LOS ANGELES - Amar’e Stoudemire can’t complain about a lack of ball movement after this game. The problems Wednesday night were too much Stoudemire and not enough made shots in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks had an opportunity to end their losing streak, especially when the Clippers lost Chris Paul in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. But they scored just 12 points in the fourth and lost for the seventh straight time, 93-80, at Staples Center.
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After the game, the Knicks’ locker room was closed longer than usual. Carmelo Anthony said the players met, the coaches met and they all talked.
“We are in a dark space and we got to get out of this,” Anthony said.
The Knicks are a disappointing 3-11 and in the midst of their longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row Feb. 5-23, 2010 under Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks end this four-game trip Friday night in Denver.
Stoudemire had a brutal game on both ends of the floor. The Knicks’ highest-paid player had four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, and was a minus-29. The Knicks outscored the Clippers by 16 when Stoudemire was on the bench.
“It's not going to always go Amar'e's way," coach Mike Woodson said. "My theme has always been it’s what you do with the minutes when you're in there. They got to be productive minutes when you're in there. Right now we're playing spotty minutes.
“It's not just Amar'e. We got too many gaps we got to fill."
The Knicks continue to get little out of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith – nine points total. The bench was just 6-for-25 with 13 points. Metta World Peace was 0-for-6 and scoreless in his return to Los Angeles.
The Knicks shot 6-for-19 in the fourth and scored just 10 points after drawing within four on the first play of the final quarter. They didn’t take advantage of the Clippers being without Paul the last 15:19 of the game.
"We're just not making shots," Woodson said. "We're struggling to score."
Coming into the game, Stoudemire kept blaming the Knicks’ struggles on a lack of ball movement, which was viewed by many as a knock against Anthony. If not for Anthony, the Knicks wouldn’t have been in the game in the fourth quarter.
Anthony scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Andrea Bargnani added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Raymond Felton, who returned after missing four games with a pinched nerve in his hip, had 12 points and seven assists.
Paul, J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin each scored 15 for the Clippers. Griffin added 13 rebounds.
The Knicks were down 59-58 in the third when Stoudemire returned with 6:40 left and the Clippers went on a 12-3 run to take a 71-61 lead.
After Smith scored inside on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 74-70, the Clippers answered with nine straight points and led 83-70 with 7:50 left.
An Anthony dunk ended a 4:08 drought without a field goal. Later, the Clippers went up 88-74 on a Jared Dudley three with 5:29 remaining. The Knicks never got it under 12 the rest of the way, and ended the game missing seven of their last eight shots.
Before the game, Stoudemire said he wasn’t singling out Anthony. Stoudemire said he was referring to the team “as a whole” and blamed the media for perceiving it that way.
But after practice Tuesday, Stoudemire was sitting privately with Anthony.
“We all know we’re together,” Stoudemire said. “We talk about what we need to do to improve. There’s no sense of really sitting down one-on-one with anyone. We understand what we need to do to win. We love each other on and off the court. Once we start winning, everything will smooth out.”
“We all are a unit. It’s not to single no one out at all. But you guys seem to do that.
The last thing the Knicks need is for players to point fingers, although no names were mentioned. Stoudemire and Shumpert brought up ball movement as a major issue after the Knicks lost in Portland on Monday night.
Ball movement has been blamed for Knicks losses frequently ever since Anthony arrived in 2011. During the second-round playoff series against the Pacers last season, that was a common refrain from the Knicks. Woodson was asked if that’s a convenient excuse and guys aren’t looking at themselves to see what more they can do.
Woodson, with a big, telling smile, said, “You can look at it in that light.”
The Knicks were lucky the ball found Anthony and Bargnani in the first half. They combined for 35 points and shot 13-for-25. The rest of the Knicks were 5-for-19 with 10 points. The Clippers led 49-45 at the break.
After jumping out to a 19-10 lead, the Knicks were outscored 30-10 and trailed 40-29. But they reeled off 13 consecutive points, essentially when the starters returned, and led 42-40 after a Felton layup with 3:44 left. That was their last basket of the half.