Mike Woodson veered off when he was leaving the court at the end of another defeat, looking to have some words with official Danny Crawford.
Woodson was very animated throughout the game, and he thought Carmelo Anthony was fouled on a critical play late in the Knicks' 94-90 loss to the Trail Blazers Wednesday night at the Garden. No foul was called.
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"There were times where I thought we got hit but there was no call,'' Woodson said. "We put Melo in a great position down four with 35 seconds on the clock and I go back in and look at the tape and I thought it was clearly a foul.''
Each loss hurts the Knicks, who are 19-30 and 2½ games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. But each loss could be more devastating for Woodson. He has been on and off the hot seat throughout this season, and he could be on it again. A published report said he could be removed as coach before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Woodson has appeared to be coaching desperately, as if every night is a playoff game. Essentially, it is. The Knicks have dropped three in a row after winning four straight games.
"We've been down this road before,'' Anthony said. "We've got to find our way out of it.''
The Knicks also have been down the road where rumors are everywhere. Anthony was asked if he would be surprised if something happened with the team over the next two weeks.
"At this point I don't really know what's going to happen, if something's going to happen,'' he said. "If something was to happen, then it's out of my hands.''
This was a winnable game. The Knicks defended well in the fourth, limiting Portland (35-14) to four field goals and forcing seven turnovers. But the Knicks shot 7-for-25 and got no fourth-quarter points from Anthony as they dropped to 11-17 at home. Anthony scored 26 points, but was 0-for-5 in the fourth.
"It was just one of them nights,'' Anthony said. "As far as shots go, I couldn't find it coming down the stretch.''
The Knicks, who trailed by 11 in the third, cut an eight-point deficit with 1:11 left to two just 21 seconds later. But they couldn't pull out the win. All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge shot just 5-for-17, but he buried a huge basket after the Knicks got within 89-87 with 50 seconds left on a Tim Hardaway Jr. three.
With Tyson Chandler draped all over him, Aldridge hit a tough turnaround jumper to give Portland a 91-87 lead with 35.5 seconds left. Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
"I thought I played good defense; he played better offense,'' Chandler said. "I forced him into the look that I wanted. He just hit a big shot. He hit the one that counted. That's what good players do.''
J.R. Smith had 18 points. Amar'e Stoudemire, who said he wanted more minutes, got more and produced, scoring 15 points in 21 minutes. Nicolas Batum's 20 paced the Blazers. Wesley Matthews added 18 points.
After Aldridge's big shot, Anthony drove but missed inside with 26 seconds left. He thought there was contact, as did Woodson. But Portland got the rebound and Mo Williams made two foul shots with 14.3 seconds to go to make it a six-point game.
Batum committed a silly foul on the next trip, hitting Smith as he attempted a three. Smith made all three free throws with 8.5 seconds left to bring the Knicks within 93-90.
Damian Lillard made 1 of 2 from the line with 7.5 seconds remaining. Pablo Prigioni attempted a three that rimmed out and Anthony's tip-in didn't drop.
"The situation, it is what it is right now,'' Anthony said. "There's no need to panic or anything like that. We're losing basketball games, and we got to figure out a way to turn it around and win basketball games."