Mike Vorkunov: Leon Rose thanks coach Mike Miller for his “leadership & professionalism” in his letter to NYK fans. Miller has been asked to coach the team & become its public spokesperson in media vacuum Knicks created. He’ll be the one answering questions tonite about Knicks hiring Rose too.
Mike Vorkunov: Leon Rose thanks coach Mike Miller for his "leadership & professionalism" in his letter to NYK fans. Miller has been asked to coach the team & become its public spokesperson in media vacuum Knicks created. He'll be the one answering questions tonite about Knicks hiring Rose too.
We reported Tuesday that Jay Wright would need to be overwhelmed by an offer to entertain the idea of leaving Villanova for the Knicks or any other NBA team. A separate NCAA source backed that assertion on Wednesday, saying that, at this point, the chance of Wright ending up as New York's next head coach was 'very remote.'
We know that Leon Rose has connections to Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy. Both are expected to get consideration from New York. But Rose - and his longtime business partner William 'World Wide Wes' Wesley - certainly have relationships with dozens of coaches around the NBA and NCAA. Included among that group is former Knick Mark Jackson and ex-Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
During an interview with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts on WFAN Sports Radio in New York, David Falk talked up the Knicks and Calipari. "I'm waiting for — I'll take bets on how long it's going to take before they hire John Calipari to be the next coach," Falk said. "I'd say 30 seconds. And I hope it works. I'm rooting for him to make it work."
"I really hope the Knicks get a lot better," Falk said. "If my boy 'World Wide Wes' — who I've known forever — is a part of the package, he's one of the great personalities I've ever met. Really well-connected guy. Really interesting person. I really hope it works. And I will take bets — despite the denials — I will take bets on Calipari being the (Knicks) coach next year."
Even Knicks wing Kevin Knox, who played for Calipari at Kentucky during the 2017-2018 season, doesn’t think Calipari would leave Kentucky for New York or the NBA. “When Cal says he’s not going to do something, he’s pretty solid he’s not going to do it,” Knox told reporters when asked. “I think he’s came out with multiple reports saying he didn’t want to do it. Cal loves Kentucky. He runs that state, the fans love him there. He’s got the basketball program on lock there, so I don’t think he will leave that opportunity to keep helping kids get to the NBA.”
The Knicks held a players-only meeting to rally support for their coach. But there was one problem: Fizdale was fired just hours later. Sources confirmed that Marcus Morris, who has been Fizdale’s top supporter in the locker room, led the session prior to Friday’s practice. It came on the heels of the Knicks getting blown out by the Nuggets on Thursday at the Garden.
Morris, according to a source, preached accountability and playing unselfishly, pointing the finger at himself as well as teammates, specifically Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. The message was well received by the players, a source said. Fizdale then conducted practice at the Tarrytown facility and was promptly fired afterwards.
San Antonio Spurs assistant head coach Becky Hammon is also an interesting name, and according to a league source, the former New York Liberty guard would have interest in coaching the Knicks if she could land a long-term deal, with the belief a four- or five-year deal would be sufficient.
Chris Iseman: Statement from the Knicks: "Today, head coach David Fizdale and assistant coach Keith Smart were relieved of their coaching duties. Assistant coach Mike Miller has been named interim head coach.”
Shams Charania: The Knicks are naming assistant Mike Miller as the interim head coach, per league sources.
Metta World Peace: If the @nyknicks is available, I definitely want to head coach there. I will absolutely bring that street mentality to the garden. Red brick , hard nose , let’s get it popping. QB . This would be epic for all people like me. Straight from the jungles to win a title in NYC. Blaat
Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks fired coach David Fizdale, league source tells ESPN.
David Aldridge: League source confirms Knicks have fired coach David Fizdale (@Adrian Wojnarowski first). Decision came after long discussions Thursday night between team and coach following New York’s latest embarrassing loss, at home to Denver.
Mike Vorkunov: David Fizdale coached the Knicks in practice today. A few hours later he was fired. He was asked post-practice if he was worried this would fall on him. “I don’t think about that stuff," he said at about 2:15 pm. "I don’t think about it at all."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks assistants Mike Miller and Pat Sullivan are candidates to become interim head coach, league sources tell @Ramona Shelburne and me.
