- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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"It's not a mental thing, it's a heart thing," Smith said after the Knicks gave up 73 first-half points in the loss.
"Guys get open shots, [they're] walking through the lane, running around, slapping high-fives, laughing, joking. When you're supposed to be a team trying to make the playoffs, you ain't gonna win. It ain't gonna happen like that. 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."
It was hard to argue with Smith's assessment after what happened Friday night at the Garden. The Knicks were never in the game, falling behind by double digits in the first quarter and 21 at the half.
The loss left New York a season-high 16 games under .500 and six games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Smith, who scored 17 points on 7-for-19 shooting, was asked whether he thought the Knicks could turn things around.
"We're not playing like it, that's for sure," he said. "It's fine to think you are or have that belief, but if you can't put it out there on the court, then it don't mean nothing."
A combination of frustration and apathy has infested the Knicks' locker room.
Just one day earlier, Smith noted that Carmelo Anthony must be getting "numb" from all of the Knicks' losses.
"That's not good for anybody," he said after the Knicks' 26-point loss to Miami.
He also questioned the team's commitment.
"We're not playing like a team that's trying to make the playoffs," he said.
Anthony didn't go as far as questioning his team's heart after Friday's game but said the losses to Golden State and Miami the past two nights were "embarrassing."
"I don't think it's heart, man. That's his opinion; everybody has their own opinion. So I can't go against what he says. But for me it's just the consistency and it's been all year long," Anthony said. "As far as questioning a guy's heart, I wouldn't go that far. I think as a team we just, we're not consistent in a lot of aspects out there, and it's showing."
3hBaxter Holmes and Larry Coon
3hMicah Adams, ESPN Stats & Information
5hIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer