Lenny Wilkens resigned last night as Knicks coach and will be replaced by assistant coach Herb Williams, a league source told the New York Daily News.
The stunning development came just hours after Scott Padgett's jumper at the buzzer gave the Houston Rockets a 92-91 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Within minutes there were rumors flying around the arena that Knicks President Isiah Thomas had fired Wilkens, the legendary coach whom Thomas hired last Jan. 15.
However, a team source denied that Wilkens, 67, had been fired and would only say that Wilkens was contemplating resigning.
"Lenny is doing some thinking right now," said Thomas, who met with his coach for two hours after the loss. "We'll see where he's at in the morning."
Asked if Wilkens was considering stepping down, Thomas said: "That I don't know. This is a tough situation. And I would imagine that he's probably in his thought process where Hubie Brown was in his thought process. Hubie was the coach of the year last year. Lenny coached us to the playoffs last year." Brown resigned from the Memphis Grizzlies in December.
It is out of character for Wilkens to resign, considering that in his previous 31 years of coaching he never had stepped down or been fired during a season. The Knicks, who have lost five straight games and nine of 10, are 17-22.
PACERS 106, HEAT 100: Jamaal Tinsley scored 30 points, including a jumper to force overtime, and Reggie Miller hit a pair of three-pointers in the extra session to help Indiana to the road victory.
Tinsley, who's averaging 29.7 points over his last three games, hit an awkward shot over Miami's Keyon Dooling to tie the game with 0.9 of a second left in regulation. Miller opened the overtime scoring with a three-pointer, then added another for a 101-96 Indiana lead with 1 minute 36 seconds left.
Jermaine O'Neal had 26 points and a 14 rebounds for Indiana.
TIMBERWOLVES 112, SUPERSONICS 107: Wally Szczerbiak scored a season-high 34 points and Kevin Garnett added 24, leading Minnesota to a win in Seattle.
Losers of eight of their previous nine road games, the Timberwolves shot a season-best 50.1 percent to hand the Sonics their second straight loss at home.
Ray Allen led Seattle with 25 points.
LAKERS 105, WARRIORS 101: In Los Angeles, Chucky Atkins had 26 points and 10 assists to spark the Lakers, who are 3-1 since Kobe Bryant was sidelined by a sprained right ankle Jan. 13.
Lamar Odom added 25 points for Los Angeles. Jason Richardson scored 26 points for Golden State.