Sickening was the word David Fizdale used to describe a 37-point home loss against Denver on Thursday that came three nights after a 44-point loss in Milwaukee. The next chance Fizdale gets to describe a game, he will not be coaching the league-worst New York Knicks.
Fizdale was fired Friday, and assistant Mike Miller will coach the Knicks on Saturday night when they host the Pacers. Indiana will look to capitalize on facing one of the worst teams in the league ahead of a tough schedule.
The Knicks enter at 4-18, matching the worst start in team history set by the 17-65 team in 2014-15. That squad was led by Derek Fisher, who is the last coach New York fired during a season, as he was axed in February 2016.
Fizdale, who was 21-83 with New York, ran practice Friday and talked to the media less than 24 hours after the Knicks allowed 21 3-pointers and saw their latest losing streak reach eight games with a 129-92 rout, which followed a 132-88 loss Monday.
The Knicks are winless since a 123-105 victory over Cleveland on Nov. 18.
Veteran Marcus Morris told the New York Daily News regarding his frustration, “I mean, of course. I hang my hat on being a competitor. I come in every morning and work my (tail) off. I’ve been doing that since I’ve been in this league, nine years now. And I obviously haven’t been in this situation before. So it’s different. But the last thing I’m going to do is quit on anybody.”
Multiple media outlets reported that Morris led a players-only meeting hours before Fizdale was fired.
Miller takes over a team that is on its 18th losing streak of at least eight games since the start of the 2001-02 season. He is New York’s 12th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned 19 games into the 2001-02 season when the Knicks began a stretch of 15 out of 18 seasons with losing records and only four postseason appearances (2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013).
Indiana has won the last six meetings with the Knicks since Nov. 5, 2017, and is hoping to get another victory, especially with a schedule that features games with the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee and Toronto in the next two weeks.
The Pacers are 7-2 in their past nine games despite a 108-101 loss at Detroit on Friday. Indiana fell behind by 13 points in the opening quarter and gave up 37 points in the fourth quarter. The Pistons’ Andre Drummond finished with 25 points and 22 rebounds, helping Detroit post a 51-33 edge on the glass.
“I thought they were the aggressors all night long,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “It started at the beginning of the game. It just seemed like they wanted it a little bit more than we did. We’re supposed to get stronger and figure out how to stop teams and how to attack teams and we didn’t do that. I don’t think we did that on either end of the floor.”
T.J. Warren scored 26 points for Indiana on Friday while Malcolm Brogdon added 21. Domantas Sabonis collected 18 points and 13 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double. He has 17 double-doubles overall entering Saturday’s visit to New York, where he shot 12 of 12 and scored 30 points on Oct. 31, 2018.
–Field Level Media