The last time this happened.

Whenever something occurs for the first time in a while and I’m not talking the first time in two years, but the first time in say 20 years and so on, there’s a tendency to think back what was going on the last time it happened.

Case in point Sunday night at about 11 PM if you were watching or following the Islanders in double overtime against the Florida Panthers.  We had known it had been May 14, 1993 when the Islanders last won a playoff series, but in reality we might not have grasped how long ago it actually was until John Tavares moved behind the net and put the backhander past Roberto Luongo.

Delirium. Madness.  Drama.

Followed by the realization of how long it had actually been.  It was 8,381 days since David Volek took a cross ice pass from Ray Ferraro, lifted a one-timer over Tom Barrasso as Mario Lemieux skated off without a chance to win a third straight Stanley Cup.

I remember the goal but didn’t see it live because I was attending a play a family friend was appearing in.  I’d imagine we taped the game even if we lean towards the Rangers.

After all, game seven is game seven.

At the moment when Volek’s goal went in, I was in eighth grade, proud to be a Knicks fan. Because in 1993, the Knicks were normal with their rough and tumble style of play and following a 60-win regular season under Pat Riley, I was sure it was their year to win it.

We’d learn a few weeks later it wasn’t and eight years later, the road to laughingstock and dysfunction began.

As for baseball, the Mets were careening towards an even worse disaster than the previous year when the Worst Team Money Could Buy (45 million payroll) was 72-90.At this point, they were 12-21 following an 8-7 loss to Montreal which featured first inning errors by Bobby Bonilla and Jeff Kent.

Now the Mets are far from a  the 103-loss disaster of Jeff Torborg and Dallas Green.  They reached dysfunction status from 2009-10 following collapses in 2007 and 2008 but a slow gradual rebuild has taken shape with a team capable of reaching the World Series.

For the Yankees, this was the second month of 23 straight winning seasons.  After years of dysfunction leading to 1989-1992, the Yankees were 19-16 following an 8-6 loss at the Stadium to the Blue Jays.  The Blue Jays won this game on a two-run home by John Olerud in the ninth and beat the Yankees by seven games en route to a World Series.

The Yankees won a lot more, but also lost some. Their current drought is three years without a playoff win which is nothing compared to the Islanders.

In the country, Bill Clinton was nearly four months into his presidency. Now his wife hopes she’s about nine months from becoming the next  president.

Musically, Janet Jackson was No.1 at the top of the charts.  A Movie version of Lost In Yonkers, which I had seen on Broadway in 1991 was released.

Countless other things have happened in between wins.  Perhaps the most amazing is Jaromir Jagr played in both games. He was a young Penguin and is a senior member of the Panthers, who plays young.

This is a somewhat short post. Imagine how long it’d be if this was about the Toronto Maple Leafs finally wining their long awaited Stanley Cup.

 

Placing Anthony Davis in context of 59-point scorers

Chalk this up to a case of win some, lose some in terms of being able to watch for me.

On Jan. 25, DeMarcus Cousins scored 56 and I was able to watch it because whatever I was working on allowed me to be home by 11 pm.  He would have gotten 59 or more if he didn’t fouled out.

This brings us to Anthony Davis. The schedule called for me to be at the Nets-Hornets game,  which began at 6:00 so I had no idea Davis had 59 until I checked the app (yay technology!).

This is what we know about the game based on information released by the Pelicans, who likely obtained it from the Elias Sports Bureau.

1 – Davis is the third player since 1983 to achieve at least 50 points, 20 rebounds.

2 – Davis broke the scoring record for Detroit’s building. LeBron James had the old mark of 48 during his epic Eastern Conference finals game in 2007.

3 –  Davis broke the franchise record. The previous was 50 by Jamal Mashburn on Feb. 21, 2003 against Memphis. In the 50-point game, Masburn was 17-of-33, 4-of-7 from 3-point range and hit the game-winning fallaway in overtime.

4 – Davis is the third player to get at least 55 and 20 rebounds in the last 50 years. Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain are the others.

So how did this kind of game unfold. Let’s take a look at the game book:

First Quarter

2 – six-foot jumper

4 – 16-foot jumper

6 – seven-foot hook shot

8 – five-foot hook shot

Second quarter

10 – layup

12 – layup

14 -21-foot step back jumper

16 – dunk

18 – 15-foot step back jumper

19 – free throw

21 – putback dunk

23 – dunk

24 – free throw

26  — tip layup shot

Third quarter

28 – eight-foot hook shot

30 – 13-foot jumper

32 – tip layup

35 – 26-foot 3-pointer

37 – seven-foot floating jumper

38 – technical foul shot

40 – 18-foot jump shot

Fourth quarter

42 – free throws

44 – 14-foot jumper

46 – free throws

48 – 21-foot jump shot

50 – nine-foot jump shot

52 – dunk

55 – 3-pointer

57 – 14-foot fadeway jumper

59 – free throws

So it got me wondering if any players such as Wilt Chamberlain had any 59 point games. (I know he did, 100 point game), so how many others did he get?

Basketball-reference.com only goes back to 1963-64 in terms of points when you do the finders for various players. So using 1963-64 as our starting off point, Chamberlain had 10 games with at least 59 points.

The first was Dec. 6, 1963 against the Lakers. Chamberlain scored 59 in a 110-103 loss, mostly because the next highest scorer had 16 and Chamberlain missed 14 free throws. Chamberlain won eight of those games and hit 256 field goals.

Before I looked it up, I thought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had at least one game with 59 points but I was wrong. His highest point total was 55 when he hit 23 field goals for Milwaukee against Boston on Dec. 10, 1971 in a 120-104 wins. In this game, the next highest scorer was Bob Dandridge with 23.

Michael Jordan is famous for many things, including the 63-point playoff game against the Celtics in 1986. He had five games of at least 59 points during the regular season with a 69-point game, a 64-point game, two games with 61 points and one with 59.