Beasley, who also got into a verbal spat on the sideline with Walton during the Lakers' 138-128 overtime victory in Oklahoma City just more than two weeks ago, repeatedly referred to Walton as "bro" during the exchange Saturday, which touched a nerve with the coach, a source told ESPN.
KC Johnson: Exec VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman both attended today’s 2nd meeting. This is significant because, along with Paxson’s previously publicly stated goal for Boylen to return next season, it underscores the organizational mandate Boylen feels he has to push players.
Bryan Kalbrosky: David Blatt told Joe Arlauckas (@jarlauckas8) he interviewed for four head coaching vacancies this summer. Reports indicate that this includes the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. I'm certainly curious the fourth gig but he says he's happy where he is now.
Adam Zagoria: David Fizdale on a timetable for the #Knicks being a playoff team: "Our timetable is we're going to embrace the journey every single day to get better." Declines a specific timeframe. @theknicksblog @SNYtv
Mike Vorkunov: David Fizdale: "I used to tell my mom I was going to play in the mecca -- I would play in the Garden one day -- when I was a little kid. Ma, I didn’t get to do that." His mom, sitting front row: "That’s alright." Fizdale: "I’m gonna coach though."
Ian Begley: Knicks have hired David Fizdale as head coach. Owner James Dolan: “David is a bright and creative basketball mind who is highly respected throughout the NBA. I’m confident that Steve and Scott identified the right coach to lead this team to the success our loyal fans deserve.”
Ian Begley: Knicks president Steve Mills said David Fizdale was seen as a strong fit after the club’s 11-man coaching search. “He is an experienced coach, strong leader and effective communicator, who understands what it takes to build a winning culture.”
Ian Begley: Knicks GM Scott Perry called David Fizdale a ‘dynamic’ coach who will thrive in NY. “His championship pedigree, resiliency and expertise in player development make David well-suited to establish the Knicks as a consistent winning basketball team.”
Ian Begley: David Fizdale said he’s ‘honored’ & ‘humbled’ for the opportunity to coach the Knicks. “I appreciate the enormous responsibility it is to coach the Knicks and am ready to give my all to build the type of winning team the passionate fans of New York will be proud of.”
Regarding Juwan Howard, it's highly unlikely that he'll be joining David Fizdale's staff in New York, per sources. Potential candidates for staff additions include Keith Smart, who worked with Fizdale in Miami and Memphis and is likely to join as an assistant.
Ex-Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who hired Fizdale when Woodson was a head coach in Atlanta, is also a candidate to join Fizdale's staff. Howard, a current Miami assistant, interviewed for the Knicks job. Fizdale may want him on his staff but Miami would have to give the Knicks permission to allow him to leave, which is highly unlikely. The New York Post earlier reported that Smart was likely to be added to Fizdale's staff. Another name to keep an eye on as an addition to the staff in some capacity? Memphis scout Adam Johansen, who worked with Fizdale in Miami and Memphis.
Why did a team that overachieved in Fizdale's first season suddenly pull the plug just 19 games into his second? The short answer is that he and Marc Gasol didn't get along. The complex reason, as league sources laid out, is that the partnership was doomed from the start. Carrying a mantra Fizdale liked to repeat — "the Miami Heat way" – he tried to completely overhaul a system and core that'd been successful for seven seasons and peaked with an appearance in the Western Conference finals.
"He wanted his own locker room," a Grizzlies source told the Daily News. "And he basically convinced management to get rid of Zach (Randolph), to get rid of Tony Allen." Trying to morph the Grizzlies was always going to strain a relationship with Gasol, and the toxicity reached a pivotal moment when, according to a source, Fizdale confronted the team about its lack of desire following a defeat. The coach went around the locker room asking each player if he believed he could win a championship. If they lacked belief, they didn't belong on the Grizzlies.
The younger players went along. Gasol, however, answered, "No." Then when asked for an explanation, Gasol replied, "We don't have the right leader." Fizdale had a solid comeback, but it couldn't have helped his future with Gasol. "I get it, you want Gregg Popovich, and I want LeBron James," the coach told his star player, according to a source.
