Knicks fans have no plans to take president Phil Jackson's full-on tanking strategy lying down.
Just days after some fans chanted for New York to fire first-year coach Derek Fisher, five Madison Square Garden patrons donned paper bags over their heads during the Knicks' 120-96 loss to the Rockets on Thursday. The group sat in courtside seats near the Rockets bench and included men wearing jerseys belonging to Amar'e Stoudemire (who is out injured) and Iman Shumpert (who was traded to the Cavaliers on Tuesday).
New York's loss to Houston marked its 14th consecutive defeat, the first time it has lost that many straight games in a single season. Fisher was without All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, who are all injured. The Knicks were also without J.R. Smith and Shumpert, who were traded in a salary dump earlier this week, and Samuel Dalembert, who was released for financial reasons. New York's starting lineup on Thursday featured Jose Calderon, Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jason Smith and Cole Aldrich. The only member of the Knicks' opening night starting lineup who took the court against the Rockets was Shane Larkin.
The sad scene recalled the famous April 17, 2000, Sports Illustrated cover, which depicted three Clippers fans wearing bags on their heads with the headline, "The worst franchise in sports history."
The Knicks currently rank No. 25 in offense, No. 28 in defense and No. 28 in point differential. New York is 1-24 in its last 25 games and is on track for the worst winning percentage in franchise history.
Travis Wear led the Knicks with 21 points (on 9-of-16 shooting) and five rebounds. Langston Galloway added 19 points and four rebounds.
James Harden scored a game-high 25 points (on 8-of-17 shooting) and added nine assists. Dwight Howard tacked on 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Houston improved to 25-11. New York dropped to a league-worst 5-34.