D’Antoni Says, “We Are A Wreck” As Knicks Lose Fifth In A Row

Published on: 21st January, 2012


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D'Antoni Says, "We Are A Wreck" As Knicks Lose Fifth In A Row  | read this item

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New York — After the Knicks last loss this past Wednesday night to the lowly Phoenix Suns, their fourth in succession, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni talked about how the team was entering a crisis stage. Tonight, against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, who came in with a season road record of 0-8, D’Antoni’s club got clubbed again, 100-86, in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score might indicate.

In his post-game press conference, D’Antoni had the appearance of a beaten-down man for the first time this season, as any coach of a team with a huge payroll, very high expectations, and a frontline of all-stars would have after a fifth straight loss to an inferior team.

“There are no magic words and no magic potion,” he said. “We are just not playing well. We have to play much more aggressive and get through this.”

With their record dropping to 6-9, there indeed, does not appear to be any magic formula available to right this ship. Right now, this is a roster of mismatched talents and possibly, a mismatched coach whose offensive system focuses on ball movement and taking quick shots when a player is open. The type of talent Jim Dolan has acquired, namely Carmelo Anthony, finds itself at loggerheads with D’Antoni’s teachings. It seems that once Anthony’s hands touch the ball, it has a very difficult time leaving those hands. In D’Antoni’s offensive sets, Anthony is turning into a veritable black hole from which his teammates are unable to get return passes.

D’Antoni’s frustration showed after the game.

“We are hesitating on everything and not really attacking,” he said. “So far, we don’t have a life line. Offensively, we are a wreck. They made shots, they played well but we can’t give up 100 points.”

The Knicks shooting woes continued. They shot just 37% from the field (27-73) and just 27% (6-22) from the 3-point stripe. They also turned the ball over 25 times.

Despite scoring 35 points, Carmelo Anthony continues to shoot more like Greg Anthony, the old Knick point guard who couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a jump shot. He missed 15 of 26 shots. He’s made just 25 of his last 75 shots over the last three games, which he has played with an injured left wrist and injured right ankle.

To put a perfect ending on a miserable night, Anthony was thrown out of the game after picking up his second technical foul when he got into it with Brandon Jennings with 1:33 to play.

I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it,” said Anthony. “It hurts the way we are losing. Tonight, frustration  set in, especially with me. At this point, we have to man up and play.”

Interestingly,  Anthony’s view of the Knicks offensive problems differed from those expressed by the other superstar on this team, Amar’e Stoudemire. Those differences may bear watching as this season goes along.

“I think guys are getting the ball in the right position and the right shots but we are having a hard time making shots right now,” Anthony said. “That gets frustrating out there. You don’t have the confidence of shooting the next shot, the next wide open shot. It makes the whole situation that much more strenuous.”

Although Stoudemire put up 15 points and 11 rebounds,  he is not playing like the Stat of old, on either side of the floor and his frustration is beginning to show. He particularly does not think he is getting the ball in the right spots, contradicting what Anthony said.

“Right now, it is not a beautiful feeling,” said Stoudemire. “We are not taking care of home court. Offensively, we played well in the first half and in the second half, we went back to not doing what we want. We have to figure it out.”

“We have to do a better job offensively. We have to make sure the tempo is up, we have to get out and go, and we have to move the ball around,” Stoudemire said. “We have to keep that consistency so guys know where their shots are coming from. Right now, guys have no idea where their shots are coming from and when they do get it, they’re surprised they have it and they rush into a shot. It creates low percentage shooting.”

“Most great players know where their shots are coming and they work on those shots in practice repetitively.”

You get the feeling from watching the man in his post-game press conferences that he is getting ready to explode if the wins don’t start coming.

“Right now, we have to stay together,” he said. “It is never fun losing but the last thing you want to do is point fingers. We have to stay together as a team and work things out.”

Tonight was also the first time the Garden crowd, which has been very supportive of D’Antoni in his time here, began to start a chant of “Fire D’Antoni,” something Knicks fans heard plenty of when Isiah Thomas was manning the sidelines. The booing started to reach a crescendo not heard around here in a couple of years.

“Half my family is probably booing right now,” said D’Antoni. “It goes with the territory when you aren’t playing well.”

If the Knicks continue with this brand of basketball, D’Antoni will find out a lot more than booing goes with the territory in this town, where expectations always seem to be greater.


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