Carmelo Anthony: Knicks back coach

Updated: January 30, 2012, 11:53 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

GREENBURGH, NY -- The New York Knicks have lost nine of their last 10, leading to questions about coach Mike D'Antoni's job status.

But, according to Carmelo Anthony, D'Antoni's job security isn't an issue inside the Knicks' locker room.

"Anytime teams are losing, that's the first thing that comes to mind, the coach. But we don't talk about that," Anthony said on Monday. "We support Mike 100 percent. He's here with us, we're here with him, and we're going to roll with that."

D'Antoni was asked if he was concerned about his job status two days after the Knicks fell to 7-13 with a 13-point loss in Houston.

"My focus right now is trying to get us to win. And I think every player, we just want to try to win. Worry about how the chips fall? We can't do that," said D'Antoni, who is in the final year of a four-year contract.

The Knicks lost three of four in their four-games-in-five-nights road trip last week. When they return home on Tuesday against the Pistons, New York may not have Anthony, who is doubtful due to an ankle injury. The game against the Pistons is a warmup for the Knicks' set of back-to-back-to-back games, which starts at home on Thursday against Chicago.

"We've got to try to win by any means right now," Amare Stoudemire said. "We don't want to get too far behind to where we've got to dig out of a deep hole. We have a deep enough hole as it is now. So we've got to find ways to get wins."

After getting to 6-4, the Knicks lost six straight -- four of which were at home. They then dropped three of four on the road last week, leading to speculation about D'Antoni's job security.

The team is a mess offensively, which is widely considered to be D'Antoni's strong suit.

The Knicks entered play Monday ranked 24th in offensive efficiency, scoring 95.4 points per 100 possessions.

Anthony has struggled with his shot, going 40-for-126 in his last six games while playing through injury. The star small forward doesn't seem to fit into D'Antoni's system. The coach's offense is at its most effective when there is continuous ball movement in an effort to find an open shot. Anthony, on the other hand, is among the league leaders in isolation plays during his time on the floor.

The Knicks also haven't found a suitable replacement for Chauncey Billups at point guard.

Billups was amnestied to create enough cap room to sign free agent Tyson Chandler. The team is hoping Baron Davis can help turn things around, but the 32-year-old point guard has yet play a game for New York due to a back injury.

As for players who are healthy, Stoudemire is struggling through one of the worst stretches of his career. He's shooting 43 percent from the field and averaging just 17.7 points per game. Last season, his first in New York, Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points on 50 percent shooting.

With Stoudemire leading the way, the Knicks were 28-26 in mid-February and seemed to be headed in the right direction. But they sent Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov and others away in the Anthony trade, robbing the team and D'Antoni of several pieces that fit his system.

New York is 21-31 (including the playoffs) since the Anthony trade and enters play Monday in tenth place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's not a great feeling. The whole purpose of playing here is to contend for a championship," Stoudemire said. "And right now we're not ... on that track right now to contend so we've just got to keep getting better."

But Stoudemire said none of the players are concerned about D'Antoni losing his job.

"We don't feed into it. Our job is to go out there and try to perform and try to win. Our goal is to play hard," he said. "We don't really get into the he said she said stuff."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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