Despite a league-high 29 losses, first-year Knicks coach Derek Fisher still has a powerful ally in Carmelo Anthony, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. “I think if it was anybody else in his position, I think this probably would’ve crumbled already,” Anthony said Wednesday after New York’s 21-point loss to the Clippers. “I think he’s doing a great job of keeping everybody focused on the task at hand and believing in what we’re trying to do.” Anthony reiterated that surgery on his sore left knee is a “last resort,” and he hopes to hold off any procedure until after the season.
There’s more regarding Fisher and the Knicks:
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers can understand the pain that Fisher is going through, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. After Wednesday’s game, he recalled similar experiences that he suffered through as a coach in Orlando and in his early days in Boston. “We lost 18 in a row [with the Celtics in 2006/07] where I believed every night we were going to win, and every night I got my heart broke,” Rivers said. “And that’s just coaching. It’s part of it. And you have to deal with it.”
- The Knicks welcomed Andrea Bargnani and J.R. Smith back from injuries Wednesday, but Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times observed that it only seemed to make the team worse. He also noted that Fisher is doing his best to stay positive despite an inept defense and players who can’t seem to figure out the triangle offense. “It’s been difficult,” Fisher said, “but that doesn’t define our life and whether we’re good people or whether we know how to play basketball just because we’re not winning right now. It just means you have a lot of work to do.”
- One bright spot in New York has been the play of Shane Larkin, according to Sara Peters of Bleacher Report. She argues that the 22-year-old should take over as the Knicks’ starting point guard for the rest of the season, noting that the team is 3-9 with him as a starter and 2-20 otherwise. Larkin, who came to New York in an offseason trade with the Mavericks, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Because the Knicks chose not to pick up his third-year option in October, they are limited to offering him $1,675,320, the amount of the option that was declined.