After a 21-point blowout loss at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressed the media to express their displeasure with the team’s struggles.
“We’re not happy with where we are,” said Mills. “This is not where we expected to be at this point — 10 games in.”
Sunday’s loss dropped the Knicks to 2-8 on the season and was their third loss of at least 20 points in the last four games, the second at Madison Square Garden in that span.
The Cavs opened the second half on an 18-6 run and led the Knicks by as many as 30 in the third quarter. After a layup by Collin Sexton at the 6:48 mark of the quarter, fans booed the Knicks.
Perry said the team has lacked consistency when it comes to effort.
“I think the lack of consistency — that for the most part we’ve seen it, but you see sporadic efforts too,” Perry said. “And that’s what we talked about as we sat during this game, and one of the reasons we wanted to come out and address you guys. Because we got to be consistent in all areas of the game, starting with the effort.”
Despite the struggles, Mills said the front office still believes in coach David Fizdale.
“We have patience and we believe in coach,” Mills said. “And we believe in the group that we put together, but we also know that, as Scott and I both have said a number of times, we need to find a way to have a consistent level of effort and execution.”
“Got to own that our home consistency is not there,” Fizdale said after the game. “I take full responsibility for that.”
The Knicks didn’t necessarily have playoff expectations this season after whiffing on landing a big free agent in the offseason, but they were expected to be more competitive than last season’s league-worst 17-65 team. So far, that hasn’t been the case.
“We’re not here focused on the record,” Mills said. “We’re focused on improvement and delivering a consistent effort, because we believe that if this team plays with the kind of effort that they played against Dallas that we’ll win basketball games.”
Prior to Cleveland, the Knicks played the Mavericks on Friday, earning their second win of the season in Kristaps Porzingis‘ first game against his former team. Offseason acquisitions Marcus Morris Sr. (29 points) and Julius Randle (21) led the team in scoring in the 106-102 win.
“[Mills and Perry are] right. We need to win,” Morris said after Sunday’s loss. “We got great players. We got great chemistry. We got great guys on this team. … If I was front office, I’d be upset too. Our coaches are doing a great job. We just got to be better. They’re not the ones giving up 20 point leads in the beginning of the first half. That’s us. It’s all on us, and we have to own it.”
Mills said team owner Jim Dolan still believes in the plan he and Perry have in place but wants to see better results on the court.
“He’s passionate as we are about this,” Mills said. “So he would want us to have better results on the floor as well. And I think Jim is a fan and believes in what we’re doing, but he has the same kind of expectations that we have.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.