In a stunning move, Mike D’Antoni has abruptly resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks.
What a difference a month makes. In February, the Knicks experienced a renaissance with the emergence of Jeremy Lin. At one point, the Knicks had won eight out of nine games including victories over the L.A. Lakers and the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.
However, it’s gone from Linsanity to just plain insanity. Call it March Madness if you will. Since Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup after recovering from a groin injury, the Knicks have lost eight of their last ten games. They are winless in March and last won a game on February 29th against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks are currently tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
D’Antoni and Anthony have clashed over on court strategy. D’Antoni emphasizes the passing game at which Lin excels while Anthony prefers to take shots on net. In the final year of a four-year contract, D’Antoni only led the Knicks to the playoffs last year only to be swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round. Between 2005 and 2008, D’Antoni guided the Phoenix Suns to four straight playoff apperances. Mike Woodson, an assistant to D’Antoni and formerly the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, has assumed coaching duties for tonight although it is not clear if he will be named interim coach for the rest of the season.
Tonight, the Knicks host the Portland Trailblazers at MSG. I have a feeling that fans at the Garden will blame Anthony for this sordid affair and let him have it. If they do, the jeers could turn to cheers if Anthony sinks a three pointer to give them a win at the buzzer. Although that seems more up Lin’s alley.