opponent is Miami or Indiana.

While not the most athletic player on those championship teams, Phil Jackson was a student of the game under legendary coach William "Red" Holzman who stressed passing the ball, finding the open man and playing good old fashion team defense. Jackson remembers when Holzman picked him up at Kennedy airport the year he was drafted by the Knicks in 1967. In short, driving to the city Jackson experienced New York City first hand as a kid threw a brick from the overpass, smashing the front window.

Not deterred, Holzman looked at Jackson and said, "You know New York is not the easiest place to live. But if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Jackson has made it as a player in New York and as a coach in Chicago and Los Angeles. He wants to come full circle and make it as President of the New York Knicks.

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.

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?

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