New York Knicks: Mark Jackson

Phil Jackson and Derek FisherAndrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesNew Knicks president Phil Jackson may finally get his man this week.
This finally could be the week when Phil Jackson hires a head coach.

According to our man Marc Stein, the Knicks will ramp up their chase for Derek Fisher, with the expectation that he will become their next coach.

This time, Jackson had better get his man. Simply put, if Fisher says no to the Knicks and opts to continue playing, or just doesn’t find coaching at the Garden appealing, Jackson will really be hurting to find a coaching candidate from his triangle tree whom he can sell to the players and the fan base.

Fisher
Fisher
The idea of Fisher becoming the next Doc Rivers or Mark Jackson or Jason Kidd is certainly much more appealing than bringing in a Kurt Rambis, Rick Fox or Luke Walton.

Fox recently told NBC Sports Radio that he is a candidate for the Knicks coaching job.

Is it possible that if Fisher says no, Phil could take a look at Jeff Van Gundy or Jackson? The fans would certainly love that, but I still doubt it would happen.

This is Phil Jackson's first coaching hire, his first chance to put his biggest stamp yet on the organization and begin the process of executing his vision for turning around the Knicks. He is going to want someone from his circle -- which he made clear is “a big circle.” The Zen Master is going to want to groom his own coaching star in the making, as Pat Riley has done with Erik Spoelstra down in Miami.

Steve Kerr and Fisher might be Jackson's two biggest stars-in-waiting from his coaching tree.

Jackson
Jackson
In my mind, Fisher very well could be better than Kerr. He might not have had the playmaking ability or Hall-of-Fame vision Kidd had as a player (the vision certainly has helped Kidd as a coach), but Fisher has made a ton of big shots in the playoffs and knows how to perform under pressure. He knows what it takes to win, having won five championships with the Lakers, a couple of them as a starter.

He has been through playoff battles with Jackson and knows as well as anyone what Jackson wants and expects. He also has experienced all sorts of drama (he played with Shaq and Kobe) and can handle the gamut of personalities and manage stars (playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook).

Players around the league respect Fisher and teammates loved him -- another aspect that greatly benefited Kidd with his players during his rookie coaching season. Carmelo Anthony has faced Fisher enough to know and respect him, which should benefit Jackson next month when he is trying to convince Melo to stay.


But Jackson can’t let this Fish slip away like Kerr. He needs to get this done, even if it may mean overpaying for him. Because after Fisher, the triangle options are considerably less appealing, no matter how big Jackson says his circle is.

Jax: Not everyone's 'made' for NYC

June, 4, 2014
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Jackson
Jackson
Mark Jackson didn’t want to talk on Wednesday about his interest in the Knicks’ job. He didn’t want to say whether he’d been contacted by Knicks president Phil Jackson for the opening.

But the Brooklyn-born Jackson did have one clear message when it came to the Knicks’ head coaching vacancy, “Everybody’s not made for New York City,” Jackson, an ESPN analyst, said on a conference call to promote the NBA Finals.

Jackson expanded on his point.

“It’s something about the fans. It’s something about the pressure. It’s something about the media. So to be quite honest, everybody is not built for it," Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach, said.

"It’s a different animal. It’s a different monster and it takes a special personality and a person understanding the things that come into play to a ‘t.’ And I thought -– obviously I’m biased -– but I thought [fellow ESPN analyst] Jeff [Van Gundy] did an incredible job juggling all of them during his time as coach of the Knicks. But everybody’s not capable or qualified to do just that.”

Jackson also clearly stated that he wasn’t talking only about coaches.

“That’s whether you’re management, whether you’re playing, whether you’re coaching,” Jackson said. “I remember as a kid watching very good to great players play other places, be traded to the Knicks and not be the same type player. Whereas some propelled when they got the opportunity to put on a Knick uniform.”

Jackson’s views on performing in New York -– particularly as a head coach -– are relevant because Phil Jackson is the middle of a coaching search that may or may not include the former Knicks' and St. John's star.

Jackson
Jackson
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported earlier this week that Phil Jackson hasn't fully ruled out a sit-down with Mark Jackson, a Knicks fan favorite who has rejoined ESPN as a broadcaster after his dismissal by the Warriors. But sources maintain that Phil Jackson wants to hire a young coach he can mold and mentor and who won't be put off by his hands-on presence early on.

Derek Fisher is considered to be a leading candidate at this time. Phil Jackson has yet to talk to Fisher but is expected to do so by the end of the week.

Jackson has also stated that he wants to hire a coach with whom he has a previous relationship.