In those five games, he shot 60.5 percent (115-of-190) and this was with him going 3 of 15 from 3-point range.

The first time he did it was April 3, 1988 at Detroit. He had 32 at halftime in a gme Scottie Pippen did not start and hit the winning free throws with four seconds left in a game when the Bulls did not get a basket in the last 5 1/2 minutes.

As for big games I’ve seen in person, I saw the 61-point game by Kobe Bryant. I’m pretty sure I was home for most of the 81-point game. I also saw the 52-point game by LeBron James for Cleveland, the 52-point game by Jamal Crawford in 2007 and the 54-point game by Stephen Curry.

Regardless of how it’s compared, what Anthony Davis did Sunday afternoon is pretty cool.

 

 

 

The trade deadline in real time

By now if you haven’t heard yesterday was the NBA trade deadline. It has been a bonanza of a day with several names rumored to change teams. Sometimes a majority of those rumored to move actually get dealt. Yesterday was not one of those occasions in case you’re still looking for a Dwight Howard trade.

It’s best to summarize the day like an episode of Dragnet (with the time and event). Of course I could just read Woj’s timeline but where’s the fun in one set of tweets?

 

10:15 – Nets announce the GM search is over, hiring Sean Marks. They hire him two days after offering him the job and a day after the owner jokes about never hearing of him. – press release sent to my email.

Snide Remark: It’s like when the white smoke occurs when a new pope is announced.

11:10 – Pau Gasol does not believe he will be traded. But he knows things can change at the last minute. – Nick Friedell – Bulls reporter ESPN Chicago.

Snide Remark: He must know something we don’t.

11:10 – Report:  Celtics could acquire Kevin Love in “very fragile” three-way trade involving Ryan Anderson – Kurt Helin (NBA basketball talk).

Snide Remark: “Very fragile” means holding you up for a first-round pick because the Celtics can never enough.

11:13 – Several teams with interest in trading for Brooklyn’s Thaddeus Young already trying to reach Sean Marks to see where Nets stand on him. – Adrian Wojnarowski

Snide Remark: Where did I put the piece of paper with the new Nets GM number?

11:17 – As of yesterday, the Lakers and Roy Hibbert had not discussed a buyout, I’ve been told. Could change post-trade deadline. – Jeff Zillgitt USA Today. Side note every time I see the words buyout in the NBA, I think of this scene from the Simpsons.

Snide Remark: Buy him out Boys! (Bill Gates cackle)

11:24 – Sources: Atlanta’s expressing its intentions to rivals that Hawks plan to keep team intact at deadline, holding onto Horford and key guards. – Adrian Wojnarowski.

Snide remark: Anyone we think isn’t any good is on the table.

11:31 – Two teams interested in seeing where Sean Marks stands on Thaddeus Young: Toronto and Boston. Likely more, Young an appealing player. – Chris Mannix

Snide Remark: We don’t really want to force the Nets into another bad trade on the first day of the new guy’s job.

11:38 — While Ty Lawson talks died, the playoff hopeful Jazz is still trying to add a much-needed point guard before the trade deadline. – Marc Spears.

Snide Remark: We can probably do better, besides Duke guys don’t coach UNC players right?

11:39-11:53 Nothing happened.

11:54 – Not sure if this is out there, but… hearing that if nothing else happens today for Heat, Jarnell Stokes likely dealt for pick, tax. – Ethan Skolnick Miami Heat beat writer.

Snide remark: Read my lips, no new luxury taxes!

11:55 adjourn for lunch, acquired a sandwich for a protected first-round pick and tax relief..

12:11 – Music video for Europe’s The Final Countdown appears on VH1 Classic’s Rockfest. It’s the song often played before last second shot attempts in the NBA. Clearly written for the final hours of the NBA trade deadline.

12:18 Getting a sense that Nets getting interesting offers, may do a deal. NOT Brook or Thad-based. I know no more.- Netsdaily.

Snide remark: We have no idea just like the Nets at times.

12:20 Houston has traded Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons, league sources tell  – Finally a trade!

Snide remark: About damn time!

1:00 I had to go to work on writing these stories.

Thunder trade for Foye

Pistons acquire Thornton

Frye to Cavaliers

Morris to Wizards

Stephenson traded for Green

In total I wrote stories on nine trades. Plus a fairly sizable roundup summarizing the action.

I think they had all made sense and included all of the important elements such as money and statistics.

And the social media aftermath

5:20 pm Something to monitor in Memphis: Matt Barnes and Lance Stephenson are teammates. – @Sbondynydn

Snide remark: Assume the Fox viewing position for this reality show.

5:22 pm Morris trade isn’t official yet so Wittman couldn’t comment on it. – @Jorgecastillo

Snide remark: Nobody told me anything or I was instructed to keep it in the vault.

5:34 – Budenholzer said Hawks were never close to trading Al Horford or Jeff Teague. @cvivlamoreAJC

Snide remark: We just wanted to give you all something to speculate on in your spare time.

After dinner:

7:03 – Sixers officially announce a trade, Denver’s 2017 second round pick from Houston and center Joel Anthony from the Detroit Pistons as part of a multi-team trade in which the Sixers sent the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum to the Houston Rockets. In case you were wondering (I was), Maduabum  has played in Qatar, Estonia, Mongolia, Iceland, Finland and his rights have been traded three times. Imagine if he gets traded to Milwaukee and makes the game-winning pass to Giannis Antekounmpo while on deadline in a second overtime.

7:19- Exits trade deadline cocoon and sees CNN headline: “Trump in War of Words With Pope. Oh it is most definitely a Jameson’s night.  – @SteveBhoop

Snide remark: Isn’t it always during this year’s presidential race.

Closing arguments:

While it was easy for me not to write complex deals like the three-team Detroit-Oklahoma City-Utah trifecta or the point guard parade through Phoenix, Boston and Milwaukee, from a fans standpoint I agree with Ken Berger this was a tad boring. It wasn’t worst episode ever in terms of a deadline but it was a bit sleepy.

