Fisher surprised at struggle to motivate players

Derek Fisher has faced more than enough surprises in his rookie season as the Knicks’ head coach, but perhaps the most surprising to him: how difficult it has been to motivate his players (Post, Jan. 24).

“Probably what jumps out the most is you still have to work pretty hard to motivate and inspire guys at this level,’’ Fisher said in the middle of the team’s first three-game win stream of the season. “Something a guy who came into the league in 1996, that wasn’t required. If you weren’t self-driven and self motivated, you couldn’t get on the floor.”

But Fisher knows it isn’t just up to the players to get themselves fired up, his heart has to be in it to.

“As coach, you still have to find ways to push buttons and get guys excited about playing the game.” said Fisher. “As a player for 18 years, my brain worked that way. It’s one area that continues to evolve — find ways to help my guys be more inspired and more motivated.’’

Melo impressed by Okafor as Duke star helps Coach K get win No. 1,000

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

Jahlil Okafor played his first-ever game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but Knicks President Phil

NCAA Basketball: Duke at St. JohnJackson and star Carmelo Anthony probably hope it wasn’t his last.

The 6-foot-11 Duke star and projected No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft went for 17 points and 10 rebounds as the No. 5 Blue Devils stormed back from a 10-point deficit in the second half to beat St. John’s, 77-68, before a sellout crowd of 19,812.

“I like him,” Anthony told and several other reporters after Duke closed the game on a 26-7 run after trailing 61-51. “He’s got a great feel for the game and a great touch. He’s a big body for sure down there, he’s a load.”

Okafor said he wasn’t aware during the game that Jackson, Knicks GM Steve Mills and Anthony were in the arena along with many other NBA personnel and 209 media members. To read more of this story, click here

Game Recap: Hornets 76 — Knicks 71

Result: With Carmelo Anthony sitting out the second day of back-to-back road games, the shorthanded Hornets ended the Knicks’ three-game winning streak.

Need to Know: The Hornets outlasted the Knicks on an ugly night for both offenses. Neither team shot more than 36 percent.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 25 points. He missed a potential game-tying three with 15 seconds left. Cole Aldrich got the offensive rebound (he had 13 overall), but then threw the ball away.

The Hornets outscored the Knicks 24-9 at the free-throw line. At one point the Knicks were 5-for-14 at the line before making their final four attempts.

Brian Roberts, playing in place of Kemba Walker (knee), led Charlotte with 17 points. The Hornets have won nine of 11.

Neither team topped the 37-point third-quarter performance Friday by Golden State’s Klay Thompson in the first half as the Knicks took a 37-36 lead to the locker room.

Amar’e Stoudemire sprained his ankle in the first half, but returned late in the half. He finished with one point on 0-for-5 shooting and four rebounds in 12 minutes.

Anthony had averaged 25.3 points in the previous four games after missing six with a sore left knee.

Walker had averaged 21.9 points in his past seven meetings with the Knicks and scored 28 last month, including the game-winning layup. He was 3-for-14 in Friday’s 129-90 loss at Cleveland.

Two Hornets sustained injuries: Marvin Williams was evaluated for a concussion; Bismack Biyombo had a right knee contusion.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next:

Tonight’s Game: Knicks at Hornets

The Knicks are in Charlotte on Saturday to take on the Hornets.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on MSG and ESPN New York.

Lou Amundson, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Smith, Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway are expected to start.

Recent Meetings

January 10, 2015 – The Knicks kept it close after 12 minutes of play but the Hornets pulled away in a one-sided second quarter that saw Charlotte outscore New York 41-13 en route to a dominating 110-82 victory at Madison Square Garden. New York has now lost 15-straight games. The Knicks were paced by Quincy Acy’s team high 18 points over 22 minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 points. Kemba Walker posted 28 points and seven rebounds over 28 minutes. PJ Hairston recorded 15 points over 23 minutes.

December 5, 2014 – New York stormed back from 21-points down to take a 102-101 with :40.7 seconds left to play in the final quarter only to see Kemba Walker win the game with a driving layup with :00.6 seconds left to play that propelled the Charlotte Hornets past the New York Knicks 103-102 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 32 points on 11-22 shooting over 42 minutes. J.R. Smith (14 points) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (13 points) combined for 27 points off the bench. Gerald Henderson posted 22 points over 31 minutes. Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson both added 16 points.

Knicks injury report

Knicks injury report for tonight’s game against Charlotte:

Out: Andrea Bargnani (strained right calf) and Jose Calderon (contused left knee)

Questionable: Carmelo Anthony (recovery)

Amar’e Stoudemire is available



Hamilton: Galloway and Thomas save the day for Knicks as decision day looms

Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst

Langston Galloway waltzed into the Knicks locker room after he and Lance Thomas—both on ten-day contracts—pushed the Knicks to their first three-game win streak in almost 10 months.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at New York KnicksTogether, the duo connected on what was the game-clinching shot. Together, they helped the Knicks overcome a late Orlando Magic lead and together, on Friday night, they helped Carmelo Anthony’s team to a 113-106 victory.

Now, together, Galloway and Thomas wonder what their futures will hold. Galloway’s second 10-day contract with the Knicks will expire on January 27 while Thomas’ expires on January 31.

As each finishes up their second 10-day contracts with the club, the Knicks, by league rule, must sign them for the remainder of the season if they wish to retain them. A third 10-day contract is not permissible.

Signing either or both would cost the Knicks a roster spot and some luxury tax, but if the team is serious about assembling talent, it would be a wise investment, especially after the duo connected on the clinching play in Friday night’s rare home win.

With just over a minute remaining and the shot clock ticking toward zero, Thomas received a pass at the top of the key and found Galloway in the corner for a clean three-point look. Galloway connected on the shot after the Magic had effectively denied Anthony the ball. The shot gave the Knicks a six-point cushion with just 54 seconds remaining.

Down the stretch, the Magic dared other Knicks to beat them; Galloway and Thomas collectively obliged.

To read more of this story, click here

Game Recap: Knicks 113 – Magic 106

Result: The Knicks earned their second back-to-back wins at the Garden all season as they defeated Orlando 113-106 Friday.

Need to Know: The Knicks are on their first three-game win streak all season as they fought hard out of the gate on their home court.

Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 25 points and seven rebounds while Jason Smith followed close behind posting a season-high 19 points and five rebounds on the night.

Langston Galloway, who is in his second 10-day contract with the squad, showed his strength in the fourth. With Anthony doubleteamed, Galloway called for the ball to sink a three with just a minute left on the clock and put the Knicks up 108-102.

Jose Calderon left the game in the third with a contused left knee, but despited needing help off the court, X-rays came back negative.

Links: Recap | Box Score | Play-By-Play

What’s Next: The Knicks look to keep rolling as they head to Charlotte Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.