“I like to have a relationship -- a prior relationship -- with a coach, so that we know that we’ve gone through some kinds of issues together, we’ve dealt with some type of battle situations, we’ve had conflicts, and we’ve had disagreements, and we know how to work things out,” Jackson said last week.

Mark Jackson and Phil Jackson do not have a prior relationship. Phil Jackson also has never worked with Van Gundy. That would appear to put both Jackson and Van Gundy at the bottom of the list of Knicks coaching candidates -– despite support from the team’s fan base for both coaches’ candidacies.

Mark Jackson, an ex-Knicks and St. John’s star, on Wednesday acknowledged that he’d heard the groundswell of support for his candidacy among some Knicks fans.

“Obviously you hear the talk,” said Jackson, who refuted a report that he would be hesitant to work with Phil Jackson. “... It’s an incredible job, it’s an incredible opportunity and I’m sure that Phil Jackson will do an outstanding job of finding the right coach to get that organization and get that team headed back in the right situation.”

Both men declined to say whether they were interested in the Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers openings.

"If the team’s ever want to state what their plans are before they name a coach, that’s up to them," Van Gundy, the ex-Knicks coach, said. "I think it’s best that I don’t get involved with that."

Question: Do you think Phil Jackson should speak to Mark Jackson or Jeff Van Gundy about the Knicks head coaching vacancy?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Source: Melo would embrace Mark Jackson

May, 29, 2014
May 29
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Phil Jackson is considering several factors as he searches for the Knicks' next coach.

Age is one; Phil would prefer a young coach over a retread.

Offensive philosophy is another; Phil is believed to be searching for someone with a strong knowledge of the triangle.

But there’s another factor Phil may be considering during his coaching search: Carmelo Anthony's free agency.

Anthony is expected to opt out of the final season of his contract and test free agency this summer. The Knicks can pay him $33 million more than any other suitor. But Anthony has said his top priority is competing for an NBA title. So the Knicks’ next coach -- whomever he is -- will likely factor in Anthony’s decision.

We haven’t heard from Anthony since shortly after the regular season. So we don’t know how he felt about Mike Woodson's firing or the failed Steve Kerr courtship. And we haven’t yet heard his thoughts on Derek Fisher, the odds-on favorite to land the Knicks job.

But here's what we do know: One source familiar with Anthony’s thinking on the matter said recently that the star forward would “embrace” the opportunity to play for Mark Jackson.

In no way, the source stressed, does that mean Anthony wants to play only for Mark Jackson. It also doesn’t mean he would be uncomfortable playing for Fisher or any other candidate Jackson chooses to hire.

But he would be content with the idea of playing for Jackson, who led Golden State to back-to-back playoff appearances.

In talking to people around the NBA about Jackson and the Knicks, one point that’s been made again and again is the idea that Jackson would handle the Knicks’ locker room well.

The Knicks are coming off a 37-win season in which players at times questioned the coaching staff's approach. Some players also questioned their teammates' commitment to winning. Jackson gained a tremendous amount of respect from the players in the Warriors' locker room, many of whom publicly questioned the treatment of their coach while his job was in jeopardy.

So what does that mean for Jackson's candidacy for the Knicks job? Not much, it appears.

There has been no indication Phil Jackson has any plans to interview Mark Jackson at this point. ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reported this month that the Zen Master would be "open" to talking to the ex-Warriors coach about the job, but it is unknown if there has been any contact between them yet.

Jackson would like to hire someone he can mold, similar to the path Pat Riley took with Erik Spoelstra in Miami. He’d also like someone with a strong knowledge of the triangle offense. Mark Jackson doesn’t fit either of those categories.

But if Phil Jackson is taking Anthony’s free agency into account while searching for the next Knicks coach, should he take a stronger look at Mark Jackson?

Question: Do you think Phil Jackson should consider Mark Jackson as the Knicks' next head coach? Should Phil, while searching for his coach, take into account whom Carmelo would be comfortable playing for?

Happy B-Day: Thursday is Anthony's 30th birthday. Anthony needs just 42 points to reach the 20,000-point plateau. In NBA history, only LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan scored more points before their 30th birthday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Knicks and Bucks will play in London at the O2 on Jan. 15, the NBA announced Thursday. The game is part of NBA Global Games for the 2014-15 season. The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves will play at the Mexico City Arena on Nov. 12.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Reggie to Phil: Interview Mark Jackson!

May, 20, 2014
May 20
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Old Knicks nemesis Reggie Miller has a message for Phil Jackson: Pick up the phone and call Mark Jackson!

