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Another city, another loss for Knicks

A flagrant foul is called on New Orleans

A flagrant foul is called on New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis as he bumps into New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith while trying to defend forward Carmelo Anthony in the first half of an NBA game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Credit: AP / Jonathan Bachman

NEW ORLEANS - The Knicks couldn't shake their "loser's mentality" Tuesday night, and now they're tied for the most losses in the league.

One day after team president Phil Jackson said the Knicks have one, they lost their ninth straight game, matching last season's longest skid. The Pelicans dominated inside, got in the paint whenever they wanted and downed the Knicks, 104-93, at Smoothie King Center.

The Knicks are 4-19, tied with the Pistons for the most losses and only half a game ahead of the Sixers.

"I definitely didn't see this coming,'' J.R. Smith said. "It's tough. To think we're tied for the most losses in the league right now with the players we have, with the talent we have, it's tough to grasp.''

Amar'e Stoudemire had a strong offensive game, leading the Knicks with 26 points. Carmelo Anthony, whose troublesome left knee acted up again, had a relatively quiet night. He shot 6-for-11 and scored 17 points and had no assists, and couldn't say whether he would play Wednesday night in San Antonio.

The defending NBA champions also are completing a back-to-back, so maybe the Knicks will get lucky and Gregg Popovich will rest some of his marquee regulars. But that might not even help the Knicks.

The Pelicans (10-10) shot 50 percent from the field, outscored the Knicks 54-40 in the paint and held a 43-30 edge in rebounds. Tyreke Evans scored a game-high 27 points. Anthony Davis added 18 points -- 13 of them in the second half -- and Omer Asik had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Naturally, the Knicks were down double-digits in the fourth quarter. This time, though, there would be no obligatory comeback as their free fall continues.

"Surprised is if you expected things to go one way or another,'' Derek Fisher said. "We're not measuring ourselves based on other teams in the league or the history of the team or what the team did last year. We're trying to build something here that's going to last a long time.

"It's a struggle right now. We're at the bottom. We're going to keep fighting until we figure out a way to get to the top.''

The Pelicans turned a four-point lead to start the fourth into a 91-78 advantage after an Asik layup with 5:55 to go. The Knicks cut it to 91-82, but Davis scored before he blocked Smith's layup. That led to Evans' layup in transition and a 95-82 advantage. The closest the Knicks got after that was 99-90 on a Pablo Prigioni three-pointer with 1:34 left.

Anthony said it was brought to his attention that Jackson said the Knicks have a "loser's mentality.'' Anthony didn't necessarily agree, but overall, the Knicks seemed more bothered by their record than Jackson's assessment.

"When it comes to having a loser's mentality, what I can take from that, I think when you lose games consistently the same way that we're losing games, I think it's easy to get accustomed to kind of trying not to lose rather than trying to win games,'' Anthony said. "I think that's where we're at as a team right now.

"I don't like to lose. Loser's mentality, I think a lot of people will kind of decipher that in their own different ways. You ask 10 people, you're going to get 10 different opinions of what that means. I know we don't have a losing mentality.''

Jackson also said the Knicks have had "resistance to discipline and order and culture change.'' Fisher said change is "tough for anybody,'' while Anthony conceded it's hard to stay positive when losing continues.

"I think it's natural to get down and get upset and get frustrated when you're losing basketball games,'' Anthony said. "We just can't allow that to seep in and every time we lose a game everybody's getting down and angry and upset and frustrated and it carries over to the next game and the next game.''

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