A season that started with promise is slipping away.
The reeling Knicks lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games on Sunday afternoon, flopping at home against the lottery-bound Nuggets, 101-96, after Carmelo Anthony missed an off balance 3-pointer that would’ve tied it down the stretch.
Derek Fisher took “some” responsibility for the team falling into another early hole and its “overall lack of readiness,” but then claimed he wasn’t surprised by the fall to eight games under .500. The coach was big on problems and short on solutions as the Knicks (23-31) dipped to 12th in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m not necessarily surprised,” Fisher said. “Unfortunately, it is disappointing. There are always reasons why. The reality is that we have chances to win these games but we are not winning them. …We have never been truly consistent. It seems like the issues have bounced around some but the reality is until something changes, it won’t change.”
Carmelo Anthony finishes with 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Anthony returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game with knee soreness, struggling with his shot (7-for-19) while scoring 21 points. His biggest miss occurred with 11.8 seconds left and the Knicks trailing by three. Fisher again opted against calling a timeout after the Knicks grabbed a defensive rebound, and Anthony took his 3-point attempt very early in the possession.
“I was a little off-balance,” he said. “I felt it. I thought I got a good look at it. It almost went in. I got the look I wanted.”
Anthony said doctors confirmed his lingering knee problems are a common consequence of his surgery recovery, but that’s been amplified by the load he’s shouldering on the court as the team’s lone All-Star. As the Daily News reported, Anthony had two MRIs done on his knee recently, not just the one that the Knicks revealed.
“I’ve talked to everybody I needed to talk to, the technical staff. Other people who’ve been in this situation or had the same procedure. Other doctors, just trying to get advice about what I’m dealing with. And everybody says it’s part of the recovery, part of rehab,” Anthony said. “In most situations, people wouldn’t have that load I’m putting on. So for me it’s kind of no rest, get out there and play.”
Despite the need for rest, Anthony said he’ll be going to All-Star Weekend in Toronto and will continue his rehab there before participating in the Valentine’s Day Game.
Danilo Gallinari sinks a half-court shot and scores 19 points against the Knicks.
“It’s not going to heal in a week or a couple days or even two weeks. What I had done, the procedure I had done (on his left patella tendon), that’s going to take time to heal,” Anthony said. “I wanted to get an MRI for my own sake to make sure that what I was feeling wasn’t nothing structural, just general soreness.”
On Sunday, the Knicks overcame an early 19-point deficit to take a lead in the fourth quarter.
Kristaps Porzingis, who started the game shooting 0-for-6, led the comeback with 13 points in the third quarter, hitting four straight shots at one point.
But then he disappeared as the Knicks went cold down the stretch, losing this one similarly to the previous three: by overcoming a slow start only to fail in crunch time.
The Knicks missed 14 of their 19 shots in the fourth quarter. Porzingis finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
“It’s the same story almost every game lately,” said the rookie. “We start off slow and missing shots and not having energy. Then it takes a lot of energy to get back into the game. That is very frustrating.”
Denver rookie Emmanuel Mudiay, who was considered by the Knicks in the draft and was picked two spots below Porzingis, scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets (21-31) took 28 free throws and had 16 fast-break points – 13 more than the Knicks.
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