“Shouldn’t he [Mark Jackson] get an interview just going off of his résumé?” Miller said Tuesday afternoon on a conference call to promote TNT’s coverage of the Western Conference finals. “... He certainly should get an interview. I’m not saying he should get the job. If Phil Jackson wants to go with a guy that he’s familiar with [and] that understands the triangle, he has every right to do that. But certainly Mark Jackson should get at least an interview.”

It’s unclear at this point if the Zen Master will reach out to Mark Jackson.

[+] EnlargeReggie/Spike
Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesReggie Miller gives Mark Jackson the thumbs up.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported Sunday that Phil Jackson is open to talking to Mark Jackson about the Knicks’ job.

Phil Jackson’s preference, though, is to hire a coach he has worked with in the past and to find someone who has strong knowledge of the triangle offense.

Mark Jackson doesn’t fit either category.

Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and Tyronn Lue do, which is why all three are mentioned as potential candidates. Kurt Rambis and Mike Dunleavy Sr. are also on the Knicks’ list of potential candidates.

But, according to Stein and Shelburne, Phil Jackson has realized after missing out on Steve Kerr that the options within his “inner circle” are limited. That could prompt the coach to start looking outside of it.

Does that mean Mark Jackson, fired by the Warriors earlier this month, gets an interview for the job? Miller sure hopes so.

“[He’s] a guy that’s been born and bred in New York and knows the media landscape of New Yorkers, who knows that city, who was rookie of the year in 1987-88,” said Miller, who played with Jackson in Indiana for parts of six seasons. “Obviously he knows the climate of the New York Knicks. I think that should warrant at least an interview.”

Jackson is currently working as an NBA game analyst for ESPN, but his duties with the network aren't expected to preclude him from taking a new head-coaching position.

Miller supports Kerr’s decision, offering his thoughts on Kerr’s decision to take the Golden State job instead of coaching the Knicks.

“I love this about Steve: It came down to family. He’s a West Coast guy, his family is in San Diego, his daughter will be a sophomore at Cal-Berkeley. It made more sense for the family,” said Miller, who will serve as an analyst for the Spurs-Thunder series. “For him to uproot and go 3,000 to 4,000 miles away and have everyone come visit once a month or once every two months?

“Yeah, the glamour of New York and coaching the Knicks is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But to have your family that close and to be close to home and to have a ready-made team that won 51 games a season ago and top-10 player in Stephen Curry? I think those were the characteristics and the challenges he wanted, and I think that’s why he chose that.”

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Phil 'open' to talking to Mark Jackson

May, 19, 2014
May 19
12:48
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If you’re one of the many Knicks fans pining for Phil Jackson to hire ex-Knick Mark Jackson as the next head coach at Madison Square Garden, we have some good news for you.

Jackson
Jackson
The Zen Master is “open” to talking to Mark Jackson about the Knicks’ opening, sources tell ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.

Phil Jackson’s preference, though, is to hire a coach who he’s worked with in the past, either as a player or as an assistant, Stein and Shelburne report.

That’s why names like Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Luke Walton and Tyronn Lue are mentioned as potential head coaching candidates.

Jackson hadn’t shown a proclivity to go after anyone he hasn’t had a prior relationship with. But after being spurned by Steve Kerr, it appears his thinking may have changed.

As Stein and Shelburne reported on Sunday night: Jackson has limited options at his disposal after missing out on Kerr. And that could prompt the coach to start looking outside of his inner circle for the next Knicks’ coach.

That’s where Mark Jackson comes in. Mark Jackson and Phil Jackson have no prior relationship, so the Zen Master would have to be comfortable hiring someone he doesn’t have a prior relationship with to bring Jackson into the fold.

It’s worth noting that Mark Jackson showed over the past two seasons that he can be a fantastic coach in the NBA.

He led the Warriors to back-to-back playoff appearances and a 51-win season in 2013-14. Without injured starter Andrew Bogut, Golden State took the Clippers to seven games in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

But the Warriors fired Jackson shortly after their season ended, reportedly over clashes with management.

Mark Jackson is currently working for ESPN as an NBA game analyst. He signed a multi-year contract, but ESPN analysts in the past have taken head-coaching jobs while in the midst of their terms working for the network.

So Jackson’s ESPN work is not believed to preclude him from taking a head-coaching job.



Jackson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" last week that he believes "coaching is in my future."

"There are some great jobs available," said Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors earlier this month. "... I am excited about the next chapter in my life and what lies ahead. We'll see what happens."

As of Monday morning, Jackson hadn’t been contacted by the Knicks. Phil Jackson is in no hurry to hire a coach, sources told Stein and Shelburne. He is content to wait until the Thunder completes its season so he can talk to Derek Fisher, Stein and Shelburne report.

