Melo: Knicks 'can't figure it out' at MSG
January, 18, 2014
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IICarmelo Anthony cut a picture of frustration after yet another Knicks home loss.You'd think that a team would feel pretty good about playing eight straight games at home.
But the Knicks? Not so much.
New York fell to 7-13 at home after Friday's 14-point loss to the Clippers.
They are tied with the Orlando Magic for the second-worst home record in the NBA.
So Carmelo Anthony was asked if it feels as if there's a positive vibe around the team heading into the remaining seven games of this season-long homestand.
“"No it don't," he said. "It seems like we can't figure it out here on our home court."
This is hard to deal with. I've never dealt with anything like this before. But I'm learning a lot throughout this process and my head is going to continue to stay high and be positive and just take it one day at a time.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Friday night was the latest example of the Knicks' failure to defend home court.
They couldn't keep pace with a Clippers team that was without Chris Paul, getting outscored by 17 points over the final 16 minutes. But this loss may not crack the top five of their worst defeats at home this season.
The Knicks (15-25) have also lost home games to the Bobcats, Celtics, Hawks and Pelicans. Those teams are a combined 30 games under .500 on the road.
New York has been embarrassed at home as well, losing two games by a combined 72 points. "The World's Most Famous Arena" has been a house of horrors at times for Mike Woodson's crew.
"It's tough," Woodson said. "My whole mindset when I took over this team was to try to establish something at home in front of your home fans. We had a lot of slippage in that area and that has been frustrating."
The Knicks were 31-10 last season at MSG. It is only Jan. 17, but they have no shot at duplicating that record this year.
They'll wake up on Saturday morning 10 games under .500 and 1 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Not exactly where a team with championship aspirations expected to be at this point.
"We still have a shot at getting in that eight spot as well as winning our division, but we got to start winning some games here at home," Woodson said.
All the losing seems to be taking a toll on Anthony.
"This is hard to deal with. I've never dealt with anything like this before," he said. "But I'm learning a lot throughout this process and my head is going to continue to stay high and be positive and just take it one day at a time."
Anthony had a rough day at the office Friday. He missed 19 of 23 shots in 40 minutes. The Knicks' starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert also struggled, scoring only five points between them.
"They had a tough night," Woodson said. "Either I got to change the lineup or we just got to get our starting five clicking."
That has been a season-long struggle for New York, due in part to injuries. The club started off 3-13 and then stumbled to 9-21 by the end of 2013. The Knicks seemed ready to turn the corner in 2014, winning five of six to start the year. But they've since dropped three in a row -- the last two by a combined 42 points.
"These last two games haven't been played the way we've been playing during the five-game winning streak," Anthony said. "So it's a little bit of a concern for myself. I don't want to go back to that place [when they were 3-13]. I felt like we were making strides forward. Hopefully we can continue making those strides forward."
The Knicks have seven games left on this homestand. Under normal circumstances, that would be a welcome quirk in the schedule.
But nothing has been normal about this season.
"We got to try to win them all," Woodson said, "before this thing slips away."
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