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Knicks overmatched against Raptors in 15th loss in last 16 games

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) guards

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) guards Toronto Raptors forward James Johnson, left, during the first half of an NBA game in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. Credit: AP / Frank Gunn

TORONTO - Carmelo Anthony doesn't like dwelling on the past, but he said sometimes he thinks back to two seasons ago, when the Knicks won 54 games and seemed to be building something.

Now, less than two years later, the Knicks could surpass their loss total from that season before the calendar turns to 2015.

The Knicks were outhustled and outplayed again in a 118-108 loss to the Raptors Sunday afternoon. Toronto took control early and was in charge throughout, sending the Knicks to their 15th loss in 16 games. They are an unimaginable 5-25.

"To be sitting here at 5-25 is just, it don't even seem real right now," Anthony said.

It's real, and for the Knicks, it's not spectacular. Just two seasons ago, they were Atlantic Division champs. They fell 18 games behind the division-leading Raptors (22-6) with this one-sided defeat.

"It's tough," Anthony said. "I sit back and think about that. I'm not a guy that likes to go back in the past, but seeing where we were at a couple years ago and thought we were going to kind of build on that and come back next year and be better as a team, be better recordwise, move toward that direction we all thought we were going."

Phil Jackson was hired as president to recapture that and make the Knicks a championship contender. But they're nothing close to that now.

The Knicks are banged up and not as talented as many teams, but they compound that by not always working hard or giving extra effort. They were late on closeouts and let the Raptors get wherever they wanted on the floor.

Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams each had 22 points, Greivis Vasquez 21 and Terrence Ross 18. The Knicks trailed by double figures the last 20:24 and didn't make it a one-possession game in the final 42:41.

Anthony shot 12-for-26 and scored 28 points, but for the most part, he was alone offensively. Jason Smith added 16 points and Jose Calderon had 15 points and 10 assists.

It will be interesting to see how much more Anthony can take physically and mentally. He is playing on a bad left knee that could require surgery.

After missing Thursday night's game to rest his knee, Anthony played 40 minutes in Saturday's loss to Phoenix and 38 on Sunday. He didn't sit out in the second half until Derek Fisher pulled him with 6:06 remaining in the fourth and the Knicks trailing 106-88.

"We're dropping further and further, but we're in December," Anthony said. "So it's hard for me to say I'm going to take it easy and just sit out and see what happens. Because I never know what's going to happen. If I sit out, does it get better? I don't know at this point."

The Knicks were without Amar'e Stoudemire (recovery day), Iman Shumpert (dislocated left shoulder), J.R. Smith (partially torn left plantar fascia) and Andrea Bargnani (strained right hamstring).

Then they lost Samuel Dalembert 61 seconds into the third quarter after he was assessed a flagrant foul 2 -- an automatic ejection -- for elbowing Jonas Valanciunas in the face. The NBA will review it to see if Dalembert deserves a suspension.

Anthony said that as of now, he plans to play Christmas Day against the Wizards. He has three days to rest his knee and clear his head.

"We've got three days to kind of get away from it for a little bit," he said, "maybe a day to kind of decompress and try to get into the holiday spirit.

"I can't imagine we would be in this situation we're in right now, being 5-25. What are we going to do about it at this point but keep playing these games and trying to win."

New York Sports