DENVER - The Knicks, on pace for a franchise-worst season, took their 50th loss in blowout fashion Monday night, falling to the Nuggets, 106-78.
In that circumstance, it can be hard to hold on to core beliefs. But coach Derek Fisher said before the game that he still believes in one of team president Phil Jackson's pet precepts.
No, not the triangle. Fisher has said all season he's not abandoning that system.
Fisher was talking about "mindfulness training" -- the group meditation exercises the players go through at Jackson's behest.
"Yes, we have tried to carry it out," Fisher said. "We've done some things collectively as a group. Some guys have done some things individually. It's always hard to measure how much that adds up to wins and losses, per se. But there definitely is a part of this business that involves the development of the whole person and not just the athlete."
The mindfulness training didn't help Monday night for the Knicks, who have 12 wins.
Alexey Shved, in his first start with the Knicks, scored 19 points. Langston Galloway had 14, Andrea Bargnani 12 and Cleanthony Early 10.
Kenneth Faried scored 19 and Wilson Chandler and Wil Barton added 17 each for Denver (23-41).
The Nuggets recently fired coach Brian Shaw, who is a Jackson disciple just like his pal Fisher. You'd think Fisher might envy Shaw at this point, but the rookie coach said he's a true believer in the Jackson method despite what has happened this season.
"You can't just lift weights and shoot baskets and not develop the mind," Fisher said. "The idea is that you want to develop a way to view yourself and view how you need to prepare yourself to train and to perform and to play . . . Phil's been doing this for a long time. I believe in it, and it's going to be something that we continue to do."
Forward Jason Smith said the Knicks have had more than 10 of the sessions sprinkled throughout the season.
"It's making sure you're in the positive mind-set and in the moment and pushing out the static you have in your life and all the stresses and focus on making the best of the moment," Smith said. "It's really just mindful training of conscious breathing. It reminds me of yoga -- make sure the body is centered and balanced and focusing on the moment."
One of Jackson's signature moves as coach of the Bulls and Lakers was giving players books to read to help them on and off the court. Fisher said he got books as a player from Jackson but admitted he didn't always read them. He also said he hasn't started handing out books yet as a coach.
"There's a whole person involved in a successful basketball player and I think reading is important," he said. "So it's not really just about giving a guy a book to read and that's going to help him make more three-pointers. But how is he developing as a person and as a man?
"I'll make suggestions. This is my first year, so I think there will be a lot of things I'll do and be able to build into. But I wasn't necessarily in a rush to start a book club this year. We've got a lot going on."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks were without Tim Hardaway Jr. (back spasms) and Quincy Acy (sore left knee). Lou Amundson returned after missing a game with back spasms.