Of course it’s merely the appetizer to the wild west of NBA transactions (not the Kool Moe Dee Song) since cap space will be free flowing and teams might start doing something like deficit spending for big ticket items.

I suppose it’s appropriate in a presidential election year, cutting taxes is a thing for a few teams like Miami, Chicago and Oklahoma City.

 

 

 

Wow, nine years later!

When I last blogged on here, it was 2007. Isiah Thomas was still in charge of the Knicks and the Nets still played in New Jersey. The Celtics were a few months away from their 17th championship and Stephen Curry had not put his name in NCAA lore.

So why return to this site now?  No idea, maybe for the chance to write on my own in addition to what I do now.

Back in 2007, I was still with SportsTicker, the wire service where in the infancy of the digital world where you got your scores. Twitter wasn’t a thing and facebook was about a year away from most people I know moving from myspace (which actually still exists).

I was once a blogger on the NBA. It was way back in 2004 and through the early part of 2007.

It was a blog about the Knicks where we tried to make it somewhat interesting, entertaining and amusing about how they lost a lot and did many things wrong. (The comedy wrote itself back then) and here’s the evidence of my past blog (thank you web archive). You may remember it, you may not but either way it’s cool. I enjoyed doing it, probably didn’t know how to promote it other than email and link exchanges.

Here’s a link to the old blog and the second post on this particular page was probably my all time favorite post. I stopped because I was busy and how many ways can you say the Knicks aren’t very good. Judging by their performances in the majority of the 15 seasons since trading Patrick Ewing, apparently a lot.

So what about me?  I stopped covering the NBA for a bit due to circumstances beyond my control in about Feb. 2009. I had some scary moments (not health) but workwise for a few weeks before getting a gig at a small commuter paper (Metro) covering baseball. There was a time before April 2009 where I wasn’t sure if I’d ever cover a game in the new stadium but eventually it worked out.IMG_1831.JPG

While not as glamorous as say the Post or a major paper, it was good at times but also frustrating. (I’ll tell you privately if you ask). It also allowed me to get back into the NBA midway through the 2012-13 season once hockey got its labor act together and the Nets moved to Brooklyn.

Eventually it faded away and I got one of those dreaded emails. It annoyed the hell out of me but in the context of things, I wasn’t too upset because by then I had been reduced to maybe two or three articles a month and had some other things going on.

It also helped in 2013 that I not only was covering baseball for the paper previously mentioned but also a wire service called the Sports Xchange.  It was really good timing as it became among the better places I’ve dealt with and it led to me covering the Yankees and Nets regularly for them while also working some editing shifts without a difficult commute (from my home office to the living room couch).

The year 2012 also saw my situation improve somewhat, especially towards the latter part. In the winter of 2010 and 2011, I had another job at Strat-O-Matic, the famous game company and after some initial growing pains, I grew to really like it. It was a temp thing (I called it a consultancy but whatever) but I really hoped after two years of not only handling phone and digital customer service (fancy way of saying responding via email) as well as researching for the game, I’d get a full time thing. It wasn’t in the cards and from fall 2011 to spring 2012, I encountered a similar scary situation, one where I took classes towards another career before realizing I wouldn’t be comfortable in it. (You can ask me privately if you want).

Since then I’ve become someone who many NBA announcers enjoy working with due to the information I give them (stat guy), a copy editor who gets to work from home, an occasional TV background actor (that’s probably 

  another post) and No. 682 in the BBWAA.
As Pearl Jam said in the song Present Tense (something about an encompassing trip), it encompassed various things and perhaps something worth blogging about on occasion when time permits. (those who know me well, had to figure a Pearl Jam reference was coming).

And since we’re in the self-promotion part of the program, you can follow me on twitter @larryfleisher.  I’m kind of twitter slacker at times (only 16,000 tweets in nearly seven years) but I’m responsive and enjoy interacting on there.

So thanks for reading (whether it’s a sentence or every word).

 

The Ship Be Halfway Sinking – Can You Make the Playoffs with 20 losses in two months?

At 8-20, the Knicks are a longshot to make the playoffs even in a below average Eastern Conference. The standings say they are 4 1/2 games out of eighth place but that really means little because there are few signs of the team playing above an 8-20 pace. Another 8-20 puts them at 16-40 and if you add in their 8-18, that’s 24-58.

So that being said, here’s a list of teams that had 20 losses in the first two months of a season and how they finished in every 82-game season since 1984-85.

