Sunday, February 23, 2014
Worst loss of the season so far? Vote!
By Ian Begley
Here's how bad things have gotten for the New York Knicks: One of the most compelling debates about the team right now is deciding which loss is the worst of the season.
When you're 21-35 and 5 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, there are plenty of candidates.
Below, we offer five choices. (Just to give you an idea of how bad it's been, we couldn't include the awful defeats to Washington, either of the losses to Charlotte and last night's brutal loss to Atlanta):
Dec. 8: vs. Boston, 114-73
The score pretty much sums this one up. But the context of the day made it worse. The Knicks had just won two straight games in blowout fashion and looked to be on the verge of turning things around against the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics. Instead, they fell behind 25-3 and suffered their third-worst home loss in franchise history.
Jan. 22: vs. Philadelphia, 110-106
The Knicks hoped to dig themselves out of their early-season hole during an eight-game home stand. But they couldn't take advantage of the soft home schedule, with the low point coming in a midweek loss to the Sixers, who are openly trying to lose games. The loss was the Knicks' fifth straight and third in a row to open the homestand. Any chance New York had of turning the corner on this forgotten season felt lost that night.
Feb. 3: at Milwaukee, 101-98
It doesn't get much worse than this one, does it? The Knicks wasted 30-point nights from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith and fell to the worst team in the league on a last-second three-pointer by Brandon Knight. Carmelo tied the score on three separate occasions in the final three minutes with big shots, but the Knicks couldn't get stops down the stretch to pull out the win. If Anthony signs elsewhere next season, it would surprise no one if the sour taste from defeats like this played a role in his decision.
Feb. 12: vs. Sacramento, 106-101 (OT)
The Knicks hoped to go into the All-Star break with positive vibes after a win over Sacramento, one of five NBA teams at the time with a worse record than their own. Instead, Jimmer Fredette turned back the clock to his BYU days, pouring in a career-high 24 points to lift the lowly Kings to an OT win at Madison Square Garden. The loss increased speculation about Mike Woodson's job status. But he wasn't fired over the break and it seems as if he will finish the season as Knicks coach.
Feb. 21: at Orlando, 129-121 (2 OT)
The Magic are also actively trying to lose games to improve their chances of landing a high pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But those plans were foiled by the Knicks last Friday. New York wasted another masterful night from Anthony (44 points, 16-for-28 shooting, 11 rebounds) and lost to a team that had won just 16 games prior to taking the court. The lowlight was a dunk attempt by Tyson Chandler that was waved off because the ball hit his head on the way through the rim and bounced out. A microcosm for this forgettable Knicks season.
** We'll give an honorable mention to Saturday's loss to the Hawks, who had dropped eight straight prior to beating the Knicks. Atlanta erased a 17-point deficit and left the Knicks a season-high 14 games under .500. Yikes.
Question: What's the worst loss of the season so far? Use the comments section below or vote in the poll above or -- what fun -- do both!