PHILADELPHIA — The Knicks may have been neck-deep in 76ers territory for the last two days, but that doesn’t mean they were all that keen about taking part in the local custom. While 76ers management appears to have made tanking an art form, Carmelo Anthony said Friday that it is a “terrible way to think.”
“As a player, you always disagree with that,” he said. He was responding specifically to the growing belief that the Knicks should give up on the season to get a crack at a better spot in the draft lottery.
“We’re the ones that are out there and playing and trying to win basketball games,” he added. “I think it’s easier from the outside looking in, from a fan perspective, to say, OK, just tank, just lose games. I don’t know how you do that as a player. I don’t know how you go into a game and say, ‘Today we’re going to try to lose this game or these next 15, 20 games. We’re going to figure out ways to lose and tank the season and start thinking about draft picks.’ That’s a terrible way to think and I don’t think any player in any sport should be thinking that.”
The easiest way for the Knicks to tank would be to take Anthony out of the equation completely, something he’s loathe to do and something, he said, that would have to be a directive from up high. They still have a shot at the playoffs, albeit a small one. They’re in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 1⁄2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
For Anthony, who made the playoffs the first 10 years of his career before falling short the last three years, any shot is a shot worth playing for. “I miss it,” he said. “It’s just something that you miss . . . It’s something that I’ve gotten used to throughout my career — just being there and giving myself a shot of at least seeing what can happen in the playoffs. I miss it. I miss it a lot. It’s something that I think about.”
n Hernangomez out again
Willy Hernangomez (sprained ankle) missed his second straight game. Jeff Hornacek hopes he’ll be available against the Warriors on Sunday.