2006-07

Philadelphia 8-22 went 27-23 the rest of the way for 35 wins

New York 13-20 went 20-29 the rest of the way for 33 wins

Charlotte 9-21 went 24-28 the rest of the way for 33 wins

Atlanta 9-20 went 21-32 for 30 wins

Memphis 5-25 went 17-35 for 22 wins

2005-06

Toronto 8-22 went 19-33 for 27 wins

New York 7-21 went 16-38 for 23 wins

Charlotte 10-20 went 16-36 for 26 wins

Atlanta 7-21 went 19-35 for 26 wins

2004-05

Toronto 10-21 went 23-28 for 33 wins

Atlanta 5-23 went 8-46 for 13 wins

New Orleans 2-26 went 16-48 for 18 wins

2003-04

Orlando 8-24 went 13-37 for 21 wins

Washington 8-21 went 17-34 for 27 wins

Chicago 9-21 went 14-38 for 23 wins

Atlanta 9-24 went 19-30 for 28 wins

Cleveland 10-22 went 25-23 for 35 wins

Phoenix 12-20 went 17-33 for 29 wins

2002-03

Cleveland 6-26 went 11-39 for 17 wins

Toronto 8-23 went 16-35 for 24 wins

Chicago 11-20 went 19-32 for 30 wins

Denver 6-24 went 11-41 for 17 wins

Memphis 9-22 went 19-32 for 28 wins

2001-02

Miami 6-23 went 30-23 for 36 wins

Chicago 6-23 went 15-38 for 21 wins

Memphis 9-21 went 14-38 for 23 wins

Houston 9-22 went 19-32 for 28 wins

2000-01

Washington 6-25 went 13-38 for 19 wins

New Jersey 9-21 went 17-35 for 26 wins

Chicago 5-25 went 10-42 for 17 wins

Atlanta 10-20 went 15-37 for 25 wins

Vancouver 8-22 went 15-37 for 23 wins

Golden State 6-20 went 11-45 for 17 wins

LA Clippers 10-21 went 21-30 for 31 wins

1999-2000 

Washington 10-20 went 19-33 for 29 wins

Chicago 2-25 went 15-42 for 17 wins

Vancouver 6-23 went 16-37 for 22 wins

Houston 10-20 went 24-28 for 34 wins

Dallas 9-21 went 31-21 for 40 wins

LA Clippers 9-20 went 6-47 for 15 wins

Golden State 6-23 went 15-40 for 19 wins

1997-98 

Philadelphia 7-21 went 24-30 for 31 wins

Toronto 4-26 went 12-40 for 16 wins

Denver 2-26 went 9-45 for 11 wins

Vancouver 10-20 went 9-54 for 19 wins

Dallas 5-25 went 15-37 for 20 wins

LA Clippers 6-24 went 11-41 for 17 wins

Golden State 7-21 went 12-42 for 19 wins

Sacramento 11-20 went 16-35 for 27 wins

1996-97

Boston 6-21 went 9-46 for 15 wins

Philadelphia 8-20 went 14-40 for 22 wins

Vancouver 6-25 went 8-43 for 14 wins

San Antonio 7-20 went 13-42 for 20 wins

Denver 8-22 went 13-39 for 21 wins

1995-96

Philadelphia 5-22 went 13-42 for 18 wins

Toronto 9-21 went 12-40 for 21 wins

Vancouver 5-25 went 10-42 for 15 wins

Minnesota 7-20 went 19-36 for 26 wins

1994-95

Minnesota 6-21 went 15-40 for 21 wins

LA Clippers 4-25 went 13-40 for 17 wins

1993-94

Washington 8-20 went 16-38 for 24 wins

Milwaukee 8-20 went 12-42 for 20 wins

Dallas 2-24 went 11-45 for 13 wins

Minnesota 8-20 went 12-42 for 20 wins

1992-93 

Washington 8-20 went 14-40 for 22 wins

Dallas 2-22 went 9-49 for 11 wins

1991-92

Orlando 6-23 went 15-38 for 21 wins

Charlotte 8-23 went 23-28 for 31 wins

Minnesota 4-23 went 11-44 for 15 wins

Sacramento 8-20 went 21-33 for 29 wins

1990-91

Miami 8-21 went 16-37 for 24 wins

Denver 6-23 went 14-39 for 20 wins

Orlando 7-23 went 24-27 for 30 wins

Sacramento 6-21 went 19-36 for 25 wins

1989-90 

New Jersey 8-20 went 9-45 for 17 wins

Miami 7-23 went 11-41 for 18 wins

Orlando 9-20 went 9-44 for 18 wins

Charlotte 6-20 went 13-43 for 19 wins

Minnesota 6-23 went 16-37 for 22 wins

Sacramento 7-20 went 16-39 for 23 wins

1988-89

Indiana 5-22 went 23-32 for 28 wins

Miami 3-24 went 12-43 for 15 wins

San Antonio 7-20 went 14-41 for 21 wins

1987-88

New Jersey 5-21 went 14-42 for 19 wins

Sacramento 7-21 went 17-37 for 24 wins

Golden State 4-20 went 16-42 for 20 wins

1986-87 

New York 9-21 went 15-37 for 24 wins

New Jersey 6-20 went 18-38 for 24 wins

San Antonio 8-22 went 20-32 for 28 wins

Sacramento 8-20 went 21-33 for 29 wins

LA Clippers 4-24 went 8-48 for 12 wins

1985-86

New York 7-21 went 16-38 for 23 wins

Indiana 9-21 went 17-35 for 26 wins

Chicago 13-21 went 17-31 for 30 wins and playoffs

Sacramento 9-22 went 28-23 for 37 wins and playoffs

Golden State 12-22 went 18-30 for 30 wins

Seattle 12-20 went 19-31 for 31 wins

LA Clippers 11-21 went 21-29 for 32 wins

1984-85

New York 12-22 went 12-36 for 24 wins

Indiana 8-22 went 14-38 for 22 wins

Cleveland 6-22 went 30-24 for 36 wins and playoffs

Golden State 10-20 went 12-40 for 22 wins

Wow! There have been nearly over 200 coaching changes since Jerry Sloan took over

That’s an amazing stat when John Thompson mentioned it on his interview with Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on Inside the NBA. Of course, knowing how my mind works, I wondered about all those changes.

He became the coach on December 9, 1988 and presided over a 97-89 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. It’s nearly impossible to list the exact order of coaching changes but the next best thing would be to do it by team.

