Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the New York Knicks shouts...

Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the New York Knicks shouts from the bench against the Indiana Pacers. (March 13, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Mike D'Antoni has some advice for Knicks fans pulling their hair out because of their team's maddeningly inconsistent play of late: Relax.

"Hang in there. We're hanging in there. We are pedaling as fast as we can pedal,'' D'Antoni said before last night's game against the Grizzlies. You can see there are some deficiencies and some holes. Our defense has gotten a little worse and we've got to get better.

"We've got to work at it, and it's going to take some sweat and some things . . . The biggest thing is not to exaggerate where we are, and hang in and keep working."

Entering Thursday night, the Knicks split 12 games since bringing in Carmelo Anthony to team with Amar'e Stoudemire. That includes two losses each to the Pacers and Cavaliers, two below-.500 teams.

"We lost four games we shouldn't have lost, so if we were 10-2, we'd be OK," D'Antoni said. "But we are not, so we just have to keep building, keep getting a little bit better and just hang in there." So, in essence, the Knicks don't share their fans' anxiety.

"The biggest thing -- and I'll just keep repeating -- is we are not going to get caught up in the hysteria," D'Antoni said. "We are going to be who we are and we are going to play as well as we can and get it together"

 

Jeffries gets the nod

Jared Jeffries found himself back in the starting lineup Thursday night. Jeffries started six straight games before being replaced in the starting lineup by Shawne Williams in the Knicks' two-point loss to the Pacers Tuesday night. With the Knicks failing to get the job done on the interior against Indiana, D'Antoni thought Jeffries was the better option against Memphis. "We need some defense," D'Antoni said, "and hopefully this will help a little bit."