The New York Knicks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 121-79 at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, hours after head coach Mike D'Antoni was replaced by assistant coach Mike Woodson.
Madison Square Garden Company Chairman James Dolan announced Wednesday afternoon that D'Antoni and the team had come to a mutual agreement over D'Antoni's immediate resignation.
Woodson, previously the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, will carry the interim head coach title for the Knicks for the remainder of the season.
His first win was a big one, as the Knicks' blowout victory ended a six-game losing streak.
Prior to speaking with Dolan, D'Antoni told reporters during a Wednesday morning practice in Westchester County that he knew the team was underperforming.
"We should all be frustrated," he said. "Bottom line, we're not playing well and that’s my responsibility. But two or three days there, we would have won a few of those games. You know, it's in our grasp to change the situation and we'll have to do that."
The Knicks have had some good runs this season, especially after the emergence of point guard Jeremy Lin. However, the team's chemistry appeared to be interrupted when forward Carmelo Anthony returned from an injury.
D'Antoni was named the team's coach before the 2008-2009 season. The Knicks made the playoffs last year and were expected to make noise this season, but the squad has underperformed.
Outside Madison Square Garden before Wednesday's game, Knicks fans were mostly relieved to hear that D'Antoni was departing.
"Hallelujah! D’Antoni was never the right fit," said one fan. "His players never got with his offense. I’m so happy to hear that, I mean, I want to see what new direction we can bring the team."
"Any type of coach who only has one system, one offensive play he wants to play, and cannot adjust to the players that he has, he’s not always a good coach," said another.
"(It was) inevitable, unfortunately," said a third fan. "I like Carmelo, I like D’Antoni. He makes mistakes, but he had to go. He wasn’t getting the most out of Carmelo and (forward) Amar’e (Stoudemire)."
The Knicks will next play the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.