But if he is indeed willing to look outside of his inner circle for the next Knicks coach, Mark Jackson may be getting a phone call.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Could Mark Jackson coach the Knicks?

May, 18, 2014
May 18
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There’s a large, loud segment of Knicks fans clamoring for Phil Jackson to choose Mark Jackson as the team’s next head coach.

There’s been no indication as of yet that the Zen Master is considering Mark Jackson as his head coach.

On Saturday, ESPN announced that Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach, had reached a multiyear agreement to return to ESPN as an NBA game analyst.

So where does that leave Jackson’s prospects with the Knicks?

ESPN analysts in the past have taken head-coaching jobs while in the midst of their terms working for the network.

So Jackson’s ESPN work is not believed to preclude him from taking a head-coaching job.

Jackson had not been contacted by the Knicks as of Saturday afternoon.

Jackson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" last week that he believes "coaching is in my future."

"There are some great jobs available," said Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors earlier this month. "... I am excited about the next chapter in my life and what lies ahead. We'll see what happens."

There is no indication at this point that Phil Jackson will go outside of his “inner circle” to fill the Knicks’ coaching vacancy. Since he and Mark Jackson have no relationship, it’s logical to conclude that he is not a candidate for the job at this point.

But, we should point out, these coaching searches are fluid situations. Just ask Steve Kerr.

Nonetheless, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported last week that there have been no indications to this point that Jackson, after missing out on Kerr, will consider hiring an established coach.

Also, when thinking about Jackson and the idea that he would be warmly embraced by the Knicks’ fan base, it’s worth noting this: one source close with knowledge of Phil Jackson’s thinking told Stein and Shelburne last week that the Zen Master is not worried about selling New Yorkers on his eventual hire.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Mark Jackson: Haven't heard from Knicks

May, 8, 2014
May 8
12:21
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Mark Jackson revealed in separate radio interviews on Wednesday that he hasn't heard from the Knicks yet regarding their coaching vacancy, and he'd like to coach again.

Jackson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" that he believes "coaching is in my future."

"There are some great jobs available," said Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on Tuesday. "... I am exited about the next chapter in my life and what lies ahead. We'll see what happens."

The Knicks have a head-coaching vacancy but have not yet reached out to Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach told "The Dan Patrick Show."

Knicks president Phil Jackson is instead focused on Steve Kerr. The Warriors also have interest in Kerr.

A source with knowledge of the Warriors' thinking says the team believes that it has a "legit shot" to land Kerr as its next head coach. The organization is hoping that Kerr's ties to president Rick Welts will "bring [Kerr] over since they are so close."

[+] EnlargeJackson
Kyle Terada/USA TODAY SportsWould ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson be a good fit in New York?
Despite the full-court press applied by Golden State, the Knicks are still the favorite to land Kerr as the next head coach due to his relationship with Phil Jackson, a league source told ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor on Wednesday evening.

Phil Jackson is believed to be interested primarily in coaching candidates whom he has a relationship with.

In addition to interviewing Kerr, who won three titles under Jackson, the Knicks president has also talked to Bill Cartwright, who played under Jackson in Chicago.

Phil Jackson and Mark Jackson, who grew up in New York City, starred at St. John's and played for the Knicks, have no prior relationship.

Mark Jackson told Smith and Ruocco that he was "grateful" for the opportunity to coach in Golden State but was upset that unnamed sources released information about his firing before it was made official.

"There's not a question anymore, can I coach," Jackson said. "That's been proven. I'm grateful for the opportunity and we'll see what lies ahead."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Would Kerr choose Warriors over Knicks?

May, 6, 2014
May 6
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Steve Kerr has a tough decision to make in the wake of Mark Jackson's firing.

Kerr is the leading candidate to become the Knicks' next head coach, but the Warriors are expected to show strong interest in the TNT broadcaster now that Jackson is out.

In fact, Golden State reached out to Kerr on Tuesday to discuss its vacancy, a source confirmed to ESPN New York.

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Kerr has several ties to the Warriors organization, including a relationship with ownership and the team president.

Here’s what Marc Stein reported on Kerr and the Golden State Warriors last week:

“NBA coaching sources have maintained for weeks that the Warriors have strong interest in Kerr should they elect to part ways with Mark Jackson after a 51-win season, given Kerr's strong relationships with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, son Kirk Lacob (who works in Golden State's front office) and Warriors president Rick Welts, with whom Kerr worked closely in Phoenix."

