Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Patrick Ewing will coach against Knicks tonight
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Patrick Ewing has wanted the opportunity to coach a team, but he didn’t want his first time to be this way or against his old team.
Ewing will make his NBA head coaching debut Friday night when the Knicks play the Bobcats. Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford went to the hospital Thursday night after not feeling well and is undergoing further tests.
Clifford suffered chest pains Thursday night at dinner, the team said. On Friday he had two stents placed in his heart. The Bobcats said Friday that Clifford is resting comfortably and is expected to re-join the team soon.
Ewing, the associate head coach, slides over to the big chair.
“My emotion is all about Cliff and the team,” Ewing said. “Cliff is a very dear and good friend of mine and I'm concerned for his health and safety and well being. We have a great staff assembled here. So if he doesn't make it then myself and the rest of the staff will have to carry on until he comes back.”
Ewing has been an assistant coach with the Wizards, Rockets, Magic and now the Bobcats. He was never a lead assistant before this season so whenever one of his head coaches got thrown out or missed a game he was never next in line until now.
“I’m going to have to curse Cliff out for especially it being this game against [the Knicks],’ Ewing said.
“I mean it is strange,” he added. “The only head coaching that I've done is during the summer league. Like I said, against [the Knicks]. I see all of you guys here, I can see the writing on the wall right now.”
As for the game, Mike Woodson said he would have Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin available and Cole Aldrich also could play some with the absence of Tyson Chandler.
“Everybody’s got to step up,” Woodson said. “Tonight’s the night. We got to figure out how to get a win tonight.”
Woodson said the Knicks are “going to stay where we are,” and not add a big man right now. That could change, of course.