Are we seeing the last of Melo as a Knick?

March, 1, 2014
3/01/14
12:56
AM ET
NEW YORK -- A disgusted Carmelo Anthony slapped at the basketball, sending it bouncing high as he walked up the Garden floor following another Warriors hustle play that resulted in a basket.

This was near the end of the first half when the Knicks would walk into halftime down 73-52. By the middle of the fourth quarter, Tyson Chandler could no longer hold in his frustration as Mount Chandler erupted. The Knicks' center pushed and shoved his way to two technical fouls and an ejection in just over two minutes -- maybe the wisest decision any Knick made Friday night.

After all, who wanted to sit and watch the Warriors spank the lifeless Knicks? Certainly not the fed up Garden crowd, which left MSG as if there were an announcement that a deadly virus had spread throughout the building with just under five minutes left in the fourth.

[+] EnlargeAnthony
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony could flee New York at the end of the season.
The Knicks finished the month of February colder than the polar vortex, losing for the 11th time in their last 13 games with a 126-103 loss to the Warriors.

Mike Woodson told the Knicks afterward that they still can make the playoffs, even as they trail the eighth-place Hawks by six games. The Knicks, though, can't even win more than two games in a month anymore.

It's time to wonder if we are watching Melo's final two months as a Knick? Is this Anthony's final 23 games as a Knick? The good thing is Anthony doesn't have to decide his future today. If he did, no one could blame him for sprinting out of New York as fast as fans fled the Garden on Friday night.

"It's frustrating, regardless of the level or not," Anthony said of where his frustration level is at right now. "It's definitely frustrating. Just the games, how we're losing the games.

"I keep saying we've got to figure it out, figure it out, but it's time now where we should have it down pat right now. "We shouldn't be in this position."

The Knicks certainly weren't in any position to play defense against Golden State. Mark Jackson's shooters were wide open all night. Stephen Curry made Ice Cube proud, literally messing around and getting a triple-double (27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds) in less than three quarters.

"It's not a mental thing, it's a heart thing," J.R. Smith said of the Knicks' woes. "You're gonna let people score, what, 40-50 points in the paint, over and over again, we ain't gonna win.

"Guys get open shots, walking through the lane, run around, slapping high-fives, laughing, joking. You gotta play with effort, play with heart. I mean, I'm not condoning knocking somebody down and hurting nobody. But we gotta do something. We gotta stick up for ourselves. We're just letting people do what they want to do."

Unfortunately for Smith, the Knicks could get a heart transplant and it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. This is who they are. We're nearly 60 games into the season and they're fading in an awfully bad Eastern Conference. Key players around Anthony have gotten worse since last season.

Look at Chandler, one of the team's respected leaders. He couldn't bear to stand on the court a minute longer.

"It was just me being frustrated with everything that's been going on," Chandler said of his ejection for getting into it with the Warriors' Marreese Speights twice. "It had little to do with [Speights] and more to do with the season."

If Chandler is this frustrated, imagine what Melo is feeling? He pours everything he has every single night and it doesn't matter. He can score 44, as he did twice in February, and they'll still lose. He had 23 and 16 against Golden State despite a throbbing shooting hand and the Knicks still got drilled. The Knicks are supposed to be fighting for a playoff spot, fighting to keep Melo and give him a reason to stay. Instead they keep laying down.

Nobody would blame Anthony if he stole a page out of Stephon Marbury's book and wrote "All Alone" on his Jordan Melo sneakers. Of course, Anthony simply has too much class to do that.

But the frustration is building. If Melo thought he was in a dark place back in late November, he must feel as if he has been thrown into isolation in a dark room for all of February.

And right now, the only end to that frustration seems to be April 16 when the Knicks' regular season ends.

Playoff push? If anything, these final 23 games feel more like a death march toward Melo's free agency decision.

Much can change between now and July 1. Anthony will have plenty of time to cool off and the Knicks will have time to come up with some kind of plan to convince him that New York is the place where he should be.

But right now, Knicks fans might have only one reason why to keep subjecting themselves to this kind of punishment -- in the case that this is indeed Melo's final season as a Knick, they should cherish every minute he has left.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.1 3.1 0.9 36.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.0
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.4
StealsS. Larkin 1.3
BlocksL. Amundson 1.6