Kerr recently huddled with his family in San Diego to talk about taking the Knicks job, according to an NBA source. A decision could come from Kerr later this week. It is unclear how or whether the Warriors' interest will impact that timetable.

Kerr is scheduled to call Game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder-Los Angeles Clippers series Wednesday and may take time after that game to speak with his family about the decision.

Kerr is said to be intrigued by the possibility of coaching close to his family, which resides in San Diego. That factor, combined with Kerr's ties to the organization, will make turning down the Warriors a tough proposition. The New York Daily News first reported the Warriors' contact with Kerr.

"I'm sure Steve will consider all of his options," one NBA source familiar with the Knicks' pursuit of Kerr said last week.

Still, at this point, the Knicks are believed to be the frontrunner for Kerr's services based on Kerr's relationship with Phil Jackson. Kerr has said he is intrigued by the possibility of coaching under Jackson. Kerr won three titles with the Bulls while playing for Jackson and said recently the Knicks wouldn’t have any interest in him were it not for the presence of the Zen Master.

The two men have remained close since Kerr’s playing days.

As far as Phil Jackson hiring Mark Jackson, a former Knick and a Queens native, that appears to be a long shot at this point. Jackson has focused his coaching/front-office hires exclusively on people with whom he has previous relationships. He has no previous ties to Mark Jackson.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Jackson: MSG coaching debut is 'closure'

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
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Former Knick Mark Jackson, who was named the 1988 Rookie of the Year with the team and spent seven seasons in New York, will be making his coaching debut at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

The Warriors coach, who previously spent time commentating several Knicks games at the Garden for ABC and ESPN, is now completing the dream he always had growing up in Brooklyn.

"I'm not a guy that gets too emotional, but at the same time, it's closure for me because as a kid I dreamed of being a Knick, I dreamed of announcing in the Garden and I dreamed of coaching in the Garden," he said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio on Wednesday. "And this is the last line of that dream, so it's a great time for me to see a lot of familiar faces and a lot of great memories in that building."

[+] EnlargeJackson
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesMark Jackson makes his Madison Square Garden coaching debut tonight.
What Jackson isn't pleased about, however, is the one-game suspension of his best frontcourt player and ex-Knick, David Lee, for an altercation he was involved in on Tuesday night in Indiana.

"It's disappointing, but it is what it is and we'll move forward and act accordingly," Jackson said. "It's disappointing for David, a guy that didn't have an opportunity to play at the Garden last year because of the shortened season."

Jackson said he had followed Lee during his time in New York and Golden State, before he became head coach in 2011, and knows how special a player he is on and off the court. Currently, the All-Star is averaging 19.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

"I watched him as a Knick, I watched him as a Warrior and I was excited about having an opportunity to coach him," Jackson said. "At the end of the day, he's doing the same things he did in the blue and orange. He's rebounding, he's scoring, he's competing and he's winning ballgames. He's a heck of a basketball player and he's been, along with Steph Curry, the voice in my locker room leading this basketball team."


More from Jackson's radio appearance and pregame press conference:

The potential to coach the Knicks in 2008 before Mike D'Antoni was hired: "Very close. Donnie Walsh, a heck of a basketball mind and a guy that I had tremendous respect for, gave me an opportunity and believed in me, and thought enough of me to consider me as far as the next coach for the Knicks. I'm honored that he thought that much of me."

The Knicks: "They have the ability. You have a home-run hitter in Carmelo Anthony, a guy that should be in the MVP discussion. His ability to carry the team on the offensive end, that puts him in any ballgame. And then that's a team that's well-coached and they have the ability to knock down the long ball, which stretches the defense and they've proven they win ballgames that way. So it's going to be important for us to be on point, make multiple-effort plays and make sure we try to contain Carmelo Anthony. He's a heck of a basketball player and an explosive offensive weapon."

His greatest memories with the Knicks: "It's kind of hard to say, but what I will say is playing for the great coaches that I played for, playing for the great teams that I played for had a legitimate chance to win it all. I had incredible teammates, like Patrick Ewing, who's the greatest Knick that's ever played. ... He left his heart on the floor and he was an incredible teammate. Charles Oakley, he left it on the floor. Also, John Starks, Allan Houston and Charlie Hard -- just on and on and on."

His recent time in New York City: "This is the first time my wife has been on a road game, and I walked around with her. ... I'll tell you what, that's part of the disappointment on the other side of the job. It takes you away from being a husband or a father all day every day. And just to hang around with my wife and hold hands and go to the store, it was great. And my son, who's playing basketball at Manhattan College, came down and was able to spend some time with us, and we just hung around each other. It was a great day."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2