Knicks believe they'll get it right by playoffs
Tuesday, March 22, 2011; 5:21 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Even before needing five stitches above his left eye, Carmelo Anthony understood this could be painful.
Though the New York Knicks envisioned themselves as a dangerous team after trading for him, instead they're two games under .500 since making the deal. And the more time they spend together, the worse they've played.
A team with Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the NBA's second-highest scoring duo, running Mike D'Antoni's system, has endured three straight subpar offensive games, and offense is supposed to be the Knicks' strong suit.
Yet as they reach the one-month anniversary of his arrival, Anthony says these struggles weren't a surprise, and he still believes there is time for the Knicks to get past them.
"That's something that I keep telling myself, I keep telling the guys on the team, that at the end of the day it's going to get to where we want it to be at. And I'm not really too concerned about that," Anthony said Tuesday after practice, his eye looking a little puffy after what he said was the first time he needed stitches.
"I'm confident in that, I'm positive about making that happen, making this whole thing work, and for the most part I know we're losing games right now, but everybody seems like their energy is up, nobody is bowing their heads and feeling sad about anything because everybody knows this wasn't going to be easy. This is a long road to get where we want to be at."
It's been much bumpier than anyone could have guessed.
New York fell to 7-9 since acquiring Anthony with Monday's 96-86 loss to the Boston Celtics, when he was cut after colliding with Rajon Rondo while trying to steal a pass. The Knicks have dropped six of seven and at 35-35, will have a losing record for the first time since November if they lose Wednesday to an Orlando team that has already beaten them twice this season.
The Knicks talked of moving up to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but instead have fallen behind Philadelphia into seventh after they held the No. 6 spot for more than three months.
A losing record is the norm in New York this time of year, with the Knicks in a franchise-worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons. But they have bigger goals this season, and they insist those plans are still intact.
"It really boils down to do you have a choice, and we don't have a choice," Stoudemire said. "You have to get it ready for the playoffs if you want to make things special out of this year."
They have at times looked capable, rallying to beat the Heat in Miami in the third game after the trade, and blowing out likely playoff teams New Orleans and Atlanta.