At this stage of the season and after all the losing, this is a big week for the Knicks and could be for Mike D’Antoni.
The Knicks have lost nine-of-10 games, and have showed very little sense of urgency. It’s not what you expected from a team with championship expectations.
That’s what makes this is a big week and why D’Antoni could be feeling the heat more than ever in New York if the Knicks continue to lose at their current way and in the way they have.
“We have to continue to find ways to get out of this rut,” Amar’e Stoudemire said after the Knicks ended their four-game road trip with three straight losses. “We have opportunities to win. We just can’t pull it out. We understand we got a young team, but we got to find ways to win. We got to control games.”
On Tuesday the Knicks play the Pistons, one of the worst teams in the league, at Madison Square Garden. Before the season most people outside of Detroit – and probably many from there – might have penciled in a Knicks’ win. But the Knicks have stumbled against all kinds.
They hope to get Carmelo Anthony back and he’s more effective than he has been lately. He shot 40-for-126 in his last six games, including 15-for-51 in the three prior to his decision to shut it down and rest his ankle, wrist and thumb.
More will be known at practice tomorrow about Anthony’s status and Baron Davis. D’Antoni said “the soonest” Davis could play is Tuesday, but a New York Times report said he could be out another week or two.
The Knicks still should have enough to win some of the games this week. Then again, you would have thought they had enough to win some of the other games they lost – Toronto, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Cleveland come to mind.
“Losing is no fun,” Stoudemire said. “It’s real frustrating. The thing about this stretch right here is it’s something you don’t want to get used to. Trying to find a way to get over the hump. Losing is not something we set out to do.”
That’s what makes this a big week for D’Antoni and the Knicks.
Starting Tuesday start another stretch of four games in five nights, including their only set of back-to-back-to-back. Two from that trio are home.
In Saturday’s loss in Houston, seldom-used Jeremy Lin, who could be waived when Davis proves he’s healthy and can play every game, was the most effective point guard. He got in the lane and created some shots.
That hasn't been a common occurrence for Knicks' point guards this season.
It will be interesting to see if Lin gets any playing time this week.
Stoudemire on keeping the Knicks together: “Myself and a few of the other veteran guys have to continue to talk to the young players about staying together and to keep their heads up and understand that this is long season. No matter what the fans may say right now, if the world’s against us we have to be with each other. It’s a matter of us staying together, staying positive but also being hard on ourselves and figuring out how to get over this hump and how to get better.”