Carmelo Anthony has noticed something about the 2011-12 New York Knickerbockers: They don't seem to be having much fun. That's an exact quote, actually.
Here's the quote:
"We're not playing with a high level of confidence right now," Anthony said on Sunday. "... I think we need to get back to that and get back to having fun."
Any fan can tell you that they're not watching with a particularly high level of confidence right now either. As Seth pointed out on Twitter during the Knicks' grotesque 104-92 loss to the Thunder on Saturday night, the Knicks have played two consecutive games that were blowouts by the third quarter.
They at least played a little better on Saturday against Oklahoma City than they did on Thursday against Memphis, but the Thunder are so good, and the Knicks were so lacking Carmelo (out with a sprained ankle), that their effort had little to do with the outcome. The Knicks were outmatched across the board. And anytime Iman Shumpert is in a situation in which he has an invitation to shoot, there are problems. It hasn't cost him his spot in the starting lineup, though, thanks to his diligent defense; Landry Fields was bumped for the OKC game — only the second game of his Knicks career he didn't start. (Mike Bibby took his place. It didn't help.)
So, the Knicks are now 6-6, three games behind Philadelphia (already) for the lead in the Atlantic Division. (It does help that Boston is playing even worse. The Celtics are 4-7. The Celtics!) Carmelo may or may not be back for today's MLK Day game against Orlando — if you're at work like us, you have a nice distraction come 1 p.m. — but the Knicks really need to start, you know, winning some games. More to the point: They need to start looking like a team who is even halfway enjoyable to watch play basketball. Even with the lousy Knicks teams of the first two years of Mike D'Antoni's tenure, they were fun to watch. This? We're not quite sure what this is. Well, actually, we know exactly what it is: It's what a Mike D'Antoni offense looks like without a point guard.
The Knicks have four home games in a row this week: vs. Orlando today, vs. Phoenix on Wednesday, vs. Milwaukee on Thursday and vs. Denver on Saturday. We figure they need to go at least 3-1. Beating the Magic this afternoon would be a terrific way to get us back enjoying watching the Knicks again. Well, if we could actually watch the games, that is.