Knicks, Without Anthony, Go Down to 20th Loss of the Season to Toronto

Published on: 28th December, 2013

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Madison Square Garden Celebrates Finish Of Multi Year Construction Project
Knicks owner, James Dolan, promised no trades or firings

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Jim Dolan, president and CEO of Cablevision Systems Corporation and executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, waits to speak at a press conference announcing the completion of three-year, $1 Billion dollar face lift to Madison Square Garden on October 24, 2013 in New York City. Madison Square Garden is home to the basketball team the New York Knicks and the hockey team the New York Rangers, and also hosts events ranging from live music shows, political events and professional boxing matches. The Garden also faces new challenges in the live entertainment business from the recently opened Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)  | read this item

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New York — Mike Woodson said yesterday that he expected his 9-19 New York Knickerbockers to win the Atlantic Division championship this season. Despite the terrible start and all of the problems this team is having with chemistry, size, defense, offense, and seemingly, caring, Woodson went ahead and pulled a Jim Fassel by predicting his team will win a championship.

If Woodson was hoping his bold pronouncement would fire up his sleepy, de-energized team as well as the Knicks sleepy, de-energized fan base, just as Fassel did in 2000 before his football Giants went on a tear that took them from mediocrity to the Super Bowl, it didn’t show up for his Knicks on the court tonight at Madison Square Garden.

In an important game against the current Atlantic Division leader, the Raptors, the Knicks blew a 12-point third quarter lead, got outscored 29-12 in the fourth quarter and went down to defeat for the 20th time this season, 95-83.

A Knicks win would have cut the Raptors lead to a scant two games over the New Yorkers, instead, the first place (with a 12-15 record) Raptors upped their lead to four games over the 9-20 Knicks.

Even with Knicks owner James Dolan telling the team after practice yesterday there would be no trades or firings (despite all the rumors to the contrary flying around this organization), there was little improvement in the Knicks’ performance, especially with Carmelo Anthony still sidelined by a sprained ankle.

With DeMar DeRozan leading the way with 25-points and Jonas Valanciunas pulling down a career-high 18 rebounds, Toronto looked like the hungrier, more talented, and better-coached team on their way to their 12th victory of the season. The Knicks, in suffering their 20th loss of the season now have more losses than any other team in the NBA except the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz, both with 23 losses.

The Raptors, steadily gaining in confidence, won for the fifth time in their last six road games, including recent wins over Dallas and Oklahoma City via fourth quarter comebacks.

“In the second half we picked it up defensively and offensively. We got the ball up the floor a little bit faster, picked up the pace in that third and fourth quarter, and really made a charge down the stretch,” point guard Kyle Lowry said.

Since Toronto traded Rudy Gay, a one-man shooting gallery of inefficiency who plays in the mold of Carmelo Anthony, the Raptors have distributed the ball better, played better defense, and seem like a happier crew.

Knicks owner, James Dolan, promised no trades or firings

Knicks owner, James Dolan, promised no trades or firings

“Last year we were in a ton of situations, late-game situations we couldn’t pull out. We’d kind of fold under the pressure, get frustrated or let a big shot frustrate us,” guard DeMar DeRozan said. “Now, we don’t let none of that get to us.”

As for the Knicks, Woodson realizes his only hope of getting his emotionally-sagging team to pick up their energy and effort is to set the still doable goal of an Atlantic Division championship (and an automatic fourth spot in the conference playoffs) in front of them, hoping the veteran leaders of this team will push along the younger players. So far, the body language and the words coming from his players are still in a downtrodden state.

“It’s just disappointing because I felt like we had the game in control for a big part of the game. And then kind of let it dwindle away fourth quarter, it’s pretty disheartening,” center Tyson Chandler said.

Wonder if Jim Dolan is paying attention to how getting rid of a ball-hogging player who is in it mostly for himself can have positive affects on a franchise’s performance, and it’s self-image?

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