Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/13
It is the fourth game of the season, four out of 82, and logic insists — logic demands — that it is too early to pass judgment on the Knicks, too early to attach too much meaning to a three-game losing streak, too early to do much of anything. Four out of 82. This is still the overture. Only it doesn’t feel that way, does it? “We’re not getting it done right now,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We’ve got to get this fixed,” coach Mike Woodson said. Forget the Knicks lost to the Bobcats, a team that should have no business cake-walking into Madison Square Garden and winning a game this breezily. The final score was 102-97, and the Bobcats led for the final 47 minutes of the game. OK. Maybe it’s hard to forget that. But the harsh truth is, losing one game — No. 4 out of 82 — was barely a footnote. The laundry list of laments is laughable. There is Carmelo Anthony, who continues to look like he’s playing with a borrowed set of hands, who missed 18 of his 28 shots attempts. There’s the sad sight of Amar’e Stoudemire, who may well be — and this isn’t easy to type — the worst player in the NBA right now. There’s the general malaise that infected the Knicks all night that was simply hard to ignore. The Bobcats had more offensive rebounds (eight) than the Knicks had defensive rebounds (seven) in the first half. That’s about as humiliating a stat as a professional basketball team can generate. And there was this: Tyson Chandler sprawled on the ground, banging knees with Kemba Walker, Chandler sitting there a good long while as none of the Knicks trainers rushed to tend to him, as if by staying away, maybe he could magically get better (kind of the way the Knicks hoped their roster would improve this offseason). We’ll know more about Chandler’s status Wednesday but put it this way: an “inconclusive” X-ray — which is how the team described it — rarely leads to a “feel-good” MRI exam. Maybe that’ll be wrong. But only if the Knicks’ luck changes. You know. After 40 years. “He’s our anchor down there,” Anthony said. “We miss him big-time.” Chandler’s absence can explain to a degree the dreadful rebounding performance, and maybe why the Knicks’ defense was a hemorrhage, allowing 64 points in the first half. But the problems that already ail this team are so much broader, so much deeper than that, and four games in are fully on display. The parts don’t seem to fit, no matter what combination. No one looks comfortable. Andrea Bargnani is already in exile, forgotten for most of the second half (though even the relentlessly stubborn Woodson may be forced to go with him more if Chandler is out for an extended period). Metta World Peace is interesting to watch, knows how to fill up a boxscore, but that’s as much for the plays he botches as the ones he makes. Mostly, we are seeing just how embedded in the team’s fabric Anthony is, how difficult that can be when Melo is playing as he is now, when he is far more dangerous shooting for the other team (he partially tipped a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist follow in the fourth quarter) than for his own, when he can’t seem to get any lift from his legs or love from the officials.
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