The Knicks are closing in on their first 60-loss season. Still, coach Derek Fisher admits it's a little shocking when he sees his team's record in print.
"I think it's always eye-opening when you look at the boxscore after the game notes and you see the wins and losses," Fisher said before the Knicks fell to a league-worst 14-59 with Friday night's 96-92 loss to the Celtics at Madison Square Garden. "I guess as a coach it'll be on my resume or record per se."
It's been a baptism by fire for the Knicks' rookie coach. Less than three months into the season, team president Phil Jackson decided to tear apart the team and position it for a complete rebuild. Still, it's hard to imagine he anticipated he would be involved in a situation this bleak.
The Knicks now have lost 59 games five times in franchise history. They went 23-59 under Hubie Brown in 1985-86, under Larry Brown in 2005-06 and under Isiah Thomas in 2007-08. They were 21-59 under Eddie Donovan in an 80-game schedule in 1962-63, officially the worst record in franchise history.
Fisher, however, thinks it's unfair to judge the players currently in a Knicks uniform by what has happened in the past.
"I don't think for players it should be a concern at all in terms of who they are as young men and who they're trying to become as players," Fisher said. "And so they shouldn't carry the burden of what the franchise has done over the past 40 years when most of them weren't even born. It's really just about their maturity and growth in the game. Hopefully, many of the guys are back here next year and years going forward and they'll be able to look back on the year as a difficult learning experience but be better for it."
The win was an important one for the Celtics (32-40), one of five teams battling for the final two playoff spots with less than three weeks left in the regular season.
Notes & quotes: Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points and Shane Larkin added 14 points and six assists for the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas had 18, Jae Crowder 17, Brandon Bass 16 and Evan Turner 15 for the Celtics . . . Jose Calderon said he expects to be in a walking boot at least 10 more days. Though he doesn't want to rule out returning before the end of the season, he said it is unlikely. Calderon suffered an Achilles injury at the end of February. He was averaging 9.1 points and 4.7 assists per game . . . Fisher said he is confident that Kevin Durant will come back from foot surgery in top form next season. Said Fisher, who was a teammate of Durant's last season: "There's a lot of basketball that will be left for him to play, and probably some of his best."