So much for the feel-good story that much of the 2010-2011 NBA season has been for the resurgent New York Knicks. After an awful 116-108 loss at home Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers the Knicks are a Friday night loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers from being back at the .500 mark.
Head coach Mike D'Antoni and All-Star forward Amere Stoudemire both ripped into the team following Wednesday night's performance, or lack thereof.
"I just don't think we had the energy out there to be a playoff team," coach Mike D'Antoni said "For whatever reason, in the first half we just didn't come out and play. You could see it on our face, the energy level, mostly on the defensive end, but it transferred to the offensive end."
Stoudemire, the team's unquestioned leader, also called out his teammates.
"We're not playing hard; we're not getting loose balls. Seems like we're afraid out there," he said. "I said it before the game. We've got to have supreme focus. "I guess they figured I was talking to the wall because we didn't come out with any focus," Stoudemire said, according to the New York Daily News. "You can tell before the game. You can tell by facial expressions and body [language] that guys weren't ready to go."
New York magazine pointed out that the Knicks are just 5-11 since Christmas Day. Could there be a sense of reading their own press clippings a little too much?
Writing at Posting and Toasting, our man Seth let his feelings be known:
It really is maddening how a group of gentlemen that's stood up to the Spurs, Heat, and Celtics can so feebly bow at the feet of the league's lowliest. We saw it against the Kings and Suns, and now we've seen it against a short-handed Clippers team that had dropped four games straight, including one a thousand miles away just 24 hours prior. Like sadderbudweiser said (asked, really) in the game thread, the Knicks really do know how to make losers feel handsome.
D'Antoni said flat out that the Knicks simply do not play hard enough on a consistent basis.
"Sometimes we don't want to do the effort first; we want to see if we can win first without having to go full-out, and then when we have to go full-out, we do, but it's not good enough."
Whatever it is the Knicks need to figure it out -- fast. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are on their way.