One stat in particular jumped out at us last night as we watched Portland’s detonation of the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks: Since Jan. 1, the New York Knicks are 17-16, while the Wizards, formerly the embarrassment of the league, are 17-18. Knee injuries to Anthony and Tyson Chandler on Wednesday night in Denver have left the Knicks short-handed, but swingman J.R. Smith sees another reason for New York’s 6-9 record in its last 15 games: Not enough heart.
In a report by Newsday, Smith said: “We got to check out our heart right now. We either got to compete or pack up and go home. It’s just that simple.”
“I don’t mind losing,” Smith said. “But if we just go out there and get demolished, that’s a problem, especially when you’re supposed to be considered one of the best teams in your division and your conference. It’s just not a good look for us.”
It has been a bad look, too. On February 8 the Knicks won their sixth game in seven tries. They held a four-game lead over Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division’s top spot. Then a four-game losing streak hit. The Knicks righted themselves briefly, then slid back after Anthony’s initial knee injury two weeks ago. Losses on consecutive nights to Denver and Portland where the Knicks were badly outplayed and truly looked a decade older than their opponents have not helped. New York is currently a game up on the Nets.
What do you think?
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.