Long losing streaks are nothing for the Knicks, as the team has already enjoyed two separate six-game losing streaks prior to the trade that brought Anthony to New York.
Not only have the Knicks been manhandled by the Dallas Mavericks at the start of their losing streak, but they also managed to lose a pair of games in a home-and-away series against the Indiana Pacers, who are clinging to the eight spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings despite being nine games under .500.
I can’t even say that the Knicks lost both games to a healthy Pacers squad that was without Danny Granger, the team’s leading scorer, for its first game at Madison Square Garden and with Mike Dunleavy out in both.
The prevailing theme in their games against the Pacers was the Knicks' inability to make stops on defense—especially against Tyler Hansbrough, who not only scored a career-high 29 point on March 13 at the Garden, but did one point better two days later at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Knicks were seemingly brought down to the level of play of the struggling Pacers squad.
While Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 103 points in the two games against the Pacers, no Knicks player registered more than two steals in either game.
Is New York better defensively with Carmelo Anthony?
In another trend, the offensively heavy Knicks, for the third time in a row, had a worse shooting percentage than their opponents: In their first meeting against the Pacers, New York shot an abysmal 36.6 percent from the field compared to Indiana’s 57.1 percent; in the second, the Knicks shot 44.9 percent, but the Pacers shot better with 52.3 percent.
The reality of the three loses is Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system is predicated on outgunning the opposition. The flip side of that is the success of such system is dependent on maintaining a high field goal percentage—unless the team playing with such an offensive scheme plays good defense—in order to win.
Right now, the Knicks are scoring 106.6 points per game (second best in the league), while giving up 106 points per game (second worst in the league) and, as such, are hovering just above the .500 mark.
While the addition of Anthony bolsters an already potent offense, it has also depleted an already weak defensive squad.
New York should make the playoffs, barring a freak losing funk, but they will have to blow their opponents of the water in order to get past the first round of the playoffs.