It has been a dramatic week for the enitre New York Knicks organization. The trade rumors involving Carmelo Anthony coming to the Big Apple are getting heavier by the day and Knick fans are getting impatient of the delay of acquiring a star that has essentially giftwrapped himself to the team. The rumors has certainly taken a toll on the team and it has showed with the recent play of the team.
“It’s not good,” D’Antoni says. “There’s no doubt about it. It affects some of the players without a doubt.”
D’Antoni admitted Thursday that the never-ending Carmelo Anthony saga is having a negative effect on his team. New York has lost 10 of their 14, including three of the last four. It doesn’t get any easier for the Knicks as they host the two time defending champion, Los Angeles Lakers. A loss to the Lakers would put the Knicks at .500 for the first time since they were 9-9 and put the team closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
New York is coming off a dreaful performance in a 116-108 loss to the Clippers. The Knicks trailed by as many as 20 to a Clippers team that had won only three road games all season. It prompted many Garden fans to start a very loud “We Want Melo” chant during the debacle. They allowed the Clippers to shoot 55 percent from the field as that was the second highest mark by a visiting team this season.
The performance angered not only the coach but Amar’e Stoudemire was very critical of his team following the loss to the Clippers.
“We’re not playing hard, we’re not getting loose balls. Seems like we’re afraid out there,” said Stoudemire, who had 23 points . “I said it before the game. We’ve got to have supreme focus. I guess they figured I was just talking to the wall.”
Timofey Mozgov was one of the bright spots in the loss and continues to play quite well during his return to the court. Mozgov had 18 points and six rebounds, shooting 8-of-9 from the floor as they were all dunks. However, Mozgov was benched for the enitre fourth quarter in hopes of getting back into the game with a smaller lineup.
Since returning to the rotation, he’s averaged 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, and shot 65.7 percent from the floor. He is set to start his third straight game tonight and will get a stiff test from Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
New York has lost seven straight to the Lakers, including a 109-87 loss at the Staples Center back on Januray 9th. It was a physical battle as Ron Artest was charged with a flagrant foul late in the third quarter when he clotheslined Amare Stoudemire. Andrew Bynum was later ejected for arguing a foul call, and Stoudemire and Bryant exchanged angry words.
Bryant has certianly enjoyed his time playing at the Garden. He’s averaged 30.3 points there over his career, his highest average at any venue where he’s played at least 10 times, including a 61-point performance Feb. 2, 2009.