WHAT IT MEANS:Carmelo Anthony's Knicks just can’t stop the bleeding.
They’ve lost four straight and seven of eight, the latest being a 111-99 loss to the Orlando Magic at the Garden. The loss to Orlando dropped the Knicks below the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 23, when they were 8-9.
Even worse, Mike D’Antoni's crew is just 7-10 since Anthony’s Feb. 23 debut. They are also 1-6 since Chauncey Billups returned from a six-game absence due to a thigh injury.
For those thinking about the playoff picture, sixth place is slipping away from the Knicks as well. New York trails Philadelphia by two games in the race for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers beat the Hawks, 105-100, on Wednesday night.
TURNING POINT: The Knicks were up eight with 7:27 to go in the third quarter but Orlando went on a 10-2 run in the next two and a half minutes to tie the game at 71-71. Both sides traded baskets early in the fourth quarter until Jason Richardson followed an Amare Stoudemire miss with a deep three-pointer to give the Magic a four-point lead with 9:18 to play. Gilbert Arenas hit jump shots on back-to-back possessions to give Orlando a comfortable eight-point lead with just under eight minutes to play. The Knicks were outscored 32-21 in the fourth and put up just 40 points in the second half.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Stoudemire finished with a season-low 13 points, missing 14 of his 20 attempts. He and the Knicks were outclassed by Dwight Howard, who finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds. He missed just four shots. Anthony finished with 24 and Billups had 17 but the Knicks were -5 with Anthony on the floor and -9 with Billups out there.
The Knicks, wearing “Neuva York” jerseys to honor Hispanic heritage, were bad in the paint in any language, getting out-rebounded 49-35.
PATRICK’S DAY: Former Knick and current Orlando Magic assistant Patrick Ewing received a loud ovation from the Garden crowd when he as acknowledged on the Jumbotron. Ewing, always full of (empty) guarantees during his playing days in New York, couldn’t offer any guarantees on when the new-look Knicks would turn things around.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Knicks take on the Bucks to complete a three-game homestand on Friday night. The Knicks lost in horrific fashion in Milwaukee last Sunday night, scoring a season-low nine points in the first quarter of a 100-95 loss. If any of the Knicks mention the word “revenge” in reference to Friday’s game, beware. The last time a Knicks star made reference to “revenge,” the results weren’t pretty. Stoudemire said the Knicks were out for revenge against the Pacers on March 15. They lost to Indiana, 119-117, on a Danny Granger buzzer-beater. The Bucks game begins a four games in six days stretch for New York.