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Knicks' home losing streak reaches five games

Knicks center Cole Aldrich, point guard Raymond Felton,

Knicks center Cole Aldrich, point guard Raymond Felton, power forward Andrea Bargnan and shooting guard J.R. Smith sit on the bench and watch their loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter. (Nov. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Ray Stubblebine

Carmelo Anthony stood at his locker, shaking his head back and forth like a man who couldn't believe what he had just seen.

Anthony, who has had mostly good times since he was acquired via trade in February 2011 to rejuvenate the Knicks, now has gotten a glimpse of the dark side of playing in New York. He and his team were booed off the Madison Square Garden court Saturday night after falling to the Hawks, 110-90, and extending their home losing streak to five.

"There is no explanation. No excuses," Anthony said. "We are just not getting it done from that standpoint, from an effort standpoint."

The Knicks (3-6) have not won at home since their season-opening victory over Milwaukee. It marks the first time that they have lost five in a row at home since dropping six straight from Feb. 3 to Feb. 27, 2010.

"We didn't play with any purpose tonight," coach Mike Woodson said. "I'm not happy about it. Somehow I got to get us out of this rut we are in -- especially at home. If this was happening on the road, I wouldn't be that concerned. But it's happening at home, and that shouldn't be."

The Knicks have struggled defensively at home all season, and Saturday night's defensive effort was one of the worst of the bunch. With two of their best defensive players, Metta World Peace (sore left knee) and Tyson Chandler (right knee sprain), out with injuries, the Knicks had little answer for the Hawks. Atlanta shot 56 percent, including 40 percent from three-point range, and had eight players finish in double figures, led by Jeff Teague's 16 points.

Anthony, with 23 points and 12 rebounds, was the one bright spot, but he shot 8-for-21.

J.R. Smith was so abysmal that Woodson indicated after the game that he will re-evaluate his new position as a starter. Smith scored seven points and shot 3-for-18 without even attempting a free throw. He missed the first five games of the season because of a suspension and now is shooting 8-for-43 (18.6 percent) at the Garden this season.

"I played terrible," Smith said. "I played terrible. I've been playing terrible since I got back, and I'm not happy about it."

Neither is Woodson, who has to be concerned after hearing fans repeatedly chant for his firing in the second half of the game.

"The breakdowns are coming from all over the place," Woodson said. "Right now, we are not playing well as a basketball team, and that's on me as the coach. We will go back and review the film tomorrow and figure it out. I think everything we are doing is correctable and the effort had to come behind it as well."

Effort, or a lack thereof, was a common theme in the Knicks' locker room. And no one seemed more shaken by the lack of it than Anthony, who appears to be getting weary from carrying the bulk of the offensive load.

Said Anthony: "We can't worry about the boos. We have to play harder. That's all it is. We aren't playing worth a darn right now. We have to play harder. We start worrying about other stuff than playing basketball, then we really are going to be digging ourselves out of a hole.

"They are going to boo, the fans are going to boo when you are not playing well. We have to focus on playing better basketball."

New York Sports