Two days removed from the 50-point massacre in Manhattan, the Knicks look to regroup tonight against another struggling franchise in Minnesota.
Team president Donnie Walsh, though, said although the Knicks have lost six of its last eight, now isn’t the time to panic.
“What I’ve found is when you panic, you make large mistakes,” said Walsh. “So it’s not that I like where we are [but] it’s that until something better presents itself you have to keep doing the things you’re doing.”
Walsh indicated after Monday’s practice that naturally the front office is looking to improve the team. But he also said just because the Knicks might be interested in a certain player, it doesn’t mean the other team is willing to work with them because “it takes two to tango.”
The Knicks [17-26] certainly got danced on, Sunday, suffering its worst home loss [50 points] since 1960. Yet, to a man, they don’t think there’ll be any residual effects tonight. Not when the hapless T-Wolves [9-36] are coming to town.
“Minnesota is a team we should obviously beat,” declared Al Harrington, who noted they have six winnable games coming up with Minnesota and Washington – twice each – and Toronto and Milwaukee.
“Since our 1-9 start we‘ve had a lot of bounce-back games. “We have some games coming up that are winnable, so hopefully we can put that [Dallas] loss behind us.”
Harrington, who’s nursing a sore left knee, agreed with Walsh that things should turn around and that if New York can beat the teams they should, things will fall into place.
“We just have to find a way to stay right there [within playoff reach],” said Harrington. “Just win as many games as possible.”
David Lee was also upbeat – well, as upbeat as one can be after the shellacking he sustained, Sunday.
“I tried to keep a smile on my face [Monday], which hasn’t been easy,” Lee quipped. “That was one of those games where it was so bad that it was easier to let go than say making a mistake in the last second and having a team beat you.
“But we just can’t let it carry over into the next game. That’s how a team like Minnesota can sneak up on you and beat you. They have the talent but they’re not in the best of times either, so hopefully we can get the win.”
The Knicks, for all their looking ahead at an inferior schedule, should note the last time they thought Minnesota would be an elixir, they came into Garden and rolled the Knicks, 120-107, in a game that wasn’t even that close. The T-Wolves were up by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter, so New York should be careful for what it wishes.
-Walsh had a special friend visit practice yesterday, all-time Indiana Pacer great Mel Daniels. But Walsh was quick to point out that Daniels was only there as a friend and not to be added to the payroll.
“Mel Daniels is my friend of 30 years,” Walsh said of the former Pacer center who averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds per game in the ABA. “Because of being let go by Indiana [in November], he has nothing to do so he’s just here to visit me personally and hang out with me. He’s not here to be hired…he’s an original Pacer, so his heart has always been there.”
-Harrington has his own fondness of Daniels and plenty of anecdotes to tell of the man with the infamous vice-like handshake.
“He’s Uncle Mel to me,” said Harrington, who broke into laughter after telling his favorite Daniels story.
“He broke my [former] agent’s hand. No really, he broke Andy Miller’s hand with his handshake. That [handshake] is serious.”
-Besides Daniels stopping by, eyebrows were raise when Walsh’s team of scouts came by for rare face-to-face meetings. Walsh, however, was quick to point out it happens more times than outsiders would believe and not to think something “big” is about to happen.
“Don’t make a big deal about that,” he said in mock exasperation. “They were coming here two months ago, too. But I will pick their brains about guys we don’t see a lot or play against a lot… we’d do the same thing [having the scouts come in for a meeting] even if we hadn’t lost [Sunday].”