Saturday, December 28, 2013
A miserable life without Melo
By Ian Begley
NEW YORK -- Not much went right for the Knicks on Friday night.
They blew a double-digit lead and were booed off the court. They missed a chance to make a dent in the division standings with another frustrating home loss -- this one to the Raptors.
But the worst news of the night came after the final buzzer.
Mike Woodson revealed after the game that Carmelo Anthony will miss Saturday's road game against the Raptors. And if the Knicks' next game follows the pattern that they've established during life without Anthony thus far, they're in trouble.
The Knicks coughed up their second-half lead on fatigued legs.
New York has been outscored, 264-212, since Anthony went down with an ankle injury on Monday night against Orlando. On Friday, they shot 38 percent from the field and failed to hold on to a 12-point, third-quarter lead when the offense, minus Anthony, bogged down. New York was outscored 29-12 in the fourth quarter. They missed 14 of their 19 fourth-quarter shots, including all four from beyond the arc.
"We fatigued," Woodson said. "I thought we had good shots. We had some good looks. We just didn’t make shots."
Fatigue is usually an issue on the second game of a back-to-back, not the first. If the Knicks didn't have enough energy late in the game on Friday, what will they have left on Saturday, especially without Anthony?
"Guys are going to have to step up and play big minutes," J.R. Smith said.
But that seems to be the problem.
Woodson used the "F-word" again -- fatigue -- when asked about the Knicks' rebounding issues late in the game.
He said Andrea Bargnani (37 minutes) and Tyson Chandler (32) were both a bit tired in the fourth quarter. That helped Toronto grab six key offensive rebounds and outscore the Knicks, 7-0, on second-chance points.
"This was a game we should have won," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "We had a chance to win and we let it slip away."
The loss left the Knicks (9-20) four games behind Toronto in the Atlantic Division race. They fell to 4-12 at home, a far cry from the 30-11 home record they compiled last season. And there don't appear to be any sweeping changes on the horizon.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported earlier Friday that owner James Dolan told players there aren't any trades or coaching changes forthcoming.
So Woodson appears to be safe for the long haul.
In the short term, he'll have to figure out how to win a pivotal game Saturday without Anthony. Good luck with that.