December 5, 2014: As the Knicks packed up their belongings at Madison Square Garden late Thursday night, processing yet another loss, Carmelo Anthony appeared out of the trainers room wearing a lavender shirt with the phrase, â€œI want more,â€ printed on the front in big block letters.
It was an apt sentiment for Anthony and the Knicks, who seem to be spiraling beneath even the most modest preseason expectations.
Another close game, another predictable defeat. Anthony had a chance with 1.5 seconds left to bring the Knicks even with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But his shot from one step behind the 3-point line along the right side drifted wide and rattled around the rim and out, and the Knicks fell, 90-87, for their sixth consecutive loss.
The result dropped the Knicksâ€™ record to 4-16, which represents their worst start in franchise history.
â€œI know weâ€™re a better team than 4-16,â€ Anthony said when informed about the historic poor start. â€œBut weâ€™ve just got to go out there and show that and improve that.â€
To start, Anthony would likely have wanted more from himself. He shot 4 for 19 from the field and finished with 9 points. He was outplayed by LeBron James (19 points, 12 assists) â€” who said before the game that he had felt sorry watching Anthony, his friend, losing game after game. And both stars were outshined by Kyrie Irving, who finished with 37 points.
â€œWe won ugly tonight,â€ Irving said. â€œIt was one of those games where the only thing weâ€™re going to remember about it is getting the W.â€
Irving, a point guard, had only two assists, and they did not come until late in the fourth quarter. But they were big ones: First, he set up James to nail a deep 3-pointer with 3 minutes 54 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a 1-point lead. On the Knicksâ€™ next possession, Irving jarred the ball loose near midcourt and flipped it again to James, who ran the length of the court alone and finished a two-handed dunk.
With 41 seconds left and the Knicks behind by a point, Coach Derek Fisher â€” who said that the referees had ignored a late timeout call of his in the last game â€” walked out to the middle of the court to call a timeout. But Shane Larkin missed a layup with 33 seconds to play, and Anthony could not finish a tip-in attempt.
Coming out of a timeout on the other end, Irving slashed his way to the rim and looped a left-handed layup high off the glass over two defenders, stretching the Cavaliersâ€™ advantage to 3. Then, on the gameâ€™s last play, Anthony was isolated against James and heaved his off-line 3-pointer.
â€œSame looks I get every game; I didnâ€™t make them tonight,â€ Anthony said.
J. R. Smith returned after sitting out a game and contributed 9 points in 19 minutes. Amarâ€™e Stoudemire started at center and Quincy Acy at power forward, creating the teamâ€™s 11th starting lineup combination of the season. Stoudemireâ€™s strong game included 19 points and a thunderous dunk over Anderson Varejao in the fourth quarter that drew whoops and gasps from the crowd.
Despite the changes, despite the positive flashes here and there, the result was the same for the Knicks, who have not won since Nov. 22 â€” against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.
They have stuck to the same script: that they have been close in these contests, that they are close to figuring things out. But each successive loss increases the danger that the hole they are digging will become too deep.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to stay with it, and itâ€™s a long year to think that way right now,â€ Stoudemire said when asked if things were spiraling out of control. â€œPlus, our division is wide open still. Weâ€™ve just got to start to turn this thing around.â€
The Knicks want more. But it is unclear how they will get it.
LeBron James said the recent episodes in the country related to police violence were troubling. â€œThis is our country, the land of the free, and we keep having these incidents happen, innocent victims, or whatever the case may be,â€ he said. â€œOur families are losing loved ones. Iâ€™m not pointing the blame at anybody thatâ€™s making it happen. In society, weâ€™ve come a long way, but it just goes to show how much further we still have to go.â€ Asked about the demonstrations that were springing up, James said he hoped they would remain peaceful. â€œViolence is not the answer; retaliation isnâ€™t the solution,â€ he said. â€œAs a society, we just have to do better.â€
Source The Newyork Times