On This Date: Knicks fire Derek Fisher

February 8th 2016: The New York Knicks fire Derek Fisher

After compiling a 40-96 record as head coach, the Knicks fired Derek Fisher on this date in 2016. Fisher was only in the middle of his second season in a 5-year contract. Despite having a limited roster for much of the 2014-15 season, Fisher rebounded to help the Knicks reach a 22-22 record to start the 2015-16 season. However, things seemed to unravel quickly afterwards losing 9 of the next 10 games.

The trio of Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Lance Thomas (yes, Lance Thomas) helped the Knicks stay at .500 until January. However, Melo’s ankle injury against the Celtics in the middle of January sidelined him for the next several games. Lance Thomas, who provided solid defense and three-point shooting, was sidelined for three games during that losing stretch.

However, it was a combination of various on-court and off-court issues that plagued Fisher’s 2015-16 season, and Knicks tenure as a whole. Fisher started the season on a rough note with the Matt Barnes controversy. Additionally, his offensive and defensive schemes left a lot to be desired. Fisher seemed committed to running the triangle offense upon being hired, but would never fully implement, coach, and execute its various intricacies. Additionally, he even began to waver from running the offense and integrated a pseudo system that had no identity or rhythm. Defensively, the Knicks continued to get torched on the pick-and-roll. The team often employed their big men to drop back to the rim allowing open layup lines.

The icing on the cake were two peculiar comments made off the court. Fisher mentioned on the Michael Kay show that he wouldn’t be disappointed if the team didn’t make the playoffs. This statement was surprising because the Knicks had a veteran-laden team and no draft picks in 2016. Additionally, he took a minor shot at impending free agent Rajon Rondo when the latter mentioned his displeasure about playing in the triangle offense.

Ultimately, Fisher’s inexperience might not have been the best match for coaching in New York; he entered the coaching ranks fresh out of retirement.

On This Date: Knicks win Double OT MLK thriller

January 18th 2016: The New York Knicks defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in a double overtime Martin Luther King Day thriller

The New York Knicks perhaps didn’t expect a MLK Day matinee against the five win Philadelphia 76ers to extend into double overtime. The Knicks held a 18 point lead in the 3rd quarter. However, the Philadelphia 76ers clawed back into the game, led by Ish Smith, Robert Covington & Nerlens Noel to tie the game and took a 96-93 lead with 3.4 seconds left in the 4th quarter.

Carmelo Anthony came to the rescue by connecting on a three pointer to tie the game. The game went into double overtime, but the Knicks, led by Langston Galloway and Robin Lopez, took charge in the period to get the 119-113 victory.

Melo played more than 49 minutes on a sore ankle, but had a respectable statline of 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. He struggled from the field (7-28), but had the pivotal three before the end of regulation. Arron Afflalo led the Knicks with 25 points. Kristaps Porzingis had a double double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, but left the game in the 4th quarter with a right foot injury.

The win brought the Knicks to a 19-11 record on MLK Day.

On This Date: Carmelo Anthony scores 37 points and Kevin Durant makes his debut in MSG

December 12, 2015: Carmelo Anthony scores 37 points to beat the Portland Trailblazers and snap a 4 game losing streak

Carmelo Anthony went on a hot streak and scored a season high 37 points in a 112-110 victory in Portland against the Trailblazers. Melo scored 37 on a very efficient 13-21 from the field and 9-9 from the free throw line. He also had 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocked shots.

Melo scored 20 points in the 1st half, but was scoreless until the final minute of the game where he scored 6 points off free throws to seal the victory. Fellow New Yorkers Lance Thomas & Kyle O’Quinn scored a combined 13 points in the 4th quarter off the bench to help the Knicks overcome a 10 point deficit to win the game.

Entering the quarter with a 10 point deficit, the Knicks went on a 12-2 run to start the quarter to take the lead fueled by the bench. The bench scored 46 points in the game and helped the Knicks outscore the Blazers 36-24 in the 4th quarter. The contribution offset a scoreless performance from our rookie unicorn Kristaps Porzingis.

The win snapped the Knicks’ 4 game losing streak.


