It’s part of the job description, maybe, written into the contract. There comes a time in the life of every frustrated-as-hell coach when he must babble positive nonsense in the face of continued adversity. Pollyanna in a suit and tie.
For Derek Fisher, that moment arrived Friday night after his Knicks blew a five-point lead in the fourth quarter and then saw Trey Burke’s fadeaway corner jumper clear J.R. Smith’s arms to beat the buzzer for a 102-100 Jazz victory.
“Excitement, belief in who we are and who we’re made of,” Fisher said, of his team’s effort. “That was New York City out there. They went out and fought as hard as they’ve fought all season. We still have some things to clean up. But you question their commitment, go out and watch that game. That’s all our fans want to see, what management wants to see.”
Well, not quite. What everyone saw at the Garden, again, was a one-man offense in Carmelo Anthony, who scored 46 points, and a defense that kept losing Jazz players down the stretch on simple picks and rolls. What the crowd also saw was a seventh straight loss, and a demoralizing 2-8 record.
The Knicks gave up 31 points in the first quarter, dug themselves yet another hole in the middle of a crater of an early season. Then they lost at home against another struggling team on a long road trip. You begin to wonder whether this whole season is trickling down the drain in November.