GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Knicks may keep changing
the lineups, but not the coach.
Isiah Thomas said Monday he would remain as coach, nearly two
weeks after saying it would be fair to evaluate his performance in
a "couple of weeks."
"We'll keep moving in this direction," Thomas said Monday when
reminded of those comments after practice.
Asked what direction that was, Thomas responded: "Me as the
Thomas, also the team president, was asked following practice on
Dec. 18 how he would evaluate the coach if he were the general
manager, and if he thought a change could be necessary there.
"That's a better question in a couple of weeks and not today,
but in a couple of weeks," Thomas said at the time. "We'll see if
we can come out of this. If we can't come out of this, then those
are fair questions."
The Knicks haven't shown any signs of coming out of it. Though
Thomas has made lineup changes before the last two games, New York
has lost four in a row, falling to 8-21. Only the Miami Heat (8-23)
have a worse record in the Eastern Conference.
Following a 100-83 loss to Chicago on Sunday, center Eddy Curry
acknowledged that some players may be concerned about Thomas'
"You can't help but think about it, but we're trying," Curry
said. "We're trying to win games, but I think it's definitely in
the back of some people's minds. Just like we're really trying and
we hope that our owner knows that we're trying and we don't believe
that it's his fault that we're losing like this."
Thomas said Monday he wasn't worried about it, and said the
players shouldn't be, either.
"No, only thing that concerns me is can we stop the other guy
and can we put the ball in the hole," Thomas said. "And that
really should be the only thing on their minds. Put the ball in the
hole and stop your man from scoring and get a couple of rebounds."
The last part may have been a dig at Curry, who came off the
bench Sunday for the first time in two years. Thomas has been
frustrated with the defense and rebounding of the 6-foot-11 center,
who is averaging only 5.1 boards, worse than his 5.5 career average
coming into the season.
Curry grabbed eight rebounds Sunday off the bench.
"It shows me that while he may not like the bench, it
definitely had an effect on his rebounding effort and if he
continues to rebound, then the minutes are there," Thomas said.
"But from that position, we need rebounding and some shot
blocking. And if we can't get the shot blocking, then we definitely
need the rebounding. So you just can't have 16 points and two
rebounds. That doesn't work."
The Knicks could make another lineup change Wednesday against
Sacramento if either of their starting guards is ready to go.
Leading scorer Jamal Crawford, who missed Sunday's game with a
bruised right hand, shot around during practice with a protective
glove and said he expected to play. The Knicks called him
Stephon Marbury practiced, and Thomas said it would be the point
guard's decision if he would return. Marbury has played in only
three of 13 games since his father died on Dec. 2.