Atlanta Hawks – Mike Fratello, Bob Weiss, Lenny Wilkens, Lon Kruger, Terry Stotts, Mike Woodson. (six coaches)
Boston Celtics – Jimmy Rodgers, Chris Ford, ML Carr, Rick Pitino, Jim O’Brien, John Carroll, Doc Rivers (seven)

Charlotte Bobcats – Bernie Bickerstaff, Sam Vincent (two)

Chicago Bulls – Doug Collins, Phil Jackson, Tim Floyd, Bill Berry, Bill Cartwright, Pete Myers, Scott Skiles (seven)

Cleveland Cavaliers – Lenny Wilkens, Mike Fratello, Randy Wittman, John Lucas, Keith Smart, Paul Silas, Brendan Malone, Mike Brown (eight)

Dallas Mavericks – John MacLeod, Richie Adubato, Gar Heard, Quinn Buckner, Dick Motta, Jim Cleamons, Don Nelson, Donn Nelson, Avery Johnson (nine)

Denver Nuggets – Doug Moe, Paul Westhead, Dan Issel, Gene Littles, Bernie Bickerstaff, Dick Motta, Bill Hanzlik, Mike D’Antoni, Dan Issel, Mike Evans, Jeff Bzdelik, Michael Cooper, George Karl (12)

Detroit Pistons – Chuck Daly, Ron Rothstein, Don Chaney, Doug Collins, Alvin Gentry, George Irvine, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders (nine)

Golden State Warriors – Don Nelson, Bob Lanier, Rick Adelman, PJ Carlesimo, Garry St Jean, Dave Cowens, Brian Winters, Eric Musselman, Mike Montgomery, Don Nelson (nine)

Houston Rockets – Don Chaney, Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman (four)

Indiana Pacers – George Irvine, Dick Versace, Bob Hill, Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Rick Carlisle, Jim O’Brien (eight)

Los Angeles Clippers – Gene Shue, Don Casey, Mike Schuler, Larry Brown, Bob Weiss, Bill Fitch, Chris Ford, Jim Todd, Alvin Gentry, Dennis Johnson, Mike Dunleavy (11)

Los Angeles Lakers – Pat Riley, Mike Dunleavy, Randy Pfund, Magic Johnson, Del Harris, Bill Bertka, Kurt Rambis, Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich, Frank Hamblen, Phil Jackson (10)

Memphis Grizzlies – Brian Winters, Stu Jackson, Brian Hill, Lionel Hollins, Sidney Lowe, Hubie Brown, Lionel Hollins, Mike Fratello, Tony Barone, Marc Iavaroni (nine)

Miami Heat – Ron Rothstein, Kevin Loughery, Alvin Gentry, Pat Riley, Stan Van Gundy, Pat Riley (five)

Milwaukee Bucks – Del Harris, Frank Hamblen, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Ford, George Karl, Terry Porter, Terry Stotts, Larry Krystowiak (eight)

Minnesota Timberwolves – Bill Musselman, Jimmy Rodgers, Sidney Lowe, Bill Blair, Flip Saunders, Kevin McHale, Dwane Casey, Randy Wittman (eight)

New Jersey Nets – Willis Reed, Bill Fitch, Chuck Daly, Butch Beard, John Calipari, Don Casey, Byron Scott, Lawrence Frank (eight)

New Orleans Hornets – Dick Harter, Gene Littles, Allan Bristow, Dave Cowens, Paul Silas, Tim Floyd, Byron Scott (seven)

New York Knicks – Rick Pitino, Stu Jackson, John McLeod, Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Jeff Van Gundy, Don Chaney, Herb Williams, Lenny Wilkens, Herb Williams, Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas (11)

Orlando Magic – Matt Guokas, Brian Hill, Richie Adubato, Chuck Daly, Doc Rivers, Johnny Davis, Chris Jent, Brian Hill, Stan Van Gundy (eight)

Philadelphia 76ers – Jim Lynam, Doug Moe, Fred Carter, John Lucas, Johnny Davis, Larry Brown, Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O’Brien, Maurice Cheeks (10)

Phoenix Suns – Cotton Fitzsimmons, Paul Westphal, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Danny Ainge, Scott Skiles, Frank Johnson, Mike D’Antoni (six)

Portland TrailBlazers – Mike Schuler, Rick Adelman, PJ Carlesimo, Mike Dunleavy, Maurice Cheeks, Kevin Pritchard, Nate McMillian (seven)

Sacramento Kings – Jerry Reynolds, Dick Motta, Rex Hughes, Garry St. Jean, Eddie Jordan, Rick Adelman, Eric Musselman, Reggie Theus (eight)

San Antonio Spurs – Larry Brown, Bob Bass, Jerry Tarkanian, John Lucas, Rex Hughes, Bob Hill, Gregg Popovich (seven)

Seattle Supersonics – Bernie Bickerstaff, Tom Newell, Bob Kloppenburg, Bernie Bickerstaff, KC Jones, Bob Kloppenburg, George Karl, Paul Westphal, Nate McMillian, Bob Weiss, Bob Hill, PJ Carlesimo (10)

Toronto Raptors – Brendan Malone, Darrell Walker, Butch Carter, Lenny Wilkens, Kevin O’Neill, Sam Mitchell (six)

Washington Wizards – Wes Unseld, Jim Lynam, Bernie Bickerstaff, Jim Brovelli, Darrell Walker, Gar Heard, Leonard Hamilton, Doug Collins, Eddie Jordan (nine)

The Best of Knicks Coach and President Isiah Thomas

The New York Times is offering its archives for free since 1985. That gives anyone a chance to look up any topic and read about it. Without further ado, I present the best quotes of the Isiah Thomas era on a monthly basis. Though many of these quotes were made to reporters from multiple media outlets, credit the New York Times archives as the source:

December 2003

12/23 ”Everything in New York is big and the best. ‘Here, we’re trying to win and right away.’

12/24 ”One of the things that I’m evaluating and assessing is what will a New York Knick player look like and what values will he possess and how will he play?”

12/28 ”Winning to me is not a good effort. ‘You either win or lose.”

12/30 ”I think there are different ways to motivate people. I’ve always tried to inspire people instead of trying to manipulate them through fear, because if you’re going to have a long-lasting effect it has to be through true inspiration of that individual wanting to succeed as opposed to I’m going to frighten you to succeed.”

