Leon Rose’s first week as the president of the New York Knicks featured the best win of the season, which was all but overshadowed by a controversy involving superfan Spike Lee, and then two losses where chants of “Sell the Team” were drowned out by loud music in the final minutes on at least one occasion.
The Knicks hope the second week of Rose’s tenure is less eventful, and it starts Sunday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.
On Feb. 4, two days before the trade deadline, the Knicks fired Steve Mills, who was unable to land Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or any big name in free agency.
Mills had put then-coach David Fizdale on notice 10 games into the season after a blowout loss to Cleveland on Nov. 10, and then fired him on Dec. 6, one day after a 37-point home loss to Denver.
Rose quickly became a favorite to become the New York’s president, and he officially took over on Monday. The former agent at Creative Artists Agency watched from his seat at center court as the Knicks pulled out a two-point win over the Houston Rockets, only to occur on the same night Lee was told by security to not use the employee entrance.
A day after Lee said he was not attending any home games the rest of the season, the Knicks lost by eight to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
They followed that up Friday with a 23-point loss to Oklahoma City, when they were 4 of 24 from 3-point range and allowed at least 120 points for the 24th time this season. They also lost by 20-plus points for the 15th time, and loud music drowned out derisive chants at owner Jim Dolan, who watched the game from his baseline seat near New York’s bench.
“I don’t think we took away much,” New York interim coach Mike Miller said. “I think they got everything. From the way I saw it during the game, the first 10 minutes of the first quarter, I thought we were pretty solid and pretty locked in. From that point on, we had a lot of slippage.”
When New York won four straight games in February, the finale was a 95-92 victory in Detroit. That loss for the Pistons is part of a stretch of 10 losses in 11 games. The team Andre Drummond the day after losing to New York.
Seven of those 10 defeats have come by single digits, and on Saturday, the Pistons trailed by 22 before rallying, but ultimately losing 111-105 to the Utah Jazz because of a 5 1/2-minute span without a basket in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t aggressive enough in the first quarter, so maybe we will start trapping in the first part of the game or whatever it takes to get us going,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said after his team fell behind by 11 after the first quarter Saturday.
Christian Wood scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as he continues to capitalize on increased minutes in Detroit’s starting frontcourt. He is averaging 23.1 points in seven games since the All-Star break while playing about 33 minutes per game. That compares with averaging 11.2 in his first 53 games when he played 19.1 minutes.
Detroit is 8-1 in the past nine meetings with New York.