Playoff push gets real for Knicks

It was quietly the GIF of a lousy weekend for the Knicks.

As Mike Scott rained in 3-pointers and the Hawks pulled away, Carmelo Anthony was siting on the bench shaking his head over how this game — this season — completely escaped his team and is slipping into oblivion. (h/t Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting)

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There is only so much more Anthony can do. In the two games this weekend — a Friday double overtime loss to the Magic in Orlando and a Saturday loss to the Hawks in Atlanta — Anthony scored 79 points, shot 29 of 53 (54.7 percent) and posted a 64.2 percent effective field goal percentage. His team still dropped both games.

The Knicks might be in full panic mode as they are set to complete buyouts for veterans Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace on Monday. A Staten Island teenager was freaking arrested for sending threatening tweets about Knicks owner James Dolan for crying out loud.

Things are looking bad for the Knicks as Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony and company try to hold the ship steady.

“This is ten times worse because of the magnitude of our situation right now knowing where we stand in the standings and knowing how important these games are,” Anthony said. “So everything is 10 times more magnified and tougher to accept. This was a game that I felt we should have been walking away with a win.”

The Knicks are currently 5.5 games behind the Hawks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That is a far fall from a team with championship aspirations at the beginning of the year after finishing second in the East last year. Things have been a struggle for the Knicks.

Now that the trade deadline has passed, it is becoming crunch time for the Knicks to turn things around.

Anthony has played at an MVP level. He has done what he has always done. The Knicks’ 3-point shooting has suffered and there just are not a whole lot more offensive options. Tim Hardaway Jr. has been a nice surprise, but that is about as far as the Knicks’ surprises go.

The losses have been tough to stomach for a team with high expectations for itself. Especially with plays like this one:


Luck matters in a whole lot of ways for this Knicks team. And things are not breaking their way.

“They’re tough,” Tyson Chandler said after the loss to the Magic. “Every loss is tough. Memphis was tough. This one is tough. This time of the year, every loss is like five. You can’t have them. Especially having a lead, controlling the entire game and obviously a game that we should win. It’s tough.”

If every loss is like five, that puts a ton more pressure on the team. A pressure they all recognized is there.

Anthony has never missed the postseason and that is not a thought he wants to entertain.

“I can’t imagine what [not making the Playoffs] is like,” Anthony said. “I am not even trying to think about that at this point. We still have a lot of basketball to play. Until that time comes, that is the furthest thing from my mind right now.”

That could become a reality however if the Knicks do not turn things around.


About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily