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PORTLAND — Hassan Whiteside echoed sentiment throughout the NBA that David Fizdale was the fall guy for a Knicks team set up for failure.
“They gave him a tough hand, I think everybody knows that,” Whiteside, a center on the Blazers, told the Daily News. “They were looking for a scapegoat and I think he was doing a great job of just keep battling. I don’t think he’s a bad coach, I think he’s a really great coach.”
Fizdale was canned Friday just 22 games into his second season with the Knicks, and the widespread support for him is indicative of his popularity. Whiteside, for instance, said he developed a connection with Fizdale unlike any other coach during their two years together in Miami (Fizdale was an assistant under Erik Spoelstra).
“Coach Fiz was one of the guys who really believed in me. I talk to him on a consistent basis,” Whiteside said. “He was always a players-coach, a defensive-minded coach. I loved when he was on the Heat. I talked to him more than I talked to anybody else on the staff.”
Carmelo Anthony was never on the same team with Fizdale but also had a strong relationship with the 45-year-old. Over the summer, Fizdale invited Anthony to scrimmage with the Knicks at Columbia University.
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