LOS ANGELES, CA-The New York Knicks don’t have Carmelo Anthony to bail them out anymore. As a matter of fact, the Knicks don’t have much of anything these days, thanks to some questionable decisions by the team’s management. But in the eyes of fairness, the Knicks could be waiting for a summer of re-birth via free agency and through the NBA Draft.
The House that Willis Reed Built is no longer except in memory only. That era of excellence is way gone. So are the years of success that Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, coach Pat Riley, and their version of the Knicks that they brought to New York fans. What the Knicks do have these days are mounds of losses and basketball apathy.
Melo brought a big-time star to the big-time market of New York. But he never delivered an NBA championship. Heck, he never even got to the championship round, and these days Anthony, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, is desperately looking like a basketball vagabond trying to latch on to any team that would have his services.
Kristaps Porzingis, whom the Knicks drafted in 2015, was supposed be that shining light to replace the aging Anthony. But then the Knicks went AWOL and traded Porzingis, sending him to the Dallas Mavericks for a couple of expendable players, including former Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr.
It’s been a mess this season for the Knicks and their players. Their overall record reflects that reality. The Knicks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-lowest mark in the entire NBA. During the first half of their road game against the Clippers, the Knicks played like it, giving up 82 points on their way to a 128-107 defeat at the Staples Center Sunday afternoon.
“We were not ready to play,” said New York Knicks coach David Fizdale. “For whatever reason, these early games [have] been our challenge. We weren’t ready to play in that first half. Obviously, I’m proud of the way we came out and battled in the second half. Coming into the second half the goal was to win the half-quarter by quarter, and we did that.”
At one point during the contest, the Knicks trailed the Clippers by as much as 37 points in the second quarter. Out with an injury, Jordan sat on the bench and watched the contest against his former team in streets clothes.
Mitchell Robinson filled in nicely, though, giving the Knicks something to hope for in the future. In his 22 minutes of play, Robinson tallied a double-double (a Jordan staple), scoring 16 points and grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds in the defeat.
“We made a few mistakes tonight, and I feel like we learned from them,” Robinson said. “We can definitely change the way we play and make a run for it.”
The good news for Jordan and his New York teammates is that the contest is over. And in just over a month, their woeful season will be as well.
“I wouldn’t say it’s tough to stay focused, but I had to deal with the same situation last year in Dallas,” said Smith. “I think it’s easy for guys to get short-sighted in the grand scheme of things. You can’t get lost in the process of everything; you’ve got to embrace it and still go out and do what you’re supposed to do.”