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DeAndre Jordan, Atkinson sound off on David Fizdale firing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — DeAndre Jordan ended last season with the Knicks, so he knew full-well how dysfunctional the Garden was even before he came across the East River to join the Nets. But the sudden firing of Knicks coach David Fizdale left Jordan stunned.

The Knicks canned Fizdale just a quarter of the way into his second season, and did it in typical Knick fashion, letting him run an entire practice and meet the press before firing him afterward.

Jordan was benched for the final seven games of last season, and eventually joined the Nets, but he couldn’t help but be shocked at the news — and perhaps the tacky way his ex-team fired his former coach.

“I didn’t know that. I don’t look at social media on game days. That sucks,” Jordan said before the Nets’ 111-104 win over the Hornets.

“Obviously, I haven’t seen or heard the story. I love Fiz. He treated me well when I was there and my family. He’s a great motivational guy, he’s competitive. Obviously, he was down there [in Miami] and they won some championships. So, that’s unfortunate. That sucks.”

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is both a former Knicks assistant and a friend of Fizdale’s.

“It doesn’t make you feel good as a colleague and a friend, quite honestly,” Atkinson said. “So I know it’s part of this business, we know how tough this coaching business is, but he’s an excellent coach. He’ll be back for sure. But you never like to see a colleague lose his job. It doesn’t make you feel good.”

Likely even closer to Fizdale is Charlotte coach James Borrego, who has a long history with his mentor.

Borrego played at San Diego while Fizdale was an assistant. After graduating in 2001, Borrego coached alongside him as a Toreros’ grad assistant in 2001-02.

“Yeah, tough day,” Borrego said. “Fiz is a friend, someone I have great respect for someone who helped me get in this business. Tough to see. Unfortunate part of our business. He’s a heck of a coach, great friend. Thinking of him today and I support him. Tough day.”


The Nets’ 1-2 punch at center knocked out the Hornets on Friday. Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 10 rebounds for a seventh straight game with double-digit boards. Jordan was even better off the bench with a season-high tying 16 points and 13 rebounds.

“That’s why they’re good. They can make 3s and then they can get to the rim. They score,” Borrego said. “If they miss it they have two big guys that can clean it up That’s why they’re a good team.”

Joe Harris (22 points) was a season-high 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Spencer Dinwiddie handed out a season-high 12 assists, and defensive ace David Nwaba scored a season-high 13 points.

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