January 2004

1/4 ”He’s got great stuff. ‘His defense stuff is solid, his offensive stuff is exceptional. He’s got a great basketball background. I’m confident if we can put the right things around him from a coaching standpoint, I as a manager can do the right things by him, he can have success here.” – expressing his confidence in Don Chaney

1/5 ”It just made me realize how important that position was to us and how much we needed to go out and acquire a guy like that. ‘You just don’t get a chance to get these superstar players and have them be on your team in this day and age.”- after acquiring Marbury

1/12 ”We’re in the state where I think it would be impossible for me to do both and do them well. ‘We’re trying to get healthy and we got to dig ourselves out of a big hole. And I don’t think I would do this organization justice by trying to do both jobs.” – on if he could coach and be in the front office

1/13 ”You definitely don’t like to see anyone humiliated in such a public forum. It’s a tough time for him as a man.” – on the David Letterman show discussing the status of Don Chaney

1/14 ”We came to the conclusion late this morning. You never thought you would be able to get a Hall of Fame coach to be able to coach a team. Having the opportunity to have the winningest coach in basketball, we pride ourselves on being the best and having the opportunity to select the best. I just think he’s a perfect fit. And I think he’s the perfect fit for Stephon.” – on hiring Lenny Wilkens

1/19 ”He’s a very special player, a very gifted player,” ”And I think, ideally, we would still like to get more athletic and go out and acquire the best talent and get the best players for him to play with. I would like for us to become a much more athletic team, a quicker team.” – more on Marbury

February 2004

2/15 ”The only reason we made the trade was because we got both players. When you add Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed to our team, it makes us a much more athletic team. I think we’ve become a better defensive team, a better rebounding team.” – on acquiring Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed.

2/15 ”I wanted to put together a team that was exciting for the fans to come and watch, a team that had some character and some guts, but also a team that you can grab a box of popcorn and grab a soda and enjoy the game. ”You want players and you want a team that people want to see. I think this is a team that when everyone is healthy and playing well, it can be an exciting team that people will want to see and talk about.”

March 2004

3/17 ”Lenny and I are on the same page. ‘We talk daily, nightly, hourly. We work well together. I love my team. I love our coach. I love our players. But I want more.” – after he yelled at the Knicks for sucking in an overtime win over Washington

April 2004

4/23 ”This is a starting point for us; we will learn from this experience. You’ve got to be in the playoffs and have some humiliating moments to learn to win.” – following n 81-78 loss to the Nets in Game Three

4/27 ”But I didn’t think it was a good message to send to our fans to say: ‘You know, we haven’t made the playoffs in two years. We’re going to get rid of all the salary and go young, and, you know, by the way, the next three years we aren’t going to make the playoffs because we’re going to be young and rebuilding.”’ – after the Knicks were swept in the playoffs by the Nets.

October 2004

10/1 “After watching the Yankees pour Champagne last night in their locker room, I got really fired up and inspired. “I look at our team, and that’s what we aspire to be. And I’m pretty excited about this year and the possibilities and the chances that we have. I like all the young guys that we have, love the veterans that are coming back. The coaches are enthused. We’ve got a chance to have a really good year, and I’m excited about it.”

10/7 – If he conforms to the Knick ways and he acts accordingly, yeah. Thus far, he’s conformed. Everything’s O.K. if you do what we’re asking you to do. But when you try to do things the way you want to do them, there are issues with that.” – on Shandon Anderson

November 2004

11/9 – “I have no interest in coaching,. I don’t think I’ll ever coach the New York Knicks.”

11/9 – “As long as I’m the president of basketball operations here in New York, I don’t see myself coaching the New York Knicks,” he said. “And I wish you would stop writing it or stop saying it, because that’s not going to happen while I’m here.

11/9 – “I think in other cities, you may be able to pull off G.M.-coach, but I don’t think in this city you can do it, simply because the energy and the passion that it takes to do one job, the way we have to travel, the way we have to live, the complexities of this city. I know, myself, I wouldn’t have the energy to be the president and also the coach.”

December 2004

12/7 “I think he’s in that discussion. I know the thing that the coaches value the most is his work ethic, the way he approaches the game every night and the way he does the dirty work inside the paint. He’s not flashy; he’s effective. He’s just a worker.” – on Nazr Mohammed

12/12 “If you’re not playing for the championship, then you’re not good enough. And my job is to continue to try to make us good enough, so we can compete and try to win the championship one day.”

January 2005

1/4 – “I thought he was awesome, and I happen to agree with him. “When you look at his numbers across the board and what we do when he’s out on the floor, I think he is the best right now.” – on Marbury declaring himself the NBA’s best point guard

1/21 -“It hurts to watch your team lose by 1 and 2 points and get beat at the buzzer and all that But you know what? It’s part of the process. If you want to make quick, rash decisions, then you should go hire somebody else. But if you want sustained growth, in terms of how we’re building it, right now I’m stubborn enough to stick to my plan.”

1/22 – “It’s tough when you lose someone such as Lenny, “What he’s meant to the game of basketball, what he’s done for our organization, and last year when we got together, I think where he’s brought us to, we’re on solid footing. He laid the foundation, he came in and handled it with class and dignity and grace. He did all the right things to get us into the playoffs last year.”

Gathered by Larry Fleisher of InsideHoops.com from the New York Times archives

February 2005

2/9 – “Make no mistake, the man in front of you has been through a lot of tough times,” Thomas said of himself. As he added: “Our best days are in front of us and not in the present. We have to be patient enough to get to that day.” – explaining the 19-30 record

2/24 – “We were able to upgrade our talent in getting Malik Rose and Maurice Taylor. There’s also the addition of the two picks. We have two first-round picks this year and two first-round picks next year. We will be able to improve our team with the youth we’ll get in the draft, or we may be able to package some players and do some other things. This gives us creative ability in the draft.” – on the deals for Malik Rose and Maurice Taylor.

2/24 “Malik is a high-energy player, and the fans are going to enjoy watching him play. “In terms of his salary, a guy like Malik who is making $5 or $6 million a year is worthy of that contract. The two or three additional years that he has, I’m very comfortable paying those numbers. Those are not $12, $13 or $14 million numbers.”