The frosty relationship carried on for almost a year before Fizdale was fired in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. By that time, according to sources, Fizdale had alienated Gasol by disregarding the Spaniard's accomplishments — both in the NBA and overseas — and casting away Randolph and Allen. In pushing away Randolph, Fizdale even told the media that the two-time All-Star was no longer an NBA starter and moved him to the bench to audition for his next job. Privately, that didn't play well.
Smart and Fizdale were both assistant coaches in Miami and Fizdale brought Smart with him when he took the head coaching job in Memphis.
Lee spent parts of three seasons in Memphis and remains close with some players there. He knows of the fallout that Fizdale had with center Marc Gasol that ultimately cost him his job this past season. But Lee also has heard nothing but good things about the Knicks’ new coach. Lee also believes holding your best player accountable shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. “I just know that he’s a great players’ coach,” Lee said during a phone interview Friday. “He’ a guy that’s going to fight for what he believes in and fight for his team. He got that culture instilled in him in Miami. He was with [Erik] Spoelstra and with Pat Riley for a while. You saw the success they had in developing players and pushing for them playoff runs.
The hire was met with almost universal approval from Knicks players. They flooded Twitter and Instagram with welcoming messages after general manager Scott Perry texted them with the news. “I like him a lot,” Enes Kanter told The Athletic. “I think it’s amazing. Defensive-minded coach. I think it’s going to be good for the Knicks.”
Troy Williams, the Knicks swingman, played for him in Memphis and gushed over his hire. He remembers a coach who made him feel at ease with the team. Williams holds Fizdale in high esteem for his motivational tricks. He pointed to the Fizdale’s fluency in playing mind games, noting the coach riled him up last season during a game against Golden State. Fizdale accused Williams of playing scared and not hard enough, finding the right buttons to push, Williams said, to tweak him into a state of utilitarian anger on the court. “He’s a laid-back person himself but he brings out the best in a person,” Williams told The Athletic. “He puts people in the best positions.”
David Fizdale has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of the New York Knicks, league sources told ESPN. Fizdale met with Knicks owner James Dolan on Thursday in New York, who then gave his approval to president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to enter into contract negotiations with Fizdale, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Fizdale will sign a four-year contract with the Knicks, league source tells ESPN.
Michael Scotto: David Fizdale passed on a 4-year offer from the Phoenix Suns before eventually accepting a 4-year offer from the New York Knicks to become head coach, league sources told The Athletic.
Al Iannazzone: David Fizdale and the Knicks have an agreement in principle on a deal. An announcement and introductory press conference isn't expected until next week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: David Fizdale has agreed to a deal to become the New York Knicks coach, league sources tell ESPN.
Vincent Goodwill: Although David Fizdale is the front-runner for the Knicks job, David Blatt and Mark Jackson are still firmly in the running, according to sources
Mike Woodson still is gunning for a second stint as the Knicks’ head coach, but acknowledged he would listen if David Fizdale were to offer him an associate coaching job. That is, if Fizdale winds up beating him and nine other candidates for the Knicks’ job. When contacted by The Post, Woodson said: “I love David. I gave him his first job on the bench — I know he worked one season before in Golden State. We’re very close. I’m sure he would call.’’
Fizdale may have his pick of the litter. According to a source, Fizdale was set to conduct his final interview with the Magic on Wednesday or Thursday. Fizdale already has interviewed with the Knicks, Suns, Hornets and Hawks. The Suns made the first hire Wednesday, choosing Utah assistant Igor Kokoskov. An NBA source said the Knicks are “zeroing in’’ on a choice. [...] “There’s an army of fans in the league that just rave about [Fizdale],’’ an NBA executive said.
Woodson also noted while with the Knicks he used a lot of two point-guard fronts — which is in vogue — with Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. “I had one of the great isolation players in the game in [Carmelo Anthony], so I’m going to try to get my best player some shots,’’ Woodson said of his isolationist rep. “But do the homework and look at the numbers on 3-pointers attempted and made.” Woodson said he had “a great meeting’’ with Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. “Everyone’s just waiting,’’ Woodson said.
