While the Kristaps Porzingis-less Knicks are stuck in another season of mediocrity, it's pretty clear after Sunday's win over the Grizzlies that new coach David Fizdale has earned his team's respect. Fizdale coached the Grizzlies from 2016 to 2017, a stint that included one of the best press conferences in NBA history. But he was terminated 19 games into the 2017-18 season after his squad failed to live up to its potential. Fizdale spent the rest of the year away from the NBA before signing a four-year deal in New York, and he couldn't sidestep what the win meant after the game.
''You're getting me emotional because I can't put it into words,'' Fizdale told the New York Daily News after the win. "My suit is ruined. Emmanuel [Mudiay] came up to me, him and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] both, were just hugging me and telling me it was for me. And then they all came in and I lost it [crying]."
His new squad proved that they knew what his first return to Memphis meant to their coach with their inspired play, with Enes Kanter dropping 21 points and a career-high 26 rebounds in the upset win on Memphis' home court.
"I know I took it personal," Mudiay said after scoring 17 and dishing four assists. "Actually all of us took it personal. We wanted to come out here and get a win for him."
Mudiay slammed home a dunk off a turnover late to thwart Memphis' comeback and give their coach a much-needed respite following a difficult start to the year. However, with the victory, the Knicks have won their last three, all against teams with a record above .500. So, if you've got season tickets to MSG, you're seeing some inspired play of late. On the flip side, if you were counting on Zion Williamson in the orange and blue, it might have you a tad worried.