The Knicks aren't breaking huddles by shouting how many games remain in this miserable season. And Derek Fisher said he doesn't see a team that is looking forward to vacation.
Not long before Brian Shaw was fired as coach, the Nuggets reportedly did something like that. But Fisher is on solid footing, and he doesn't think the Knicks, who are an NBA-worst 14-55, have checked out yet.
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"We talk every day about being focused on just being in the moment and taking it one day at a time," Fisher said after his team was blown out by the 76ers, 97-81, on Friday night. "We can't control things that have happened already. I think our guys showed up to play the game and we lost to a team that was more ready to play."
The Knicks didn't put up much of a fight in the second half against the 76ers one night after losing to the undermanned Timberwolves in overtime at home. For most teams, that would have been a troubling pair of losses, but not the Knicks, who play in Toronto Sunday.
Aside from the fact that each loss moves them closer to a top-four pick in the June draft, the Knicks don't have Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon or Tim Hardaway Jr. They're relying on numerous players who either weren't in the league at the start of the season or won't be a part of a team's regular rotation next season. They might not even be in the NBA.
But Fisher continues to stress that they're playing for something -- whether it be a contract with the Knicks or another team. And to his credit, he's coaching them that way.
The Knicks were down by 18 with 29.6 seconds left Friday night and Fisher called timeout. There was no play that would lead them back, but Fisher wanted to remind them to finish out the game.
Langston Galloway missed a jump shot on that trip, but the Knicks retained possession and Quincy Acy was fouled. He made both free throws.
"I just called a timeout just to make sure we played the last possession out the right way," Fisher said. "We have some young guys that sometimes think when we're behind that way that maybe we don't want to go down and try and score. I wanted to make sure guys understood we want to go down, try and score, and make or miss, we still play defense and finish out until the clock runs out.
"It's about every day in terms of our habits. Until the clock says zero, you just have to keep playing and keep doing your best, and I just wanted to make sure the guys understood it."