The New York Knicks had a chance last night to clean the slate from their recent ugly play. You can let a couple of inexcusable losses to the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks slide, if you take care of Boston in your own building. It was a six-point Knicks advantage heading into the fourth quarter, it was a nine-point advantage with only 7:26 left on the clock. Unfortunately from that point on, Boston played liked the title contender they are and the Knicks played like the 35-35 team they are.
The Knicks are an average team, who played scared and tentative when the chance came to make a statement. We saw them rise up a few weeks back against the pretenders in Miami but Boston is on a different level and unfortunately because of the Knicks recent putrid play, there is a very real chance they will see the Celtics again in the first round.
Defense is an attitude and the Knicks don't have it. This team has the talent to stand toe to toe with anybody in the Eastern Conference. The problem is they aren't mentally strong enough and they are too soft to maximize that talent. You saw it with their inability to get stops in a big moment. You saw it with their haphazard play on offense. Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for a grand total of zero field goals in the fourth quarter, and this is a team that is supposed to pride itself on their ability to put the ball in the basket.
Anthony has had a rough couple of weeks. The popular "I'm Coming Home" montage from his opening night can now be mixed with clips of him complaining about his coach, avoiding the media, and sitting out the final minutes of a game with Boston with a bloody eye, while Ray Allen played through the same injury.
We knew this would take time and the Knicks weren't ready to compete for a title just yet. However, it is one thing to lose because the chemistry just isn't there yet, it is another thing to lose because of being soft and lacking effort.
Carmelo needs to take a lesson from Mark Sanchez. Nobody in this town wants to see you sulking. As a rookie, Sanchez was widely ridiculed for his body language during his five interception performance against the Buffalo Bills. He has clearly learned a thing or two since then and has racked up four playoff wins in his first two professional seasons.
A few weeks back, many of us thought the Knicks could surprise the league and pull out four playoff wins themselves. Right now, it doesn't look like they even deserve a chance to win one.