December 12, 2007: Kevin Durant makes his MSG Debut as part of the Seattle Supersonics

Kevin Durant made his first visit1 to Madison Square Garden special by scoring 30 points in a 117-110 victory against the New York Knicks. Durant scored 30 points on 11-20 from the field and was simply too much of a force for the Knicks to handle.

Former Knick Kurt Thomas had 9 points and 8 rebounds. The Sonics acquired Kurt in a trade with the Phoenix Suns in the offseason.  Future MSG Postgame color analyst Wally Szczerbiak came off the Sonics bench to score 12 points. The Sonics acquired Wally and Jeff Green in the Ray Allen trade.

For the Knicks, Jamal Crawford & Zach Randolph scored a combined 56 points. David Lee & Nate Robinson scored a combined 28 points off the bench, but the Sonics bench proved to be too much for the Knicks as they combined for 53 points.

This was the last game the Seattle Supersonics played in Madison Square Garden. After the season, the Sonics officially relocated to Oklahoma City and are now the OKC Thunder. The last visible memory of the Sonics was Russell Westbrook & Serge Ibaka flashing the stock jerseys during the 2008 NBA Draft.

On This Date: Knicks beat the Nets and Robin Lopez outduels his brother

December 4, 2015: In a battle of the Lopez brothers, Robin beats Brook as the New York Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 108-91 in MSG.

In an ESPN-televised broadcast2, the Knicks went on a three point barrage to beat the Nets in a wire-to-wire victory. The Knicks scored 42 points in the 1st quarter to build a 21 point lead that proved insurmountable to the Nets. The win put the Knicks at a 10-10 record to start the season.

Carmelo Anthony led the team with 28 points and 5 three pointers made. Kristaps Porzingis had a double double with 19 points, 3-4 from the three point arc, and 10 rebounds. Robin Lopez (RoLo) only scored 7 points, but had 3 blocks to beat his brother Brook (BroLo).  This was the first matchup of the Lopez rivalry in New York.

Contrary to popular thought, the Lopez brothers did not live together in their one shared season in New York. The issue was not between brothers, but rather their respective cats.

Kirsten Fleming of the New York Post documented the catfight during the 2015-16 season.  Fleming spoke to RoLo to discuss the genesis of the rivalry:

“Brook’s cat is very two-faced,” Robin tells The Post. “Everybody loves Brook’s cat. To everybody’s face, he’s such a nice cat. And it may sound like I’m joking, but I am dead serious. He acts like a lazy, sweet cat when everybody is looking. But when their heads turn, he’ll try to chase after [my cat] Edward. The second I lay eyes on him, he’ll act like, ‘I’m a cherub. I’m innocent.’ I’m not buying it.”

Clearly the cats had the utmost priority in their sibling rivalry.

On This Date: Porzingis’ first Knicks moment that wasn’t

November 11th, 2015: Kristaps Porzingis almost hits a game winning three against the Charlotte Hornets, but was waved off by a split second.

Kristaps Porzingis first exciting moment as a Knick didn’t end up counting. He was just a small pinch of a second away from shocking the NBA with a thrilling game-winning shot. With 0.6 seconds left and the game on the line, the Knicks ran a SLOB (sidelines out of bounds) triangle set with Lance Thomas inbounding the ball. Carmelo Anthony flashed up to the top of the key and set a screen against both Marvin Williams & Cody Zeller. Porzingis set a nice juke and received a pass from Lance Thomas behind the line.

As Porzingis hit the three, most of the teammates, announcers, and fans (even myself) thought Porzingis got the ball out right before the buzzer hit.  After further review, it was determined that the shot was released just a split second after the buzzer and thus lost 95-93.

Porzingis ended the game with 10 points and 15 rebounds.  Carmelo Anthony led the team with 29 points.

One controversial point discussed after the game was whether the clock was set properly before the Porzingis three.  Some people discussed whether more time should have been added after Zeller hit the go-ahead layup.  Even adding 0.1 seconds on the clock would have allowed Porzingis to get the ball out of his hands before the buzzer.

The other less controversial question is whether Porzingis would have gotten a shot off faster if Lance Thomas provided the pass closer to his shoulders rather than his hips.  Lance’s pass forced Porzingis to waste a few tenths of a second with the shot release.

Regardless of the outcome, the game was exciting for Knicks fan and reminded the NBA of Porzingis’ unlimited potential.