Knicks fall to Portland, 102-91, for sixth straight loss
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Carmelo Anthony admitted the losing is wearing on him, and you could see the frustration and despair in his teammates. You could hear it in their words, too.
Several Knicks had their heads down and shoulders slouched during and after Monday night's 102-91 loss to the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
They can't believe that after 13 games, they have three wins. They're complaining that the ball isn't moving. They can't believe they're talking about a lack of effort. But they are.
The Knicks fell behind by 22 points in the first half, and although they put forth a late run, they came up well short and lost for the sixth straight time.
Frustration? "It's at an all-time high at this point," Amar'e Stoudemire said.
"I'm tired of losing," J.R. Smith said. "If I score zero points or I score 50 points, I don't want to lose. Even if they don't play me and play somebody else and we win, we win. I just hate losing."
Anthony scored 34 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Andrea Bargnani added 16 and Beno Udrih had 13 for the Knicks, who never trailed by fewer than seven points in the final 42:14.
"It's frustrating," Anthony said. "Tough times right now. We've got to do it together and dig ourselves out of this hole. But we keep digging and digging and digging the hole and it keeps getting deeper."
Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum each had 23 points for the Trail Blazers (13-2), who won for the 11th straight game. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Wesley Matthews scored 17.
Smith was 2-for-8 with six points and five fouls. Iman Shumpert finished with no points, rebounds or assists and three fouls in 23:16. He also wasn't sharp defensively, which had been one of his strengths.
"Iman didn't have much in his tank in the first quarter," Mike Woodson said. "He was just out there. I'll sit and talk with Iman [Tuesday] to kind of see where his head is at."
Shumpert was asked if the trade talk involving him is having an impact on his game. "I don't think so," he said. "We're just losing. Losing affects everybody."
The Knicks' trip continues in Los Angeles against the Clippers Wednesday night, so it could go from bad to worse if they don't play with a sense of urgency at the start or with the right effort against Chris Paul and the high-flying Clippers.
The Knicks seemed to have the right outlook coming into Monday night's game. At the morning shootaround, Anthony said it was time to get "that monkey off our back. It's starting to turn into a gorilla. I can't handle that." And when the Monday Night Football game was put on one of the TVs in the locker room, Stoudemire, who was watching video of the Blazers, had it turned off. "We've lost five straight," he said.
But that sense of urgency didn't translate to the game until it was desperation time.
A 22-6 run gave Portland a 34-18 lead after a quarter, and the Trail Blazers went ahead 48-26 when Lillard drove the lane for an uncontested dunk with 4:52 left in the half.
The Knicks moved within 81-74 on Bargnani's three-pointer with 10:10 left in the game. But they shot 0-for-3, missed two foul shots and committed a turnover on their next four trips, leading to nine unanswered points by Portland and a 90-74 hole with 7:52 to go.
Anthony's three-point play with 1:47 left made it 98-91, but Lillard buried a jumper on the next possession and scored inside with 45.9 seconds left for the final basket of the game.
"We came out not ready to play," Woodson said. "We were awful. The game was decided in the first quarter."