Enter Madison Square Garden at your own risk. Recently, there has been an outbreak of unbearably bad basketball on the fabled arena’s court. Defensive issues for the hometown Knicks have reached nearly epidemic levels, contributing to the team’s current seven game losing streak. And head coach Mike Woodson has a seat hot enough to thaw Manhattan, which has been frozen by both an intense winter and the ice-cold shooting of J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton.
Meanwhile, Iman Shumpert, just back from a knee injury, appears to still be in hibernation. The Knicks have not been without production from Carmelo Anthony. The 29-year-old has put up spectacular numbers all year for the flailing ‘bockers. But, in every break of the game, after each missed defensive rotation, and following every missed J.R. Smith free throw, an expression of resignation seems to blanket Anthony’s face. Heading into free agency, Melo looks like he just wants to escape the incinerator.
Meanwhile, opponents have escaped the inferno with smiling faces. The Golden State Warriors scored 73 points in MSG on February 28th…in the first half. Following that blowout loss, highlighted by the ejection of disgruntled Knick center Tyson Chandler (another fella who might want to get the hell out of Dodge), the Knicks headed to Chicagoland. The change of scenery did little to improve their play as the Knicks surrendered 37 points in the first quarter of a blowout loss to the Bulls. Yes, Tom Thibodeau’s defensively stout but offensively inept Bulls.
The second stop on the Knicks’ three game Midwest road trip came last night when the Knicks fell to the Detroit Pistons–a team that entered the night on a four game losing streak of their own.
The Knicks are now 21-40. Even in the pitiful Eastern Conference, they have slunk out of the playoff picture. Their season has gone up in smoke and they have been reduced to an embarrassing farce. It makes the scene on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, where the Nets have surged to .500, look almost blissful.