The New York Knicks have squandered yet another opportunity to gain ground on the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Losing 112-88 to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, the Knicks fell to 30-43 on the season. They are currently two games behind the Hawks who play at the Washington Wizards tonight. Poor play by Atlanta and a weak overall Eastern Conference has allowed the Knicks to stick around. But most of the time, it doesn’t feel like New York wants to stick around. Last night’s lackluster play in Phoenix showed that the Knicks just want this season to end.
Carmelo Anthony was 8-of-20 from field-goal range while scoring only 21 points. The last time Anthony scored less than 21 points was Feb. 9 — almost two months ago. Like I mentioned in my last article, when Anthony isn’t scoring, the Knicks need J.R. Smith to step up and be the player he’s supposed to be. Smith was 2-of-8 from long distance last night and only scored 15 points. Amar’e Stoudemire added 19 points to the mix, but the most puzzling performance of the night was from Tyson Chandler.
Chandler played 29 minutes and scored just one point in last night’s loss. This is unacceptable for Chandler who should be dominant around the basket. He was outplayed by the big men for Phoenix. Chandler didn’t look like the Defensive Player of the Year he was just two season ago, blocking no shots and leading the team with only seven rebounds. New York could have benefited from a bench player like Jermaine O’Neal last night, a player I recently suggested the Knicks sign this offseason.
The lack of heart and willingness to win is evident in the New York Knicks. A playoff spot is basically being handed to them by the Hawks and they’re not taking advantage at all. They can’t score consistently and they very rarely play defense. More importantly than the talent on this team and their ability to actually win games, they lack the desire needed to be a good team. They don’t deserve the playoffs and I’m sure the Hawks want to get in more than the Knicks. It doesn’t matter how talented New York is, they don’t have the drive to play to the best of their ability.