New Knicks coach Derek Fisher (r.) talks with guard J.R. Smith, who starts Wednesday's preseason opener - a loss to the Celtics in Hartford.
David Butler II/USA Today Sports New Knicks coach Derek Fisher (r.) talks with guard J.R. Smith, who starts Wednesday’s preseason opener – a loss to the Celtics in Hartford.

HARTFORD — A sloppily plotted triangle and a gaping circular hole on defense.

Those were the unbecoming geometric first impressions as new coach Derek Fisher’s Knicks coughed up 28 turnovers in their debut with Phil Jackson’s offensive system — combined with a porous defensive effort — in a 106-86 loss to the Celtics in their preseason opener Wednesday at XL Center.

“It was the first time for us to get out there and play in a situation like that. We’re still learning on both ends of the court. We’ll be all right,” said Carmelo Anthony, who was held to 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting in 21 minutes. “I thought it was fun (to play the triangle), but sometimes as a whole we were out there over-thinking a lot… It was just a first test for us. We’ll go back to the lab (Thursday) and get better.”

Fisher has stressed a commitment to defense as much as a crash course in the triangle system throughout training camp, but the Celtics — minus Rajon Rondo — consistently got to the rim following Knick turnovers, while also shooting 11-for-22 from three-point range.

“We didn’t do a lot of things right tonight, but I thought the guys’ intentions were right,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to get our guys to understand that defense is not tied to offense. But it helps if you play better offense, if you’re not turning the basketball over, it gives your defense a better chance. . . . But you have to be able to defend regardless of what’s happening on offense.”

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