Will the team meeting the Knicks held on Saturday be considered the turning point of their season?
Only time will tell, which is why despite an impressive 104-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, the players were only cautiously optimistic that the hour they spent clearing the air on Saturday will help bring them together.
“I think so, but I can’t sit here and say it changed everything,” point guard Derrick Rose said after practice on Monday. “It’s only one meeting. It was only one game. If we lose [Tuesday night], I mean, what’s the point of talking about things?”
The team meeting, which also included team president Phil Jackson and coach Jeff Hornacek, was held at the first practice after a difficult loss at Washington. Players clearly were upset after the loss, a game in which they fell behind by 27 points. They have expressed some frustration with the triangle offense and question whether it suits the players’ strengths.
In the fourth quarter of the loss to the Wizards, they scored 47 points by freelancing more and using pick-and-rolls. The Knicks also utilized Anthony in pick-and-rolls in their win over Atlanta, and he scored 31 points to match his season high.
Anthony said at Monday’s practice that he thought the meeting was important.“I think it was very much necessary, just from the simple fact that it’s still early,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure some things out. But in the midst of trying to figure some things out, it can be frustrating, it can get frustrating, when things don’t go our way. So it felt good to kind of just talk about it and see where everybody was at.”
Anthony was asked if there had been a defiant tone to the meeting.
“No, no, no, no. It wasn’t no yelling. Nobody was upset,” he said. “It was just more everybody got an opportunity to say what they had to say, say what they were feeling. I think a lot of times it’s good to get that out there. Sometimes you never know what guys are going through. Everybody has their own different situation that they’re dealing with when it comes to their perspective on playing basketball. So it’s always good to get that in a group setting and get it out, kind of hear where people are at.”
Jackson has not commented on the meeting. Anthony earlier said Jackson “just listened this time, which is good.”
Hornacek said he participated in plenty of team meetings when he was a player and generally has found them to be a good thing.
“Yeah, usually guys say what’s on their mind instead of mumbling about it and they get it out there and then it’s done with,” he said. “Some it’s good, some it maybe alerts guys to understanding the way a guy thinks. So yeah, as long as doesn’t turn into a session of guys pointing fingers at each other, it’s great.”
Notes & quotes: The Knicks (6-7) have won three of their last four heading into Tuesday night’s game against Portland. They have not had a .500 record since they opened 1-1 . . . Joakim Noah, who missed Sunday’s game, also missed Monday’s practice with an illness and is listed as doubtful for Tuesday night. Kyle O’Quinn, who started on Sunday and had a solid first quarter, likely will start in Noah’s place again.