The Knicks interviewed a wide array of candidates for their vacant head-coaching position, and have considered other candidates that include former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, league sources said. No agreement between Fizdale and the Knicks has been finalized, league sources said.
Fizdale emerged as a leading candidate after the Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek once the end of the season, but the front office made sure to do its due diligence in meeting with more than 10 coaching candidates. The Knicks’ front office met with accomplished head coaches – such Budenhozler, the 2014-15 Coach of the Year, Jackson, Mike Brown – as well as strong assistant candidates in San Antonio’s James Borrego, Boston’s Jay Larranaga and Miami’s Juwan Howard.
Fizdale would bring the Knicks one of the most desirable coaches on the market. The Phoenix Suns also expressed significant interest in Fizdale for their coaching vacancy, league sources said.
Blatt is definitely in the running because of his relationship with Mills, his former teammate at Princeton. "Steve has tried to hire Blatt twice," says one Knicks source. "He really likes him as a coach. The question is will Steve hire him now? If it's Blatt, that's Steve's choice. I don't know if he'd want to put himself out there."
From all indications, Blatt, David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse are the leading candidates. Mark Jackson, the fan favorite, appears to be among that next wave of candidates. That also appears to be the case with Mike Budenholzer, who would be a great choice.
After talking with Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown, the New York Knicks have completed interviews for the franchise's head-coaching job, and team officials are huddling to reach a consensus on the hiring of a candidate, league sources told ESPN. The Knicks hope to hire a new coach this week, sources said.
Former Memphis coach David Fizdale, former Cleveland coach David Blatt and former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer are among the candidates whom president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have met with in recent weeks. Former Golden State coach Mark Jackson, Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, San Antonio assistant James Borrego, Toronto G League coach Jerry Stackhouse, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Clippers assistant Mike Woodson and television analyst Kenny Smith are among the candidates the Knicks interviewed to replace Jeff Hornacek, who was fired after two seasons as coach in April.
One person familiar with the situation said Budenholzer, who interviewed with the Knicks last week, recently talked of preparing a presentation for the Bucks and Knicks. In addition, Budenholzer considered the Knicks his top choice only before the Hawks fired him on Friday, allowing him to collect all of the $14 million left on his deal.
According to an NBA source, Knicks president Steve Mills and Perry are not ruling out interviewing an 11th candidate, though no one is on the docket. That could mean Rivers — or Portland’s Terry Stotts — still is on their radar. Stotts is reportedly on shaky ground after getting swept in the first round by the Pelicans.
Despite reports about the Knicks having already interviewed him in Istanbul, coach Blatt clarified that this has not happened yet. As he said to Anadolu Agency: “I haven’t met with NBA teams so far. I will meet some of the NBA teams in the near future, there are the New York Knicks rumors, but there may be other teams as well. I have nothing but Darussafaka in my heart in the rest of the season.”
Ian Begley: The Knicks’ interview with Juwan Howard is expected to take place today, per sources. twitter.com/zachlowe_nba/s…
Zach Lowe: Another name on the Knicks head-coaching interview list, per league sources: Heat assistant Juwan Howard. They may meet as soon as this weekend.
Marc Stein: The Knicks have ramped up their background work this week on both former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and former Cavs coach David Blatt, according to league sources. They've interviewed both within the last five days
“I think the 18 years I’ve been on TNT has prepared me for a lot of opportunities, coaching being one of them,” Smith said this week on SiriusXM radio. “The preparation, the reservoir of information, relationships – from players to everything, players to coaches to assistant coaches. From being in college basketball doing the Final Four, AAU teams – every element has prepared me for more direction… “As long as it’s basketball it’s always going to be me. Coaching is on the aspiration list. I did meet with the Knicks and that was a lot of fun. They’re still vetting their process. I’m just sitting back. I know that in terms of basketball I’m ready because of the 18 years that went on.”
Kenny Smith says he's in the "courting stages" for the NY Knicks head coaching job -- and says he believes he's battling 7 other candidates. Smith met with the Knicks last week and tells TMZ Sports it "went well" -- but he knows he's not the only fish in the sea. "We're in the courting stages. I know they're courting other people as well."
