A DARK PLACE FOR NEW YORK:
The New York Knicks have now lost seven consecutive games – an unfathomable way to begin the season – to drop to 3-11 overall. They are in the bottom of the Atlantic Division, and Carmelo Anthony admits that the team is now in a dark place, from Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:
“The easiest thing for us to do is just to crumble right now,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We are in a dark place but we have to get out of this. We just have to get out of it.”
“We talked. Everybody talked,” Anthony said. “The players had a meeting, the coaches — everybody had a meeting after the game. We had to talk. We’re trying to figure it out together. We have to put four quarters together. We got to do it for one another. Right now the game is not for nobody. We’re just not making it happen.”
Anthony also shared his thoughts on the struggles of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith:
“They have to figure it out, and we have to help them figure it out,” Anthony said. “I really don’t know how we do that but we’re going to keep trying and we’re going to keep trying to figure this out. Them guys have to figure it out on their own, too, and along the way, we all have to be there for one another. The easiest thing would be for us to go our separate ways and separate this team in the locker room but we have to be here for one another right now. The hardest thing to do right now is to remain positive. I know it’s tough but we have to do that.”
Earlier in the day, Mike Woodson said he hasn’t lost the lockerroom. In his mind, not having two of his starters has been the biggest issue, from Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:
“I don’t think I have lost the locker room,” Woodson said during his weekly spot on “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show” on ESPN New York 98.7. “I don’t think I have lost players from an individual standpoint. What I have lost is a Tyson Chandler and a Raymond Felton, that is what I have lost from my starting team.
“And I don’t know if you can go on any roster and take two starters out of their roster and they still survive,” Woodson added. “They might play in spurts like we are doing today. I am not making excuses, but I would sure love to take my chances with Tyson and Raymond in my lineup.”
Amare Stoudemire went off about the lack of ball movement after losing to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. Anthony brushed off those comments and blamed the defense instead, from Marc Berman of New York Post:
“It’s just defense at this point,’’ Anthony said. “The easiest thing to do is try to point fingers and trying to figure out what’s going on — [like] ball movement. At the end of the day it’s defense, we’re not guarding anybody.”
“It’s easy to do because at the end of the day, I have the ball most of the offense,’’ Anthony said. “When you hear that, where it’s coming from, why is it being said, the real reason we’re not winning is we’re not defending. We’re not believing or trusting in one another on the defensive end.’’
Stoudemire also did his best to write off the notion that his comments were directed towards anyone in particular, from Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
“When we say things as far as ball movement we’re talking about as a team, as a whole,” Stoudemire said before the Knicks faced the Clippers Wednesday night. “We all are a unit. It’s not to single no one out at all. But you guys seem to do that.
“We’re a team. We’re together. We’re united. When we discuss things about defense we talk about team defense. When we discuss things about ball movement, we’re talking about team ball movement.”
So what really is to blame?
Quite frankly, no one is wrong about what’s wrong with this team. The Knicks are 24th in offensive rating and 29th in defensive rating. They don’t score effectively. They don’t defend. They simply don’t play together on either ends of the floor. Simply put, they’re just a bad team all-around right now.
At the very least, the defense should improve once Tyson Chandler returns, as Woodson pointed out. With iso-oriented players like Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, Smith and Stoudemire, there is no quick fix for how the offense is going to improve at this point. It’s a worrisome situation for a team that perhaps has never looked more disoriented as a unit than they do now.
DION WAITERS BEING SHOPPED:
It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to move on from Dion Waiters. The second-year guard has reportedly caused problems in the locker room and doesn’t seem to like the idea of playing with Kyrie Irving. Chris Broussard of ESPN has details:
Three teams the Cavaliers are known to have spoken with are the New York Knicks,Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, the sources said. The Cavs’ targets are Iman Shumpert in New York, Evan Turner in Philadelphia and Luol Deng in Chicago, sources said.
However, Waiters and Irving are not close. Waiters believes the Cavaliers have a double standard when it comes to Irving, sources said. Waiters feels that while Irving is allowed to get away with loafing defensively, making turnovers and taking bad shots, he is taken out of games for such things. Waiters has shared his views with Brown and Grant.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH ERIC BLEDSOE?:
Bledsoe has missed the last six games due to a shin injury. Concerned with the length of time missed and the lack of progress in recovery, the guard went in for an MRI. Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic has the latest update:
Bledsoe’s MRI was negative. It is a shin bruise but the pain he feels is in the muscle. He’ll test it again before #SunsVsBlazers tonight.
Mark Cuban on Kobe Bryant’s new contract: “I guess he can’t be amnestied anymore.”
Rick Carlisle on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson: “I’ve never seen two guys like this on the court at the same time, on the same team.”
John Wall on where he is in the point guard rankings: “I’m the best point guard in the league. That’s my statement.”