The New York Knicks wake up Saturday morning with the third-worst record in the NBA.
They have played only 21 games but are already 13 games under .500.
Still, Amar'e Stoudemire views the Atlantic Division as "wide open" at this point.
“With Toronto and [DeMar] DeRozan being hurt now, you never know how that team is going to end up. Brooklyn’s not playing great. The division is still open,” Stoudemire said after the Knicks' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night. "We've just got to turn this thing around."
DeRozan is out indefinitely with a torn tendon in his left groin, and the Raptors have won two of four since the shooting guard went down.
The Knicks are 11.5 games behind first-place Toronto entering play Saturday. They've also lost seven straight and 16 of their past 18.
Stoudemire's comments were prompted by a question about the team’s season spiraling away. Still, at 4-17 and 5.5 games back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks would be fortunate to make the playoffs at this point.
Unless the landscape in the division changes dramatically, winning the Atlantic seems to be an unrealistic goal for New York.
Fish has to run on floor to get timeout
What does a coach have to do to get a timeout these days?
Knicks coach Derek Fisher had to run to halfcourt to get the attention of the referees and call a timeout late in the fourth quarter on Thursday. In the Knicks' previous game, referees ignored Fisher’s attempts to call a timeout late in the fourth.
He made sure his request was recognized on Thursday.
“I think they’re trying to just watch the action in the game. It’s something that many coaches are concerned about,” Fisher said. “They want us not to walk on the court that way. I don’t know if you can get a timeout if you don’t. It’s not something that you want to have to do. It may not look great on television, but you want to make sure you get a timeout called.”
Fisher says lineups haven’t impacted performance
The Knicks have used 11 different starting lineups in 20 games. On Thursday, Fisher started Stoudemire at center and brought Sam Dalembert off the bench.
Dalembert said all of the different lineups present a challenge.
“I always say that's why we’re professional, we have to adapt," he said. "As a team, we kind of realize that, we see that."
Fisher, though, doesn’t think the lineup shuffle has impacted the team’s development.
“We've played a lot of people just about every night this season with the injuries and things that have impacted us,” Fisher said. “So I don’t know if 'comfortable with each other' is even a word for our team right now in terms of all the changes. But we’re definitely not seeing a negative impact per se in terms of guys not feeling like they know what their teammate is going to do.
“It’s actually the beauty of what the system provides -- the consistency of what your teammates' actions are based on what happens.”
For what it’s worth, Dalembert had no problem with not starting at center. He does seem perplexed by the Knicks’ struggles. Dalembert says the Knicks have strong practices but haven’t yet figured out how to transfer them to the court.
“A lot of times it’s a little confusing for all of us,” Dalembert said. “The way we’re practicing, we haven’t found a way to consistently transfer that to the gam. ... I don’t know if it’s a mental thing [or] what is it exactly.”
Question: Do you agree with Stoudemire? Do the Knicks have a shot to win the Atlantic? Or is Stoudemire being totally unrealistic?