An NBA source said Budenholzer regards the Knicks as closer to winning, though the uncertainty of Kristaps Porzingis’ return casts a pall over the franchise.
Marc Berman: Source says Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry met with David Blatt today in Europe. Second time he's interviewed with Knicks.
Chris Forsberg: Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga interviewed for the Knicks coaching vacancy last week in Milwaukee. Larranaga: "They’re in the middle of their process. We’re in the middle of our process. I appreciated them coming out here. Obviously all my focus is on the Milwaukee Bucks."
Jay King: Brad Stevens on Jay Larranaga, who interviewed for Knicks job: "He’s super smart. He works exceptionally hard. He always is looking proactively at projects. He’s great with individuals and helping individuals get better. His player development stuff is off the charts."
No compensation will be needed to hire Budenholzer — once thought of as a potential stumbling block to any potential deal. The Post previously reported an NBA source saying Budenholzer considers the Knicks his “top choice.” “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes,’’ the source told The Post. “He wants to live in New York.’’
Sources have indicated the Knicks have strong feelings for the defensive-minded Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. The Knicks are well aware of the good work he did helping Tim Hardaway Jr.’s career when he played in Atlanta. The drawback is they have no prior connection to him, but the plus is he’s part of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree.
The Hawks gave Budenholzer permission to speak with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks for their coaching openings last week. Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks on Sunday and remains a candidate for the job, league sources said. He pulled out of contention for the Suns job after several conversations with ownership and management.
The Knicks’ list of candidates for their coaching vacancy continues to grow. They’ve interviewed Celtics’ lead assistant coach Jay Larranaga, according to a league source. They received permission to speak to Larranaga and met with him last week, the source said. [...] Larranaga is the ninth known person the Knicks have interviewed or will interview.
Larranaga, 43, is a rising young coach, who has been with the Celtics for six seasons, the last four as Brad Stevens’ top assistant. Larranaga was considered for the Celtics’ job before they hired Stevens, one of the best coaches in the league. He has interviewed for head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Memphis previously. The Celtics have reached the postseason for four straight seasons, and had the NBA’s top-rated defense. One of Larranaga’s strengths is a Knicks’ focus now: player development. He spent two seasons coaching the Erie BayHawks, which was the Knicks’ Developmental League affiliate before they purchased their own team in 2014.
While the organization and president Steve Mills have been through this before, each process of finding a coach is unique. No search is the same, with different executives seeking different things and looking for different traits. Grunwald’s experiences, more than a decade apart, are indicative of how even the same GM can take different approaches. “It’s the hardest thing we do,” one former GM said. “There’s nothing even remotely close to finding the right coach.”
Rod Thorn, the former Nets and 76ers executive, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer, says that general managers always keep a list in their heads. “In reality, you’re constantly observing coaches,” he said. “You see coaches who you say they’re doing a terrific job and you try to ascertain why.”
Interviews can last for hours, or sometimes even bleed into a second day, with the former league executive saying his lasted four hours on average, and another saying they sometimes had split sessions with the GM talking to a coach one day and other members of the front office engaging the coach the next day without the executive present. “Some coaches are great interviewers and not-so-great coaches,” Grunwald said. “I’m not going to say who, but I fell victim to that.”
The biggest key to any future success, executives unanimously say, is alignment throughout the organization. Trying to project that from such a short amount of time and little interaction is extremely difficult. “Sometimes you get tricked,” Thorn said. Says one former head of basketball ops, summing up a common belief: “In general they tell you what you want to hear.”
Executives will hear out how a coach wants to build out his staff, trying to glean clues from hires he’d make. If an ex-player is only interested in hiring friends and ex-players, one former exec says, that’s a red flag. So is if, say, an offensive coach doesn’t want to add a defensive-minded assistant on staff. The organizations a prospective coach has worked for can be instructive because it shows who they’ve worked for and what philosophies they’ve been exposed to and prefer.
The Knicks are searching far and wide for their next coach. Team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have done interviews on the East Coast and the West Coast and will meet with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt this week in Europe. While they’re overseas, they’re expected to scout some European players, including Slovenian guard Luka Doncic, who is projected to be a high lottery pick.
