One game after firing head coach David Fizdale, the New York Knicks will travel to Portland to meet Carmelo Anthony and the Trailblazers.
The Knicks misery may continue, as the have the Knicks as an underdog. It is a pattern that continues for some time now and most of the bookmakers did not raise their expectations for The Knicks. Now, after the recent changes the team went through, it’s even more difficult to be on their side statistically and professionally.
Fizdale was let go after a disastrous 4-18 start, which included a pair of losses by a combined 81 points in his final two games against Milwaukee and Denver. Assistant coach Keith Smart was also fired, and the Knicks installed former Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller in the interim head coach’s role.
Though Fizdale was officially fired on Friday, he was long on his way out prior to that. After a 21-point loss to Eastern Conference cellar-mate Cleveland on Nov. 10, team president Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry held an unannounced post-game press conference where they stated the Knicks were falling short of expectations.
Things only got worse after that press conference, with the Knicks losing 10 of their next 12 prior to Fizdale’s firing. That left Fizdale with a coaching record of 21-83, a .202 winning percentage, which is lowest in team history.
This was Fizdale’s second head coaching job in the NBA. Fizdale was a top assistant coaching prospect with the Miami Heat before he took the head coaching position with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2016-17 season, leading them to a 43-39 record and a playoff birth. But he was fired 19 games into his second season after the team struggled to a 7-12 start.
In their first game with Miller as the head coach, the Knicks showed far more life, playing the Indiana Pacers tight in a 104-103 loss.
Their second game will be even more of a challenge, facing a revived Blazers team that has a familiar player on their roster, former Knick Carmelo Anthony.
The former All-Star has had a difficult journey since departing the Knicks, with unsuccessful stops in Houston and Oklahoma City before finding his way to Portland. His $2 million contract was fully guaranteed last week after a promising start to his Portland stint. He is averaging 16.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in nine games and was named Western Conference Player of the Week at the end of November.