Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Thomas, Noel

Knicks coach Derek Fisher isn’t hiding his desire to keep Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Fisher praised the young players, who both came to the team on 10-day contracts, after Saturday’s win over Orlando. “To come in and do what they’ve done — they’ve changed our team,” Fisher said. “They’ve changed our culture because they’re great young men. They come to work with the same attitude every day and the same mind-set, and despite our record this season, we’re better off for having had them.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Isaiah Thomas, who came to the Celtics in a deadline-day deal, may be the team’s MVP, writes Chris Forsberg of In the 19 games he has played since coming to Boston, Thomas is the team’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game and has become the focus of the offense in the fourth quarter. Forsberg states that giving up Marcus Thornton and Cleveland’s pick in the 2016 draft seems like a small price to pay.
  • Nerlens Noel has blossomed into the player the Sixers had hoped he would be, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel’s scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks showed dramatic rises in March, and coaches around the league have noticed the difference. “Much more aggressive, offensively,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Definitely, like driving the ball more and looking to post the ball more aggressively. But obviously what he’s bringing to the team that made them play better is his defense — his shot-blocking, his length, his anticipation.” With Noel blossoming and injured rookie center Joel Embiid on the horizon, the Sixers could face a difficult decision if they get a shot to land big men Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor in the draft.

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