Brown, Woodson and Knicks general manager Scott Perry were together in Detroit in the early 2000s during glorious times for the Pistons. Perry was Detroit’s top college scout. Woodson was Brown’s assistant with the Pistons and also in Philadelphia. “I’ve read a whole lot of qualified candidates, but I can’t imagine anyone being more qualified than Mike,’’ Brown told The Post in a phone interview. “Mike’s family to me, we speak almost daily. I have a lot of admiration for him. He’s close to Bobby Knight. I think the world of him. When he was in New York, I thought he did a really good job. The year they struggled, they lost Jason [Kidd], Rasheed [Wallace] and Kurt Thomas. Those were three older, responsible leaders and great teammates. Mike loved New York. He had a great relationship with [owner] Mr. [James] Dolan.
Ian Begley: Ex-Knick and native New Yorker Rod Strickland talks NYK coaching search & expresses interest in joining the club as an assistant in this interview with Anthony. Worth noting: Strickland has worked with top college programs.
The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete. A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.
Ian Begley: Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer will meet with the New York Knicks on Sunday, per league sources.
The New York Knicks plan to interview former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt in Europe next week, league sources told ESPN.
Knicks GM Scott Perry is planning to pair the European trip with a scouting side-trip, sources said. The Perry-Blatt meeting will be telltale to Blatt's candidacy. Blatt has a strong history and relationship with Knicks president Steve Mills, and Mills has been an advocate for Blatt to become Knicks head coach when he worked with Phil Jackson and now Perry.
After the trip overseas, the Knicks are expected to meet with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego in New York, league sources said. The Spurs granted permission to New York to interview Borrego, sources said. Among the Knicks' head-coaching interviews already completed, David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse made strong cases for themselves, league sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Knicks are meeting with David Blatt in Europe next week on head coaching job, and plan also to interview Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, league sources tell me and @Ian Begley.
April 21, 2021 | 3:08 am EDT Update
Ohm Youngmisuk: DeMarcus Cousins has no time for PG hate: “We gotta stop the PG slander. It just won’t be accepted around me. He’s one of the most gifted players in this league and every chance I get, I’m gonna give him his flowers.”
StatMuse: The Clippers are 17-5 since the All-Star break. 1st in win percentage 1st in offensive rating 1st in 3P% 2nd in net rating 4th in FG% 5th in defensive rating The hottest team in the NBA right now.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Paul George on DeMarcus Cousins: “We’re getting flashes of vintage Boogie… what will be most impressive about his game is that he automatically draws double teams. He’s instant offense for us, dump the ball down there for him and he’s a playmaker.”
Eric Nehm: A league source has confirmed @Jim Owczarski’s earlier reporting to The Athletic. Mamadi Diakite has grabbed the Bucks’ 15th roster spot on a multi-year deal and the Bucks signed Justin Jackson to fill his two-way spot. Their roster is full at 17 players (15 + 2 two-way deals).
Kyrie Irving capped a 32-point performance with a tough turnaround jumper, a driving layup through converging defenders and four free throws in the final minute, and the Brooklyn Nets held on for a 134-129 victory over the reeling New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. “Obviously, when Kyrie does his thing and hits tough shots like that, it truly saves us,” said Nets forward Blake Griffin, who had 16 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role. “But I thought overall we did a better job of just trying to like, do it by committee, moving off the ball and not settling.”
Williamson, who was debuting his own Jordan brand basketball shoe, scored 33 points, mostly on strong moves in the paint that produced dunks and contested layups. Brandon Ingram added 27 points for the Pelicans, who fell four games behind Golden State and San Antonio for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference with 14 games left in the regular season. “I’m not going to lie,” Williamson said. “It does get kind of annoying to sit up here every other game saying we’re right there and we’re not closing out. So, I think we’ve got to focus on some of those small things. I say it over and over, but until we do it, some of those outcomes aren’t going to change.”
Scott Kushner: Zion says the players “take the blame” on this one. Said SVG told them they were a bit lifeless at times on the bench. Says it’s “annoying” to keep revisiting explanations about how close they are.