The Knicks earned their third win of the season on Thursday night, beating the Mavs 106-103, as two of their wins have come against Dallas.
Head coach David Fizdale talked about the team's struggles at home earlier this week, and also mentioned what went wrong after beating the Mavs on Nov. 11.
"I don't think it was complacency. I really don't," Fizdale said on Friday. "I really felt like this team is just trying to do so well for the city. I really do. Their intentions are right. They're trying to carry the weight of the city on their shoulders. I just told them you can't do that. I said it's an impossible task. You've got to focus on who's around you in the locker room and put forth effort for the people in the locker room and the city will appreciate that kind of effort. So hopefully we learned that lesson from last night."
After the Knicks beat Dallas the first time, the team lost their following two games by a combined 39 points, including a 21 point loss at Madison Square Garden to the Cavaliers.
Fizdale reinforced what the team can learn from Thursday night's win.
"This is an opportunity to learn and go basically from the same type of scenario where it's an emotional win and now you've got to come back and do it again, and build that consistency of consistent effort and execution," Fizdale said.
The emotions were definetely flowing, as former Knick Kristaps Porzingis made his return to The Garden for the first time since being traded to Dallas last January. He was welcomed with fans booing during player introductions and throughout the game. It was also Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr.'s first game against his former team
"I just think all of that noise," Fizdale said. "The combination of free agency and who we got and just the idea of playing in Madison Square Garden and trying to redeem past years. It's so much that they're trying to put on their own shoulders. For a young group like this, it's not fair of them to try to do that."
The Knicks have the NBA's fifth youngest roster with an average age of 24.98-years-old. Their star rookie RJ Barrett is 19-years-old, Kevin Knox is only 20-years-old, and fellow key players Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, and Smith Jr. are all just 21-years-old.
The team brought in veterans during the offseason to help guide their younger players, including 30-year-old Macrus Morris and 34-year-old Taj Gibson. Morris is even leading the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game.
"I'm just trying to shrink their thought process down to just, 'Hey, let's just focus on who's in the locker room and the job that we have to do.' Even to the point where I'm talking about after games, you don't get to celebrate to the next day," Fizdale said. "Shrink it down to 35 to 45 minutes of celebration, or sadness, and let's move on and let's get to the next thing and start worrying about the next day. Hopefully that can help them keep things in perspective."
The Knicks are now 2-3 at home this season, and will have a good chance to improve that record with the Hornets (4-7) coming to MSG on Saturday and then against the Cavaliers (4-7) on Monday night.