NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 23rd (All times eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (11-30) at New York Knicks (17-24), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies will have a new coach Friday when they try to put the brakes on a seven-game losing streak against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The Grizz confirmed the firing Marc Iavaroni, who was in just his second season with the club late Thursday night. Iavaroni compiled a record of just 33-90 during his brief tenure. The Grizzlies were 22-60 in his first year and failed to show improvement this season, posting a record of just 11-30.
The Grizzlies named assistant Johnny Davis as interim coach. However, a report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal said Davis will coach only this weekend's games -- at New York tonight and home against New Jersey on Saturday -- before Lionel Hollins takes over.
The Grizzlies gave no indication of how long Davis will handle the interim coaching duties.
Davis, currently in his second year with the Grizzlies, has served as a head coach in the NBA twice before. He guided the Philadelphia 76ers to a record of 22-60 in 1996-97 and led the Orlando Magic to a 51-84 mark over parts of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
In addition to his head coaching stints, Davis has been an NBA assistant coach for 15 years, serving with the Indiana Pacers, Magic, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
If Hollins, currently an assistant with Milwaukee, is named the full-time head coach, it would mark his third stint guiding the Memphis franchise.
Hollins was an assistant when the expansion club, then located in Vancouver, began play in 1995-96. He eventually took over as head coach for the final 60 games of the 1999-2000 campaign after Brian Hill was fired and guided the team to a mark of 18-42.
In addition, he lost four games as the interim coach during the 2004-05 season -- taking the reins after Hubie Brown resigned and before Mike Fratello was hired.
Iavaroni was the seventh NBA head coach to be fired this season, joining Oklahoma City's P.J. Carlesimo, Washington's Eddie Jordan, Toronto's Sam Mitchell, Minnesota's Randy Wittman, Philadelphia's Maurice Cheeks and Sacramento's Reggie Theus.
On the floor, Memphis continued its losing ways by suffering 101-86 defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, as Rudy Gay ended with 26 points and rookie O.J. Mayo scored 13 points in a losing effort.
Marc Gasol contributed 11 points and Kyle Lowry added 10 in defeat. The Grizz will wrap up a short two-game road trip tonight and are 2-16 as the guest in 2008-09. They have dropped six straight away from FedEx Forum.
Memphis forward Quinton Ross missed Wednesday's game with back spasms and is questionable against the Knicks.
Meanwhile, the Knicks will wrap up a four-game homestand this evening and is 2-1 on the residency. They have won two straight and recorded a 114-109 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday thanks to David Lee's 30th double-double, as he ended with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
Al Harrington tallied 17 points and eight boards for the Knicks, who have won four of six overall and improved to 11-9 at MSG this season. Tim Thomas had 10 points, all coming in the fourth quarter, as Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni got his first win against his former club, who he coached from 2003-08.
Nate Robinson poured in 20 points and four steals off the bench, while Chris Duhon had 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the win.
New York defeated Memphis, 132-103, on November 12 this season at FedEx Forum, but the Grizzlies have won six of 10 and seven of the last 12 meetings.
Memphis has won two of three and five of its last seven in the Big Apple.
01/23 11:20:42 ET