NEW YORK -- Mike Woodson didn’t see this coming.
The Knicks were humiliated by the Boston Celtics 114-73 in a game that was seriously over at tipoff.
“What Boston came here and did was an embarrassment,” a disgusted Carmelo Anthony said. “To lose like that on our home court, I think everybody should be pissed off.”
It’s one thing to get drilled by 31 last month by the machine known as the San Antonio Spurs in a Sunday home matinee. But when Jordan Crawford is burying deep 3-pointers and running back on defense as the ball is still in flight as if he were Reggie Miller flinging daggers in front of Spike Lee, the Knicks should be ashamed.
For two games last week, the Knicks made us feel like they were on the verge of adopting a winning identity with two blowout wins over the Nets and Magic. They said they had their “mojo” back.
But just as Woodson’s seat was beginning to cool, the Knicks put their head coach back in James Dolan’s crosshairs with a 41-point loss to the Celtics, who play hard for rookie coach Brad Stevens and are a respectable 10-12 but certainly not 41 points better than the Knicks.
In the past, the Knicks have sometimes looked like they were being dragged out of bed to play these noon games. But this was absurd considering Crawford, a 38.6 percent 3-point shooter coming in, buried 6-of-12 from behind the arc. Jared Sullinger hit two treys. Boston’s 6-2 Avery Bradley grabbed 10 rebounds and the Knicks trailed by as much as 45 in this game.
And Jason Kidd thought he had seen some ugly blowouts.
There are only a few positives you can say about the Knicks (5-14) after this debacle. They still don’t have Tyson Chandler, who means so much to the team’s defense and rebounding, but he’s no miracle worker. And the Knicks still have a soft portion of their schedule coming up to prove they have a pulse after this.
The question right now is, which Knicks team will we see in the coming weeks. As Slim Shady would say, will the real Knicks please stand up.
Right now, the Knicks are probably a lot closer to the gang that lost nine straight than the juggernauts who buried a total of 33 3-pointers and obliterated the Nets by 30 and the Magic by 38.
The Knicks could build another winning streak with the likes of the Cavs, Bulls, Celtics, Hawks, Wizards, Bucks, Grizzlies, Magic and Raptors (twice) all coming up in the next 11 games.
But they aren’t going to beat anybody if they play like they did on Sunday. Woodson’s starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert shot a combined 0-for-12 and failed to score a single point. Andrea Bargnani went from taunting Kevin Garnett last week to missing six of seven shots and scoring just two points. Tim Hardaway Jr. got his first start and it was one to forget.
Amar'e Stoudemire came to play with 17 points to give Anthony (19 points) some help. But that was pretty much it.
Much like their rivals who play in Brooklyn, the Knicks can look awfully bad when their shots aren’t falling. The defense stops soon after. The Knicks fell behind 18-1 before the six-minute mark even hit in the first quarter. They were down 25-3 with 3:24 left in the first quarter.
Only the Washington Redskins and Dan Snyder seemed to have a worse Sunday than the Knicks and James Dolan. At least the Redskins' season is nearly over. Dolan and the Knicks have 63 games remaining and hopefully postseason games, as well.
The Knicks have plenty of time to get their act together, especially with the way the Atlantic Division is shaping up. But they managed to wipe out almost all the good they did in beating the Nets and Magic. And more disturbing is the fact they didn't seem to care enough to play defense on Sunday even when they couldn't make shots.
“I wish I could explain it,” Woodson said. “I didn’t see this coming in terms of how we played.”
“It’s a step backwards,” Woodson added. “I thought we had turned the corner somewhat. I never take anything for granted. I’ve been at this too long to even think that way. It just goes to show you if you don’t come out ready to play -- and a lot of that’s on me as a coach. I can’t have guys stepping on the floor doing what they did today.”
The players say this latest Sunday zombie act is not Woodson’s fault. It's on them.
On Monday, Woodson will get back to figuring out how to get the Knicks to play with better effort. His seat will feel a bit warm again and that’s not a good thing for him despite the frigid weather.