GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Derek Fisher expected growing pains and plenty of them as the Knicks learn the triangle offense, but he also put them on the clock.
After essentially excusing their poor play on both ends of the floor in Wednesday night's 20-point preseason loss against Boston, the first-year coach said they'd better figure things out by the Oct. 29 regular-season opener.
"It may take us some time to look good doing it, but we still have to figure out how to win right from the start," Fisher said after practice Thursday. "We're not interested in starting the season and saying just because we're still getting to know this, it's OK. We want to be good right away."
The Knicks' preseason debut proved they have a long way to go, and as Fisher said, they are "ways away" from being title contenders.
They committed 28 turnovers, were a step (at least) slow defensively and trailed the Celtics by as many as 28 points. The common theme in the locker room afterward was they were thinking too much.
So Fisher put the Knicks through a lengthy practice Thursday that included a video session that showed them their defensive mistakes and reinforced their concepts.
J.R. Smith said it will take the Knicks "a few months" to fully get the triangle. Fisher, who won five titles playing in the triangle, said it's up to the player.
"I do think collectively as a group, we can expect to take several weeks," he said. "Whether it's four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, I'm not sure. A lot of it is how guys come together as a team, and I think in a large way, that's the most important part."
After the game, Fisher pointed out that the Knicks had 20 assists. He thought they were moving the ball and trying to play the right way, and that they didn't necessarily prepare for the Celtics. They're just working on their offense and trying to figure out what lineups work best together.
Fisher, who completed his 18-year playing career in May, said it's difficult to be patient. But winning as much as he has with the system makes it easier.
"Regardless of where you are in life or in your career, patience is difficult," Fisher said. "You find that eventually when you become a champion and you look back on all the times where the adversity hit and the setbacks and all the times when you could have given up on the process. That's why you see grown men cry when that gold trophy comes out.
"We realize that we're a ways away from that. That's not for us right now. But at the same time we realize that we're building habits to get to that. That requires patience. There's no way around it."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks said Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire had recovery days and did not participate in practice. Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni were in for only parts of practice. Calderon's left ankle was heavily taped, but Fisher said he hadn't "been informed there's an ankle issue of any kind."