Unlike on-court cohesion and defense, perspective isn’t lacking among the Knicks during their post-megatrade slump, with six losses in seven games.
“Losing games can be a little bit frustrating at times, but that happens, especially when you’re trying to get things right,” Carmelo Anthony told reporters yesterday.
However, immediate improvement, not perspective, will likely be the factor that helps the Knicks (35-35) against East heavy Orlando (45-26), which visits the Garden tonight. “I believe — we believe — that something will get turned around quickly,” Anthony said.
Here is a look at what has been an up-and-down season for the Knicks, who still seem destined for a playoff berth despite their struggles.
Nov. 16 (3-8)
The Knicks lose six straight games as fans begin to question whether Amar'e Stoudemire, the newly signed high-scoring power forward, can pull the Knicks from mediocrity.
“I don’t understand why we’re not playing with the urgency,” Stoudemire says. “It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter. That’s something I’m not used to. ... I try to instill the fact that we have to play with [a] sense of urgency. ... We’re not showing that we really want it.”
Dec. 12 (16-9)
The Knicks reel off 13 wins in 14 games. Surprising second-round pick Landry Fields is on his way to being named the East's Rookie of the Month for both November and December.
“Sky’s the limit,” says Stoudemire, who looks like a legitimate MVP candidate after running off a franchise-record nine consecutive 30-point games. “It’s just a matter of us continuing to improve.”
Jan. 11 (22-15)
The Knicks' torrid pace levels off, and the groundwork is lain for the Knicks' first playoff appearance since 2004 — especially after the team's signature win against the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 4.
“I’d say we are getting it,” coach Mike D’Antoni says about his team’s commitment to defense. “The key is that players are buying into it and trying to get better at it.”
Feb. 16 (28-26)
Struggles mount amid seemingly endless rumors about a potential Carmelo Anthony trade. Stoudemire heads to Los Angeles to start in the All-Star Game; point guard Raymond Felton, playing at an All-Star level, is snubbed. Roster upheaval from the Anthony trade is days away.
“We’ve got a ways to go yet, but at least we’ll have a good break and get everybody back and ready to make that stretch run of 28 games that we need to play full tilt,” D’Antoni says.
March 21 (35-35)
The Knicks fall to 7-9 since trading much of their young core for Anthony and Chauncey Billups, who replaces Felton. Counterbalancing impressive victories at Miami and Atlanta is an alarming 1-6 record against sub-.500 opponents.
"I made a monumental trade in the middle of the season," says team president Donnie Walsh. "I feel they are having a hard time getting together. I want them to get together as soon as possible.''