April 2005

4/20 – “I really like what we have. When you’ve lost 30 games by 6 points or less, there’s some hope. So we’re not as far away as our record would indicate.” – the day after the team finished 33-49

4/20 – “The way I feel right now, I’d trade my mother if the right deal came along,” – discussing on how to improve the roster

June 2005

6/28 – “We like Herb Williams as a coach; he did a fine job when he was here. I’m sorry. He did a fine job of coaching the team. But we want to do the best and do the right thing for the New York Knicks, and we’ll be diligent and patient with our approach.” – Thomas jumping the gun on the coaching job.

6/30 – “I don’t think I’ve ever said this to any of you publicly, but last year was really the first time that I’ve ever been associated with a basketball team that was called ‘soft’ at certain times. Every team that I’ve ever played on has always been a great defensive team, whether it’s been my high school team, college team or pro team, or the team that I coached in Indiana.” – Thomas on the day he introduced Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and David Lee

July 2005

7/2 – “Any guy that has ‘center’ next to his name, we’re interested in.”- Thomas discussing his search for a free agent center in class that included Stromile Swift and Samuel Dalembert

7/6 – “That is so far from the truth. And I’m ashamed for you guys that you even have to ask me that, because there is absolutely no truth to it at all.” – denying reports that Marbury was available.

7/28 – “Larry has won every place that he’s gone. And make no mistake about it, I think he will work extremely hard to turn this situation around for us.” – introducing Larry Brown as his third coach in nearly two years

November 2005

11/16 – “I like what I’m seeing, I like what we’ve done. Actually, pretty excited about the way we’re playing. – before the Knicks fell to 2-6 with a loss at the LA Lakers

December 2005

12/22 – “We were very competitive out on the road, and I don’t know if there’s a fear of playing at home, but we’ve had some embarrassing losses at home. And it seems that our guys are much more competitive and play with a lot more confidence away from home.” – celebrating his second anniversary on the job by saying the bad crowd reactions in double digits losses negatively impact the team.

February 2006

2/4 – ”I’m not saying this is a move to get to the playoffs or anything like that. Jalen is a person who fits exactly what we need. A very versatile player, he can handle the ball in the backcourt, he can score from the small forward position and he can take some of the scoring load off some of our younger players who have been asked to score at difficult times during the game.” – on acquiring Jalen Rose’s contract from the Raptors.

2/23 – “We feel pretty good about the direction we’re headed,.We’re not happy with the record. However, our future is bright.” – after acquiring Steve Francis

April 2006

4/20 – “I don’t think that our record is indicative of the type of coach that he is or the type of players that we have,” – after the 23-win season ended

Gathered by Larry Fleisher of http://www.insidehoops.com from the New York Times archives

June 2006

6/27 – “I’ve been in pressure situations before.All my life has basically been about pressure, about having to get it done. And just because you say it publicly does not make me afraid of it or shy away from it. You got a job to do, go get it done.” – responding to the mandate by Dolan for significant progress

6/28 – “It’s challenging. I don’t think there’s anybody else in the league or in sports probably working under this situation. However, that’s how it is.” – in response to Dolan’s mandate for significant progress or else (whatever that means)

6/28 – “I’d rather bet on myself. If my career is in the hands of somebody else, trust is not something that I have a lot of these days.” – accepting the challenge of coaching his roster

6/28 – “No, because I stand here before you today in all honesty and I say I would still rather have Eddy Curry than any player in this draft and every G.M. polled would take Eddy Curry in this draft. And if we had the second pick, I would have traded the second pick in the draft for Eddy Curry.” – defending the Eddy Curry trade on draft night

August 8 –

“I spent a lot of time this summer talking to different people about chemistry because one of the things that was written and said and that’s true about us is the chemistry wasn’t right. And what Jared brings to us, more so than talent, he brings chemistry. I think he balances your locker room. He balances the plane ride. Relationshipwise, in a group setting, he’s the chemical piece that makes everything kind of work, in a strange kind of way.” -introducing Jared Jefferies.

October 2006

October 10 – “I knew exactly what I was thinking. I wasn’t looking for Jerome to be an offensive player. I’m more than confident that the things that I want out of him, in terms of defending and rebounding, he’s very capable of doing. And he will do them. If you’re asking him to be a 20-point scorer and you want to judge him on his low-post game, then you’re looking at the wrong guy. But for a $5 million investment, and we didn’t have a center, I know exactly what I was doing. And you should keep that in mind. It’s not $30 million a year, it’s only five. I’m just saying, for centers in this league, backup, starting, whoever, we got a pretty good price there.” – defending his signing of Jerome James

October 13 – “Chances are, when you look at our schedule, we may start out in a hole. And you can’t get so buried in a hole that you lose hope. And you’ve got to have enough intestinal fortitude to fight yourself out of the hole and persevere and overcome the obstacles.” – after the preseason opener

October 25 – “He’s a big man; he’s a nice man. But there needs to come a time when it’s ‘Don’t play with Eddy.’ We want him to really have a presence out on the floor.” – urging Eddy Curry to be more tough on the court.

November 2006

11/4 – “This is an unmerciful league, and we’ll have a long memory. And one day, we’ll be the team that’s on top, doing the kicking and the stepping, And when we kick and we step, if we ever get to the top, it’s going to be a hard kick and a hard step, just like people have stepped on us pretty hard. We’ll be pretty unforgiving when we get on top.” – referring to how the Pacers celebrated their 109-95 win in the home opener

11/6 – “I was looking for a few good men,” – after using reserves to get his team back in a game against the Spurs and putting 42 million in salary on the bench.

December 2006

12/16 – “Hey, don’t go to the basket right now. It wouldn’t be a good idea.Just letting you know.” – his apparent threat to Carmelo Anthony that sparked the brawl heard around the world

12/27 – “Our crowd had a huge impact on the game tonight. “Being at home definitely has again become very comfortable to us. We like to play here now. It’s a good feeling when the Garden puts its arms around you.” – after a 151-145 three OT win over Detroit

12/29 “They’re a beautiful basketball team. The way they move, the way they pass, the way they cut, they’re good. One day, again, the goal is to try to get to that kind of level of play.” – correctly describing the Suns after a blowout loss

January 2007

1/3 – “This is a big win for us. “This whole season, every time it seems like we are at death’s door the team responds and gets a win.

