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Twitter beefs, Barkley quips and some injuries sum up Knicks' season thus far

Knicks guard Jose Calderon talks with head coach

Knicks guard Jose Calderon talks with head coach Derek Fisher during the second half against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Bulls won 103-97. Credit: AP

Jose Calderon was speaking about Andrea Bargnani's situation, but his words aptly described the Knicks' season.

"Everything goes like a snowball," Calderon said Thursday night after a loss in Chicago. "When things go bad, everything goes bad."

The Knicks are 5-23 and on pace for 15 wins. But their current physical and mental states suggest that projection might be high.

Carmelo Anthony is being advised by "multiple people" to "shut it down" and rest his left knee that eventually could require surgery.

Phil Jackson ran to Twitter on Thursday to defend the Tyson Chandler trade to Dallas against a reporter who said he was "hornswoggled." Jackson also tweeted at TNT's Charles Barkley, who as usual was critical of the Knicks during their 103-97 loss to the Bulls.

Barkley said on the air that, "Phil's got sensitive in his old age," and he's "too old to be tweeting." Jackson responded again Friday, tweeting: "Sir Chuck is a funny guy. Too bad I didn't see him comment last night. It was past my bedtime and my twitter curfew had been imposed."

It's good that Jackson can maintain his sense of humor at a time like this.

Among the things Barkley said was that Bargnani's possible return would be like treating "a heart attack" with "a Band-Aid." Bargnani was acquired last year to be a second scoring option and take some pressure off Anthony. It hasn't played out that way, though.

Bargnani missed the final 40 games with an elbow injury and hasn't played yet this season because of hamstring and calf strains. Signs point to him practicing soon, but that doesn't mean the Knicks' fates will change immediately or at all.

Anthony's condition is a big concern. He's questionable Saturday against Phoenix. If the Knicks continue to lose with Anthony, who sat out Thursday, it might make sense for him to take care of his knee. At least the Knicks will get a high lottery pick out of this season.

The Knicks also list Amar'e Stoudemire as questionable. He's expected to have "a recovery day" and miss one of the next two games. The Knicks play in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. Stoudemire said he would like to face his former team, the Suns.

J.R. Smith has a partial tear of his left plantar fascia and is doubtful for Saturday. Iman Shumpert remains out with a dislocated left shoulder.

Those injuries led to Derek Fisher giving undrafted rookie Travis Wear his first NBA start Thursday and Cole Aldrich his first start this season and third in his career. The Knicks have used 14 starting lineups in 28 games.

"It's tough to get different lineups, different rotations every day because of something," Calderon said. "It looks like everything is against us a little bit. It's not an excuse. There is more than that. It's all together."

Even when the Knicks were close to full strength, they didn't play like a cohesive team. They have struggled with the triangle offense, have had so many defensive breakdowns, and their late-game execution has been poor.

They played a solid game in Chicago and had opportunities to win. Stoudemire went as far as to call it "a moral victory."

The Knicks were down one with less than a minute left. But like in so many losses, missed shots and not being able to finish defensive possessions cost the Knicks again. Tim Hardaway Jr. airballed a game-tying three with 37.9 seconds left

Chicago had two offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, and both came in the final 11.3 seconds. One was with the Knicks down three, and the second was off a missed free throw.

"I think or I hope nobody on the team wants to quit," Calderon said. "We're going to have to play until the end. I don't care if [our record is] 5-and-100. We have to go out there every night and play hard. We're trying to build something. We're trying to get something done here.

"We're playing better basketball. We got so many injuries. We got some things going on. We're playing hard. We just need a couple of these close games to change a little bit the spirit of everybody."

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