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David Fizdale: Knicks didn’t believe they could beat Bucks

Knicks Bucks Basketball

New York Knicks Head coach David Fizdale argues a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)


The Knicks fell behind 7-0, 21-8 and 51-24 in a 132-88 loss to the Bucks last night.

New York coach David Fizdale, via Steve Popper of Newsday:

“Whatever word you want to use for it, lack of tenacity, intensity, focus, competitiveness,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said after the carnage was over. “I don’t feel like we came into this game believing we could win this game and that was what was most disappointing. I felt like going into every other game we felt like we could come out, compete, and beat anybody. Tonight, we didn’t come out with the idea that we could beat this team.

“I don’t know why. But it was definitely there. We didn’t come out with the right mindset for whatever reason, whatever my motivational talk was didn’t take hold I guess. We’ll bounce back. We’ll get into the film. We’ll own it. we’ll watch it and we’ll get ready for another very good basketball team.”

I have some ideas why.

The Bucks won 11 straight entering yesterday. The Knicks lost six straight entering yesterday. Milwaukee has a player in Giannis Antetokounmpo who can do this. New York has… a bunch of power forwards.

That said, any NBA team can beat another on a given night. Motivating his players is part of Fizdale’s job.

It’s not an easy task. The Knicks’ roster is severely lacking. But Fizdale is failing at his – again, difficult – job. Admitting it so directly sounds like the last words of someone heading toward getting fired.

Also: Though I don’t believe the Knicks are tanking yet – they signed too many expensive veterans, talked too much about competing and are too early into the season – this is why it’s oversimplifying to say players don’t tank. When the front office builds a team barely capable of winning (intentionally or not), players get worn down. They have a difficult time staying sharp for each game, which begets even more losing. So, though players “want” to win, they also often succumb to the morass of losing – which only further improves the team’s draft position.