After Carmelo Anthony’s debut with the New York Knicks Wednesday night, which included a press conference introducing him and Chauncey Billups to the media two and a half hours before the game ( http://razzandjazzsports.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/carmelo-debut/ ), many Knicks fans who wanted the trade to happen made comparisons to the 1999 team that went to the NBA Finals as an eight seed, eventually losing to the San Antonio Spurs. After last night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team with the league’ worst record, those who were not in agreement with the trade are talking of the team’s demise and inability to make the playoffs.
Neither extreme is true, but the Knicks did look awful in a 115-109 loss to the Cavaliers, as they were dominated on the boards 62-42, and gave up 62 second-half points. “I don’t like to make any excuses, this was a game, regardless of how long we’ve been together, that we should have got. It comes down to everybody being on the same page defensively. We’ve only had four practices to get it together. No excuses” Anthony said after the game.
Amar’e Stoudemire agreed with the lapses on the defensive end. “Defensively, we’ve got a long ways to go. It takes time. It’s training-camp mode again” he said after the loss. The Knicks didn’t appear to match the effort level of a team that came into the contest with a 10-47 record. “They played harder. They had a great amount of energy. We got outworked” the Stoudemire said after the game.
Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni talked about it being only the second game that the team has played together. “There is a learning curve and you can’t get around it. We know it and we know it’s going to take us a little while.”
Stoudemire led the Knicks with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks, while Anthony scored 27 points and 8 rebounds. Chauncey Billups scored 26 points, all in the second half, and dished out 8 assists. Landry Fields scored 11 points.
Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 28 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson scored 24 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked a career-high 5 shots. Ramon Sessions scored 22 points with 8 rebounds and four assists, and Anthony Parker scored 16 points. Alonzo Gee came off the bench to score 11 points.
The Knicks head to South Beach to play the Miami Heat for the fourth and final time of the regular season tomorrow at 8pm on ESPN. The Heat won the first two matchups these teams played, 113-91 in New York Friday, December 17, 2010, and 106-98 in Miami Tuesday, December 28, 2011, but the Knicks won the last matchup at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, January 27, 2011, 93-88.