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The New York Knicks were already in a tailspin before T.J. McConnell stunned them at the buzzer to hand the Philadelphia 76ers a 98-97 win on Wednesday night, and frustration emanated from their locker room in a major way following the last-second loss.
Speaking to reporters in the locker room at Wells Fargo Center, Carmelo Anthony explained the Knicks are facing a do-or-die moment after they dropped to five games below .500 (17-22) on the heels of McConnell’s clutch turnaround jumper.
“I’ve seen this happen before,” Anthony said, according to the New York Times‘ Mike Vorkunov. “I’ve seen it go down quickly. I don’t think this is the situation, but we definitely have to start playing better basketball as a whole, as a team.”
The Knicks are now 1-9 over their last 10 games. Not surprisingly, the losing has started to take a toll on the team’s spirits.
“This is embarrassing,” Lee said after the Sixers erased a 10-point deficit over the final 2:29 of regulation, per Vorkunov. “The way we keep losing games, there’s no excuses. It’s us.”
Lee also declared the Knicks have to “change our mentality” and that “it has to be defense first,” according to the team’s official Twitter account.
However, recent trends would suggest a quick turnaround isn’t in the works.
|Dec. 25||Boston Celtics 119, New York Knicks 114|
|Dec. 28||Atlanta Hawks 102, New York Knicks 98 (OT)|
|Dec. 30||New Orleans Pelicans 104, New York Knicks 92|
|Dec. 31||Houston Rockets 129, New York Knicks 122|
|Jan. 2||Orlando Magic 115, New York Knicks 103|
|Jan. 4||Milwaukee Bucks 105, New York Knicks 104|
|Jan. 6||New York Knicks 116, Milwaukee Bucks 111|
|Jan. 7||Indiana Pacers 123, New York Knicks 109|
|Jan. 9||New Orleans Pelicans 110, New York Knicks 96|
|Jan. 11||Philadelphia 76ers 98, New York Knicks 97|
Dating back to their 119-114 loss to the Boston Celtics on Christmas, the Knicks rank 27th overall with a net rating of minus-6.6 points per 100 possessions. Extrapolated further, head coach Jeff Hornacek’s club has posted an offensive rating of 103.3 with a 110.0 defensive rating during that stretch.
“We got to find consistency in everything that we are doing,” Lee said, according to ESPN.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “There is no consistency in nothing so that is the start of something on both ends, everything, rotations, we got to find some consistency in something. … soon.”
At the moment, the Knicks are in a world of hurt. And based on the looks of their upcoming schedule, things may get worse before they get better.
Losers of three straight, the Knicks will be back in action Thursday evening when they host the Chicago Bulls on the second night of a back-to-back.
After that, they’ll square off against the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards in consecutive contests that figure to test their competitive mettle and serve as a competitive barometer as pressure in the Big Apple begins to amplify.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com.