Before Wednesday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, Carmelo Anthony called the game a "must win" at home against the worst team in the Western Conference. With hopes of inspiring the team, Anthony and the Knicks suffered another disappointing home loss.
Anthony scored 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Knickerbockers but couldn't come up big when needed. Anthony missed a potential winning shot in regulation as New York suffered a crushing 106-101 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings.
New York has now lost five of it's last six games, and will head into the All-Star break with a 20-32 record. The Knicks were 32-20 at this time last season with a strong hold of the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They find themselves 2.5 games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I didn't expect us to be in the situation that we're in right now. If somebody would have told us that before the season, I'd have put any amount of money that they were lying," Anthony said. "But we're in this situation right now and we've got to fight through it."
With this latest loss, it remains to be seen whether it will cost Coach Mike Woodson his job. The Knicks will play their next game on Tuesday night on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies. Woodson vowed he would still be the team’s coach after the All-Star break, but another loss to another lousy team may prevent that.
“I’m not thinking about that at this point,’’ said Anthony. “That’s been an ongoing issue, ongoing story. Every day is a new story. He’s still here. That’s what we’re dealing with.’’
Tyson Chandler had a nice game with 17 points and 11 rebounds but sounded disgusted and was visibly upset after another home loss to another bad team. He feels that this break is something this team badly needs.
“It’s very disappointing, to be quite honest with you,” Chandler said. “We got to step away from the game for a little while, recharge our batteries, come back ready to play the second half of the season.”
Before he became a member of the New York Knicks, Anthony was one of the best clutch shooters in the NBA knocking down numerous game winning shots with the Denver Nuggets. He is now 1-of-12 in game-tying/game-winning shot scenarios in the final 30 seconds of games this season. and was only 1-of-7 last season. New York had 20 seconds left in the game when they took over for the final possession, but didn't get the shot they wanted on two separate occasions.
"We kind of botched the first one up, said Woodson. " The second one, I thought he could have gone a lot quicker off the dribble and force the issue for the officials. He forced the shot, hit the back of the rim and then we were in overtime."
The way things started in the first quarter, it looked as if Knicks were heading toward an easy blowout victory heading into the All Star break. They cruised to a 33-22 lead after one quarter, hitting 70% of their shots. Jimmer Fredette, the college superstar player from BYU answered back with 15 points in the second, matching his high for a game this season. He would on to score a career high of 25 points, making him the 6th player this season to score their career high against the Knicks.
Iman Shumpert left the game in the third quarter with a strained left hip flexor, and J.R. Smith was sidelined with a fractured cheekbone he sustained on Sunday. Despite not having their two shooting guards, the Knicks still had a 13 point second half lead and would never trail for the rest of regulation. But Anthony would end missing his final six shots of the game, including a botched layup at the start of the overtime.
“I don’t know what happened,” Anthony said. “It happened so fast, man. I just looked up and we gave the lead up. Next thing I knew we’re going into overtime. It is a tough loss to swallow. Just couldn’t get it done. Missed opportunities. Myself, missed opportunities. Started off overtime with a missed layup and everything just went downhill from there.”
It was the most disappointed the Knicks locker room had sounded the entire season, and you just have to wonder that a change will be coming. Whether it will be a trade or a coaching change, this team will surely look a little different on Tuesday night in Memphis.