Knicks Briefing: November 26

Knicks win for Fizdale ... Mudiay impressive ... Kanter a beast ... Lee close to returning

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1Knicks win for Fizdale

The Knicks beat the Grizzlies 103-98 in a game the players clearly wanted to win for Fizdale, as he made his return to the city where he was fired before being hired by New York.

The players celebrated by dousing Fizdale in water.

My suit is ruined. Emmanuel came up to me, him and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) both, were just hugging me and telling me it was for me. And then they all came in and I lost it (crying).”

After the game, Fizdale hugged Marc Gasol, apparently burying the hatchet on the rift that led to their separation.

2MUDIAY !!!

Emmanuel Mudiay continues to reward his new head coach for the confidence boost. He scored 17 points on 5-12 shooting last night, but nothing was more impressive than his poster slam dunk on Garrett Temple.

As a starter this season, Mudiay is averaging 14.7 points per game on 52.1% shooting (remember, he is a 38.1% career shooter). He is also starting to knock down some threes to balance his best quality in getting to the rim.

It’s his finishing ability that has helped his game the most this season. He is making a career-high 60% of his shots near the rim this season. Don’t think of a player like Kanter, who shoots with a high percentage near the rim. Mudiay’s 60% rate near the hoop puts him close to the top 20% among point guards.

3Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter was a beast last night. He became the first Knick since Patrick Ewing in 1997 to post at least 20 points and 25 rebounds in a game, finishing with 21 & 26, respectively. He is also showing glimpses of serviceable defense for stretches of the game.

4Courtney Lee cleared to practice

Courtney Lee is finally inching closer to returning to the Knicks lineup after being sidelined with a neck injury since training camp. He has been cleared to practice with the team, but wants to get in “multiple practices” before returning to game action.

With the schedule how it is right now, we’re playing so many games and there’s not so many practices. Definitely gotta get in practice to get my timing down, learn all the plays. I pretty much know all of them. But he changed a couple wrinkles in some. Gotta get in there and feel comfortable with the guys, grow some chemistry. Once I get that rhythm, I should be fine from there.”

5Remembering Willie Naulls

Knicks legend Willie Naulls passed away on November 22nd at the age of 84 due to a respiratory failure from Churg-Strauss Syndrome.

Naulls spent seven seasons with the Knicks after playing only 19 games with the St. Louis Hawks. As a Knick, Naulls averaged 19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game and made the NBA All-Star team four times.

6On this Date

2005: Nate Robinson hits a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Knicks a thrilling 105-102 (OT) victory over the Philadelphia 76ers before a sellout matinee MSG crowd.

1966: Cazzie Russell scores a season-high 34 points off the bench over 27 minutes in a 125-114 win over Baltimore at the Garden.