Thomas Rips Knicks After Another Loss

Tuesday, December 18th 2007, 7:38 am
By: News On 6

Only a week ago, New York coach Isiah Thomas said he didn't believe in criticizing his teams during tough times.

Tough times have apparently changed. Thomas unloaded on the team he assembled after it was blown out by Indiana 119-92 Monday night.

``As a coach, you bring certain things to the table, but our collective energy, our collective heart, our collective toughness, we say the right things but we don't gut it out for 48 minutes,'' Thomas said.

They sure didn't on Monday night. Indiana led 84-72 after three quarters, and the only mystery after that was how loud the Madison Square Garden staff would have to pump out the sound effects to drown out the ``Fire Isiah'' chants as the lead grew in the fourth quarter.

In Monday night's other NBA games, it was Cleveland 104, Milwaukee 99 in two overtimes; Phoenix 100, San Antonio 95; Dallas 111, Orlando 108; Miami 91, Minnesota 87; Atlanta 116, Utah 111; Golden State 125, Memphis 117; and Portland 88, New Orleans 76.

The game was tied at 64 midway through the third quarter, before Mike Dunleavy got going. He made a layup and scored Indiana's next 12 points, capping his personal flurry with a 3-pointer that made it 76-66 with 2:08 left in the quarter.

Dunleavy scored 22 of his career-high 36 points in the quarter

``Michael carried us,'' Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. ``He was brilliant tonight. He's having a career year. He was just on fire and it was great to see because we needed it.''

Jermaine O'Neal, who developed into an All-Star while playing for Thomas in Indiana, scored 22 points two days after a mild concussion in a victory at Miami.

``My heart goes out to Isiah, because I know him personally,'' O'Neal said. ``Isiah's like a father to me and I know the type of competitive nature he has and the effort that's out there, and it's tough to see. It's tough to hear the crowd say fire him.''

Stephon Marbury returned to the Knicks after missing four straight games after his father's death. He came off the bench and scored 16 points, and Eddy Curry also added 16.

Curry was also the victim of a hoax. Word somehow got out that he guaranteed a victory _ which Curry denied _ but word got back to the Pacers, who believed it. O'Neal said the players discussed it and thought it was strange.

Not that it matters in what is quickly becoming a lost season for the Knicks.

``We don't grind and we don't compete like we should for 48 minutes and I've never ... a lot of things that can be said about me and teams that I've coached and the way I played, but I've never been accused of not having heart or competing,'' Thomas said. ``Tonight was very discouraging to me because we didn't collectively play with heart and compete like I know I do.

``I can give you a lot of things, but I can't give you pride and heart,'' he said. ``A certain amount of that, the team collectively as players got to bring that to the court every night.''

Cavaliers 104, Bucks 99, 2OT

In Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored Cleveland's first six points in the second overtime and LeBron James, who became the youngest player to score 9,000 career points earlier in the game, scored 31 points.

James played 51 of 58 minutes. Michael Redd, who led Milwaukee with 22 points, played 54 minutes while Mo Williams played 51.

Suns 100, Spurs 95

In San Antonio, Grant Hill had 22 points and Phoenix handed San Antonio its first home loss of the season.

Leandro Barbosa added 18 points for the Suns. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with a season-high 36 points and 17 rebounds in his second game back since sitting out four with a sprained ankle, and Manu Ginobili added 18 points.

The Spurs were without Tony Parker, who sat out his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.

Mavericks 111, Magic 108

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and Dallas shut down Dwight Howard the final three quarters.

The Magic thought they'd tied the game at 109 when Keith Bogans nailed a long jumper over Nowitzki's outstretched arm with 3.5 seconds left, but officials correctly ruled that his right toe was on the 3-point line, keeping Dallas ahead by a point.

Heat 91, Timberwolves 87

Dwyane Wade survived a horrendous shooting night to score 30 points, Udonis Haslem added 18 and Miami finally found a way to win at home.

Shaquille O'Neal scored 15 points and added eight rebounds before fouling out for Miami (7-17), which won for only the third time in 11 home games _ and was pushed to the brink by a Minnesota team that has the league's worst overall record (3-20).

Al Jefferson had 22 points and 20 rebounds for Minnesota, his 17th double-double of the season.

Hawks 116, Jazz 111

In Atlanta, the Hawks overcame foul trouble, Carlos Boozer and five years of losing to Utah.

Boozer scored a season-high 39 points and had 12 rebounds for Utah, but Joe Johnson scored 26 points to help Atlanta end a nine-game losing streak against the Jazz.

Utah, which lost to Atlanta for the first time since Oct. 31, 2002, fell to 5-10 on the road this season, including six straight losses away from Salt Lake City.

Marvin Williams scored 21 points and Josh Smith had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta. Al Horford and Anthony Johnson each had 17 points _ and Johnson added 14 assists.

Warriors 125, Grizzlies 117

Stephen Jackson had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Monta Ellis added 23 points to help Golden State end a three-game road losing streak.

Rudy Gay scored 32 points for Memphis, passing 30 points for the second straight game.

Trail Blazers 88, Hornets 76

Brandon Roy had 24 points and eight assists to lead Portland to its eighth straight victory.

David West had 21 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 19 rebounds for the Hornets, who lost for the fourth straight time at the Rose Garden.