“Who knows maybe this will turn out to be a very lucky season for us.” – after a 99-81 win in Portland

1/10 – “I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’re not looked at as one of those teams that you’re supposed to beat. I know we’ve gotten better as a basketball team, and I know next month we’ll be better than we are this month. But we’ve gotten to the level where I think we’re starting to get some respect around the league, that it’s not a ‘gimme’ anymore.” – before a 13-point home win over the 76ers
Gathered by Larry Fleisher of http://www.insidehoops.com from the New York Times archives

February 2007

2/6 – “I never thought we would see .500 at home,” after a win over the Clippers improved the Knicks to 13-13 at home.

2/26 – “It’d be nice if the godfather anointed him also,” – looking for Shaq to respect Eddy Curry

March 2007

3/18 – “I’m not a drug addict, but he’s my No. 1 drug,.“If it got close, that’s the button that I’ll push. I can’t help it. It’s like I’m Pavlov’s dog.” – after a rare blowout win allowed Curry to rest.

April 2007

4/19 – “You may look at the record. But I don’t think there’s a team out there that walks in saying, ‘This is an easy night for us.’ You can’t say that wasn’t the case all the time. I don’t think that will be again.” – reflecting on the 2006-07 season

June 2007

6/13 – ”I’m kind of hoping we don’t embarrass ourselves too much,’ – when the Knicks announced an exhibition game with Maccabi Tel Aviv

6/29 – “It’s safe to say that the ball will be in one of their hands most every time down the court. We’ll throw the ball inside. Either it will be in Eddy’s hands on one side or it will be in Zach’s hands on the other. The thing that’s intriguing about Zach is he can step out. He has a great midrange game.” – discussing the acquisition of Zach Randolph.

October 2007

October 11 – “I don’t think any of us received a warm reaction tonight. Whatever reaction that happens to me or for me, I’m a big boy. I’ve handled and conducted myself well, and I’ve been yelled at, screamed at, booed at. And I know how to handle myself. I’ll be fine, thank you.” – after most of the Macabbi Tel Aviv fans booed him at MSG

October 22 – ”I think players are starting to pick up their intensity as we get closer to the season,” – after a preseason victory over Boston.

November 2007 (It gets good here…)

November 2 – “This is a year where the best people play” – after benching Marbury in the season opener

November 13 – “We need leadership from that position at the point guard, and we also need defense. And those are two things that he’s definitely capable of doing. And when he returns, that’s what I expect out of him.” – explaining his decision to bench Marbury.

November 14 – “We’ll keep that in-house” – whether Marbury’s absence was excused or unexcused.

November 16 – “I’ve played with people I don’t like; I’ve won with people I don’t like,” – on welcoming Marbury back and comparing it to his playing career in Detroit

November 21 – “That’s on Isiah tonight. You never want to see this type of display of basketball, anywhere. And that’s on my desk. That’s on me.” – after his team made 29 turnovers in a 108-82 drubbing by the Warriors.

November 24 – “In New York, you’re either dead or alive. You lose a game and you’re dead, and you win one and you basically get to survive.” – after a win over the Bulls

November 26 – “He’s self-driven and he’s self-motivated, so you don’t have to get on him too often. But you do have to remind him sometimes of how good he should be, and don’t let him accept where he is.” – referring to Marbury after a win over Utah
November 29 – “I thought every single player was thinking about himself, as opposed to thinking about the team. I don’t know where this game came from.” – after a 104-59 loss in Boston on national TV.

November 30 – “Every time you lose a game in New York, we’re on death row here. So tonight they unstrapped the belts and I get to walk. And had we lost, I’m sure they’d have wet me down.” – after a 91-88 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in which the Knicks rallied from 17 points down.

December 2007

December 8 – “We had a rough start, but we’re starting to stabilize here.” – an hour before the Sixers rebounded and laughed their way to a 105-77 victory at MSG.

December 8 “I don’t really think this is a time to threaten anyone. I think it’s a time for me to get my team feeling good about themselves again and build their confidence up and get them back to trusting and loving each other and being a team.” – after that same loss.

December 10 -“It’s the fans’ fault because they don’t have a good sixth man,” – speaking to season ticket holder Mara Altschuler.

December 10 “I was just trying to make sure that we kept the team together and we stayed focused on what we were doing, in trying to win a basketball game. Our fans are great. They support us and they show up and we’re glad they’re here. – attempting to downplay the conversation with the fan following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

December 11 “To me, it’s win or die. And I literally mean death. I don’t mean walk away. I mean death. That’s how I approach it. And we got a job to do here, we’re going to get it done. I’m confident we got the right players, I’m confident we got the right people, and we’ll dig our way out of this.

December 14 – “There’s certain things that he probably won’t ever be good at doing,” Thomas said. “We want to just make sure that he keeps doing the things that he knows how to do well.” – admitting that Eddy Curry might not be good at some important things like defending, rebounding and shot blocking

December 17 – “There are a lot of things that can be said about me and teams that I’ve coached and the way I played,” Thomas said Monday night, “but I’ve never been accused of not having heart or competing. And tonight was very discouraging to me because we didn’t collectively play with heart and compete like I know I do.”

December 17 – “We don’t have the grit to sustain a run. A team makes a run at us and collectively we just cave. We just give in.”

December 17 – “I can give you a lot of things, but I can’t give you pride and heart.” He said he looked forward to the day when the questions would be about what he did wrong strategically, and not “about heart and courage.”

December 18 “I’m not happy about where we are. And if we don’t turn it around soon, then yeah, we’ll have to make some changes.” – after totally ripping his players for their 119-92 loss to Indiana