Well, that didn't last very long.
The New York Knicks' winning streak lasted just one game as New York was defeated on Wednesday night by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 91-81. New York dropped to 7-11 on the season and hasn't won a game in Cleveland since Nov. of 2006, faltering in its last nine tries at Quicken Loans Arena. You know it's a bad sign when Anderson Varejao was the best player on the floor -- he finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 assists and 2 blocks to lead the Cavaliers, who improved to 7-10.
In most of the Knicks' losses this season -- and they are starting to pile up against poor teams at an alarming rate -- the main culprit has been the offense. Coming into the season, many didn't think the Knicks would have trouble scoring. Mike D'Antoni's teams never have, and the team boasts two of the game's top scorers. But Wednesday's loss to the Cavaliers was a microcosm of how the entire season for the Knicks has gone.
A clearly banged up Carmelo Anthony had just 15 points, while Amare Stoudemire led the team with 19. As a team, the Knicks shot just 42 percent, including an abysmal 3-for-20 from 3-point range. There are times when the Knicks shoot too often from beyond the arc, but this wasn't one of those times. Sure, Jared Jeffries and Stoudemire don't need to be lining up from distance, but Anthony misfired on all three of his tries and Toney Douglas, a 36 percentcareer 3-point shooter, made just two of his eight. For the season, the Knicks are hitting just 30 percent of their shots from 3-point distance, which is in the bottom third of the league. Additionally, New York has struggled with ball security all year long. They had 22 more turnovers on Wednesday, and their 284 ranks third-most in the entire NBA. Those are two big reasons that New York is where it is at this point in the season.
There are times when shots aren't falling and you simply need to bear down and win on effort and hustle plays. D'Antoni has not gotten maximum effort out of all of his players this year, and as the losses keep coming, one has to wonder how much longer he has to try and turn things around. Yes, it is ultimately on the players to step up, and professional athletes shouldn't need pep talks to play their hardest. But its common in sports for a coach's voice to become white noise in a locker room. Despite there being some new faces on the Knicks, it's worth considering that it has gotten to that point with D'Antoni.
It doesn't get easier for the Knicks, as they travel to Miami on Friday night for a date with the Heat.