Knicks drop eighth straight, 97-95
DENVER - Carmelo Anthony heard the boos, and he had the ball with a chance to silence the crowd and give the Knicks an opportunity to end their longest losing streak in more than three years.
The former Nugget found a familiar spot on the Pepsi Center court and had a smaller player on him. The 6-8 Anthony backed in 6-4 Randy Foye, turned -- and took a baseline jumper that came up well short just before the buzzer.
Foye, who contested the shot hard and got part of the ball, was credited with a block and a rebound that clinched the Knicks' 97-95 loss to the Nuggets, their eighth consecutive defeat.
"I didn't get it done," Anthony said. "That's it. My teammates did a great job of getting us in that position, putting us in that position, giving me a chance to tie the game or go for the win. I didn't pull through for us. I'll take that one."
The Knicks flew home from this four-game trip with a 3-12 record. They have lost eight straight for the first time since February 2010.
Anthony, making only his second trip back to Denver since forcing a trade in February 2011, finished with 27 points, but he didn't have a good fourth quarter. He scored only five points in the quarter, two in the last 4:54. Anthony shot 1-for-4 in the fourth and had a critical turnover down the stretch.
But Anthony and the Knicks left for New York feeling better about themselves because of the way they stormed back late.
After falling behind 94-85 with 1:43 remaining on Foye's three-pointer, the Knicks got within 96-95 on Iman Shumpert's driving layup with 19.7 seconds left. Ty Lawson made the first of two free throws with 19.0 seconds remaining, and when he missed the second, Anthony got the rebound and knew what he wanted to do.
Anthony waved off his teammates. It was his game to tie or lose. He took the shot with 2.6 seconds left, and Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Anthony let too much time go off the clock.
"I thought we should have [shot] a lot sooner based on the time on the clock,'' Woodson said. "If you do that, then you get an opportunity to possibly offensive rebound and put it back.''
Anthony admitted he wasn't thinking about an offensive rebound, probably because he believed he wouldn't miss.
"I was just trying to work the clock down," he said. "I didn't get it done. I'll take this one. Whether Coach wanted me to go early, I didn't make it happen.
"Once I looked and I saw I had a smaller guy, my thing was just to try and shoot over him. I knew what I wanted to do. I know which spot I wanted to get to. It just didn't happen. I didn't complete the mission."
Andrea Bargnani shot 7-for-11 and scored 22 points for the Knicks. J.R. Smith had 11 but hurt the Knicks more than he helped them, shooting 1-for-7 from three-point range.
Lawson had 22 points and eight assists. Foye scored 17 points and Nate Robinson 16 for the Nuggets (9-6).
Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. gave the Knicks a much-needed lift in the fourth, burying two three-pointers during an 11-4 run that cut a 10-point deficit to 81-78 with 7:32 to go.
Trailing 85-83 after two free throws by Bargnani, the Knicks had a chance to tie it on their next trip, but Anthony missed a jumper in the lane. On the other end, former Knick Wilson Chandler buried a corner three-pointer to make it 88-83 with 3:31 left.
With the Knicks down 90-85, Anthony was called for a traveling violation. Foye canned a corner three-pointer to give Denver a 94-85 lead with 1:43 remaining.
But Smith knocked down a three-pointer six seconds later to give the Knicks life, and they moved within 96-93 on Raymond Felton's three-pointer with 31.4 seconds left.
Woodson inserted Kenyon Martin for defensive reasons and he drew an offensive foul on Chandler with 29.5 seconds left. But the Knicks came up short when Anthony's shot came up short.
"There's no reason to hang our heads down," Anthony said. "Yes, we lost. That's a bitter feeling. We want to get better. I think we took a step forward in getting better."
"Any loss is tough,'' Woodson said. "We lost eight games in a row. It's frustrating. I know it's frustrating for the guys in the locker room. But we got to stay the course. We got to keep grinding.''