Knicks fire David Fizdale amid 8-game skid

Posted: Updated:

By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer


NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Knicks have made another coaching change, firing David Fizdale after barely 100 games on the job.

The Knicks cut ties with Fizdale on Friday after two straight blowout losses dropped them to 4-18 and promoted assistant Mike Miller to interim head coach.

Fizdale ran practice earlier in the day but was then fired along with assistant Keith Smart. The Knicks made no comment on the decision to release Fizdale after he went 21-83.

The Knicks have lost eight straight games, with the last two by scores of 132-88 to Milwaukee on Monday night and 129-92 to Denver on Thursday night. They have the worst record in the Eastern Conference after finishing with the worst record in the NBA last season in Fizdale's first season.

The Knicks went 17-65 last season to match the worst record in franchise history and they are on pace to be even worse this season. New York missed out on the top stars that were available in free agency and the players they did get haven't meshed nearly well enough.

Still, team executives expected better results, saying so with an unusual press conference to express their disappointment after a loss to Cleveland on Nov. 10 dropped them to 2-8.

Team President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry said then they remained confident in Fizdale. But things didn't get better from there, especially once the schedule turned tougher this month.

And it led to the second straight quick exit for Fizdale as a head coach. The former Miami assistant led Memphis to the playoffs in his first season, but was fired after the Grizzlies got off to a 7-12 start in 2017-18 and he clashed with center Marc Gasol.

New York will turn to its 13th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in the 2001-02 season. The Knicks have been one of the worst franchises in sports since, with just a single playoff series victory and a current stretch of six straight losing seasons.

They believed a turnaround could come this summer, when they had enough money to sign two superstars after trading All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas last summer.

But Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving agreed to join Brooklyn in the opening hours of free agency and the Knicks had to move on to players that included Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Marcus Morris - who largely play the same position.

The Knicks host Indiana on Saturday, then begin a four-game trip Tuesday in Portland.

Fizdale replaced Jeff Hornacek after Hornacek had also lasted only two seasons. Perry and Mills interviewed 11 candidates before choosing Fizdale, who also was a candidate for other jobs.

But the Knicks struggled early last season while Porzingis was recovering from a torn ACL,then appeared to be more interested in angling for lottery position than trying to win games after dealing him before he returned. New York ended up with the third pick and RJ Barrett, who has been one of the few bright spots thus far.

But injuries and inconsistency have left Fizdale without an obvious answer as the starting point guard and the Knicks have managed a league-low 100.5 points per game - three worse than any other team.

Miller joined the Knicks staff this season after four years in charge of the Westchester Knicks. He led the NBA G League franchise to a 108-92 (.540) record and was the league's coach of the year in 2017-18.

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