When the New York Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony the entire city was beside itself with joy. Getting Anthony was just the first step on the Knicks’ inevitable rise to championship glory. No one was saying they’d win it all this year, but there was tons of optimism that New York could make a solid run in the playoffs this year in preparation for a potential championship chase next season.
Yeah, about that…
Last night the Knicks lost to the Boston Celtics 96-86 in a game in which Boston outscored New York 59-35 in the second half. The Knicks have now lost six of their last seven games, allowing an average of 106.6 points per game over that stretch. The only win in that stretch came over a Memphis team playing without Rudy Gay. The Knicks also managed to hit 20 3-pointers in that game.
Since landing in New York, Anthony is averaging 24.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Those are close to his averages with the Denver Nuggets this season (25.2/7.6/2.8). But in the 15 games since they dealt for him, the Knicks are just 7-9.
Sure it’s a small sample size but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this incarnation of the Knickerbockers is fatally flawed. Anthony and All-Star running mate Amar’e Stoudemire are – how can I put this delicately – not exactly known for their prowess on the defensive end of the floor. In fact, they’re pretty awful defenders. So the Knicks are hanging their hats on a pair of superstars who can’t stop opposing superstars. That means Mike D’Antoni’s team will have to outscore everyone. That formula simply doesn’t work in today’s NBA.
For this marriage to work either Anthony and Stoudemire have to improve their defense or Madison Square Garden’s crowds should get used to disappointing losses.