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Knee pain, fatigue force Carmelo Anthony out of Knicks' loss to Blazers

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, left, shoots

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, left, shoots against Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum during the first half of an NBA game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Credit: AP / Don Ryan

PORTLAND, Ore. - Carmelo Anthony asked to be removed in the first half Sunday night because his bothersome left knee felt tired and weak. It might not be long before he shuts it down for an extended period.

Anthony said he planned to try to return, but Derek Fisher told him at halftime not to bother. So Anthony remained in the locker room for the second half of the Knicks' 101-79 loss to the Trail Blazers.

It was surprising that Anthony played at all. He logged nearly 46 minutes the night before in the Knicks' overtime loss in Sacramento. Afterward, he spent a long time in the trainer's room with his left knee wrapped in an icing device and sounded like someone struggling with the idea that he might have to sit down for a while and rest his knee. Another option is surgery, but he called that the last resort.

"Eventually," he said, "it will be a point where they will come to me and we will sit down and say this is a point in time where we need to fix this or figure out what's the next step."

Anthony said he's not there yet. He felt more fatigue than soreness Sunday night and decided to play because the Knicks had only nine available bodies -- including his -- for the second straight game.

"It was more fatigue, not really getting a chance to recover from [Saturday] night," he said. "I felt it before the game and I looked around the locker room and we only had eight people. I didn't really have a choice but to go out there and attempt to play and try to play and see how much I could take."

Anthony finished with 13 points in 19:13 as the Knicks took their eighth straight loss and 18th in the last 19 games. At 5-28, they already have matched their loss total from two seasons ago, when Anthony was an MVP candidate and led the Knicks to the Atlantic Division title.

Anthony had been grimacing throughout Sunday night. Late in the second quarter, after jumping for an offensive rebound, he turned to Fisher and said, "Come get me, come get me." Fisher sent Travis Wear to the scorer's table, but play never stopped, so Anthony finished out the half.

The Knicks close out the three-game trip Wednesday against the Clippers. Anthony believes he will be able to play in that game after a couple of days of rest and treatment.

Anthony, who signed a five-year, $124-million deal in July, has missed only two games because of the knee. He wants to stick it out and try to help the Knicks make something out of this season, and he said his knee can't get worse.

"That's a question I keep asking," he said. "Could it get worse? Could it worsen? It can't get worse. It's just a matter of what I can take and what I can't."

Without Anthony, the Knicks had only eight players for the second half. Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Samuel Dalembert, Andrea Bargnani and Cleanthony Early didn't play because of injury. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points and Cole Aldrich had 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.

Portland (25-7) was without star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (illness) and center Robin Lopez (fractured right hand), but the Trail Blazers were in control from the beginning. They shot 9-for-10 to open the game and led by 14 less than eight minutes in.

Wesley Matthews scored 28 for the Trail Blazers, who shot 16-for-36 from three-point range.

"Guys are fighting and showing some grittiness and toughness," Fisher said. "Now we have to combine that with high performance. We can't have one or the other. We have to put it together even if we're shorthanded."

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