In the wake of a devastating loss to the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks held a meeting between the players, coaches, and front office executives.
The New York Knicks looked the part of a pretender during a 119-112 loss to the Washington Wizards. The stars and starters played with no energy as New York fell behind by as many as 27 points on the road.
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After Brandon Jennings publicly blasted the Knicks for playing without heart, New York responded with a 104-94 victory over the red-hot Atlanta Hawks.
Though Jennings’ comments undoubtedly helped, it appears as though there was another factor in New York’s revival. The players, coaches, and Phil Jackson met for a constructive discussion on how to turn things around.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Anthony feels good about the tone of the conversation and the potential implications of it.
“I thought the players did a great job of just kind of voicing their opinion on kind of where we want to be, what type of team we want to be, where we want to go and things that we want to see change,” Anthony said after leading the Knicks with 31 points.
“The conversation was a long conversation. I don’t want to go into details about what we spoke about, but my guys responded very well to what was said in that meeting. As you can see, it was a different focus, it was a different mindset, it was a different energy that we approached the game with.”
Asked if team president Phil Jackson intervened in any way, Anthony happily stated that The Zen Master remained silent and gave the players the floor.
“Nah, he actually just listened this time,” Anthony said, “which is good.”
The lines of communication seem to be open, which can only help the Knicks develop team chemistry.
New York’s victory over the Hawks gives it three wins over the course of its past four games. It won 93-77 over the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki, however, and won 105-102 over the Detroit Pistons without Reggie Jackson and with a hobbled Andre Drummond.
Even the road win against the Chicago Bulls was influenced by an unorthodox factor: Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah’s emotion returns to the United Center.
By defeating Atlanta, the Knicks finally got a signature victory that can be pointed to as a swing of momentum. The Hawks were 9-3 entering this clash and had won six of their past seven games, including a road win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Knicks improved to 6-7 on the season by defeating a team that was playing postseason-caliber basketball.
Not only did New York defeat Atlanta, but it held the Hawks below 94 points. The Knicks entered that game at No. 30 in points allowed per 100 possessions and had previously held just two teams below 100 points: Dallas without Nowitzki and the 4-9 Brooklyn Nets.
Perhaps this will be the performance that influences a rise in effort on the defensive end of the floor.