GREENBURGH, N.Y. — “I’m off today,” Carmelo Anthony announced to reporters as he walked off the practice court Tuesday without stopping to talk.
That was just fine, because the Knicks star had plenty to say Monday night after the Knicks were routed by the Toronto Raptors, 122-95, their 12th loss in the last 14 games. If the Knicks were upset by Anthony’s frank assessment of the situation — he admitted that it was difficult to stay positive with all the losing — they didn’t let on.
Instead, interim coach Kurt Rambis said Tuesday Anthony’s attitude is what he wants from his players, and hinted that some lineup changes could be in the works.
“I see frustration. We’re all frustrated. We can’t accept this,” Rambis said. “For the organization, for our team, ourselves as individual, the coaching staff. We can’t accept losing.
“I want the players to be angry. I want the players to be frustrated. That’s the right attitude to have. If guys aren’t playing, they should be frustrated that they are not playing. We’re not winning right now, so they have to be believing in their hearts and minds that [they] could be doing a better job out there on the court. Those are the kind of players you want on your team. You don’t want guys that just roll over and accept this losing.”
Anthony, who is in the second year of a five-year deal worth $124 million, admitted after the 27-point loss to Toronto how hard it was to lose game after game. Anthony has been through four coaches and four team executives in his five years with the team. Yet he has been to the playoffs only twice. This season is looking like the third straight that he doesn’t make it, unless the Knicks stage a dramatic turnaround.
“It’s been tough. It’s challenging,” Anthony said on Monday night. “It’s challenging to kind of stay strong and positive through all this.”
Anthony’s teammates understand his frustration.
“I think that frustration is inside of us,” rookie Kristaps Porzingis said after practice. “Everybody’s frustrated. We all have our individual frustrations. But we are staying together trying to find a way to win games. We’re trying to find out how to do things right and be consistent on the floor.”
Rambis was asked if he was considering making lineup changes, which would likely involve the Knicks’ struggling backcourt.
“Always. When you’re losing, you’re considering a lot of things,” Rambis said. “So we’ll see, we are going to have some conversation with the coaching staff, management, players. We have to find a way to play at a much higher level and a more intense level for longer periods of time.”