ATLANTA - Another game, another different starting lineup for the Knicks.
For the fourth straight game, Derek Fisher changed up the first team. He has used five different starting units in seven games.
In early October, Fisher said he hoped to have a set starting five. But injuries to Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani and the Knicks' play have had him shaking things up almost nightly. Only Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Samuel Dalembert have started every game.
Fisher started small in Saturday night's 103-96 loss to Atlanta, going with Shane Larkin, Tim Hardaway Jr., Shumpert, Anthony and Dalembert. The Knicks play the Hawks again Monday night, but Fisher isn't sure he will go with the same lineup.
"In some ways it has been [difficult],'' he said. "Not just with the injuries, but also our inconsistent performance in terms of the right balance of five guys that offensively and defensively give us a chance to be competitive, no matter what time in the game it is.''
Fisher has started the same lineup twice -- Larkin, Shumpert, Anthony, Quincy Acy and Dalembert. Those two games are the only ones the Knicks have won.
Although Dalembert has started every game, his playing time has been inconsistent. He has been on court less than six minutes twice. Dalembert is averaging 2.7 points and 4.4 rebounds.
"Sam's a good rim protector, a guy that rebounds well for us. He's been our best post passer out of our offense, so we can use all those things he does well for us," Fisher said. " . . . Sam's still a valuable member of our team and we love having what he brings for us."
Iman hard on himself
Shumpert took Friday's loss hard. He blamed himself for not containing Deron Williams and said, "I got abused in my matchup.'' Fisher called it "admirable'' but unnecessary. "I think it says a lot about the leadership that he's trying to grow into as a player,'' he said. "Teams win together and lose together. It's admirable that he would say it.''