Knicks coach Derek Fisher is generally a positive dude ... a quality he needed to survive last season's prolonged nightmare. Upon witnessing New York's fourth-quarter collapse in Chicago, however, Fish is apparently mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore!
First the coach lit into his players in his post-game comments, per the Daily News' Stefan Bondy:
"There should have been enough left in the tank. However, we didn't sustain the effort in the fourth quarter. Everybody has to be ready each minute of the game. There just wasn't an effort in the first and fourth quarters. I don't want to be a team that gives up when there is a little rain. No matter where you are in the season, you can't allow a game to get away from you like that in the fourth quarter. Chicago was ready to play right from the start. I don't think we were."
Tensions usually run high in the locker room after a tough loss; surely Fisher had calmed down by the time New York finished their Saturday afternoon practice.
But Fisher wanted to focus on the shoddy defense, and especially the 120 points per 100 possessions the Knicks allowed against the Bulls on Friday.
"That won't get it done," Fisher said. "I think it's more interesting to talk about offense and what guys are shooting and who didn't get what shot. We often overlook the dirty work that needs to be done on the defensive end in order to win. If we can get back to that, the offense can kind of come around."
"Guys showed a lot of toughness and character to get back into the game (on Friday), and then politely packed it up and threw it back out the window in the fourth quarter."
At least Fisher is using the right metrics to describe the Knicks' crappy defense, not only Friday night, but over their last six games: New York is indeed tied with Phoenix for dead last in points allowed per 100 possessions (111.9), but only 19th in points allowed per game (103.2) due to their slow pace. That first stat is the important one, and the Knicks suck at it.
This team had fared surprisingly well on defense this season until recently, so let's hope they can get back on track soon. Good defense > bad defense.