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SportsColumnistsAl Iannazzone

Nothing has gone Knicks' way this season

From left, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Pablo

From left, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Pablo Prigioni of the Knicks look on from the bench in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 8, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

Nothing has gone the way the Knicks thought or expected it would, not one thing. At this point, it's safe to say their expectations were unrealistic.

The roster that they thought was talented and solid enough to contend for a title is flawed, even with a healthy Tyson Chandler.

Andrea Bargnani hasn't been the consistent second scoring option the Knicks need, nor has he created the mismatches or opened the floor for Carmelo Anthony the way they hoped. Their backcourt play has been a disappointment.

The truth is that every player who returned from last season's 54-win team is playing worse than he did in 2012-13, even Anthony.

Has Raymond Felton lifted his game? No way. Iman Shumpert? Not at all. J.R. Smith? Absolutely not. They've all been worse. Pablo Prigioni? He's the Knicks' best point guard, but he still hasn't been as effective as last season.

Anthony? He's working harder rebounding the ball, but he hasn't been as clutch in the fourth quarter as he was last season.

Amar'e Stoudemire? Not yet, although he's starting to show signs lately. Playing more minutes and being more involved has Stoudemire in a good rhythm. The Knicks hope it can continue and that he doesn't break down, because lately he's been a bright spot for them.

Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace haven't been the solid backups some predicted they would be when they signed.

All of this essentially is why the Knicks have been and continue to be involved in trade talks. They pursued Kenneth Faried and right now are trying to get point guard Kyle Lowry from Toronto.

They need to make changes, and they will, hoping to jump-start their season and surround Anthony with players who give him the belief that he can win here.

The Knicks don't want to trade Anthony, but it said in this space last week that if they get the sense that he doesn't want to re-sign, they should explore what they can get for him.

The Clippers could make Blake Griffin available at some point. You know that Anthony would love to play with Chris Paul and that the feeling is mutual.

The season is not lost despite the Knicks' terrible start. They're in the Eastern Conference, and they have a major reinforcement returning soon in Chandler. But that's not enough. That won't be enough to save their season or to ensure that Anthony won't leave after it.

Knick killer

The Knicks probably are relieved that they won't play Kyrie Irving again until Jan. 30. Irving is averaging 25.9 points against the Knicks in his career and 32.8 points and 7.0 assists the last four times he's played them.

Irving cured his shooting and scoring slump in Cleveland's rout of the Knicks on Tuesday night. He shot 14-for-23 and torched them for 37 points, four shy of matching his career high -- which he scored last season against the Knicks. He was 6-for-24 in his previous two games combined.

Point guards have feasted on the Knicks' nonexistent perimeter defense. Kemba Walker, John Wall, Jeff Teague, Jeremy Lin, George Hill, Ty Lawson and Jordan Crawford have looked like All-Stars against the Knicks. Damian Lillard, too, but he has played like an All-Star against everyone this season.

Metta's worldMetta World Peace looks at things a little differently from most people and remembers things differently, too. Before his first start as a Knick Tuesday in Cleveland, World Peace said it was no big deal since "I started in the Finals, Game 7 MVP."

They don't award a Game 7 MVP. But in 2010, as Ron Artest, he hit a huge three-pointer in the final minute of Game 7 and scored 20 points to help the Lakers capture the title over Boston. Kobe Bryant was the series MVP.

World Peace also said he has nothing to prove because of his career accomplishments, including winning 2004 Defensive Player of the Year. "I think that year guys averaged six points," World Peace said. "I don't think anybody in the history ever had all small forwards average six points for the year on average." His numbers were a bit off, but still ridiculously impressive. The NBA release said Artest, who played for the Pacers that season, held his targets to 8.1 points per game on 9.3 shots and 42.6 percent shooting.

Fast breaks

There was a classy celebration in Boston on Wednesday when Doc Rivers returned. Rivers, who guided Boston to one championship and two NBA Finals, didn't want to go through a rebuild and was let out of his contract to coach the Clippers, but no one held that against him. The Celtics gave Rivers a video tribute and he received a standing ovation. Rivers was emotional before and after the game. "People don't get Boston," he said. "They don't understand. It is a special, different place."

When Paul Pierce faced the Celtics on Tuesday, he became the fifth player to play against a team for which he played at least 1,000 games: Patrick Ewing (1,039, Knicks), Pierce (1,102), Robert Parish (1,106, Celtics), Hakeem Olajuwon (1,177, Rockets) and Karl Malone (1,434, Jazz).

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