Knicks, Carmelo Anthony blow opportunity in Hornets loss

CHARLOTTE – Melo giveth a win to the Knicks, Melo taketh one away.

A night after going off and draining the game-winner against the Hornets at the Garden, Carmelo Anthony went ice cold against the same opponent Saturday while missing 18 of his 25 shots in a 107-102 loss to the shorthanded Hornets.

The All-Star was especially off in the second half – exemplified by an airballed 3-pointer that had the Charlotte crowd giddy — as the Knicks (8-8) collapsed down the stretch to further their road misery.

“Carmelo made them (Friday) night, maybe not (Saturday night),” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “But he’s our go-to guy. Sometimes that’s what it is.”

Hornacek took some blame by second-guessing the 34 minutes he played Anthony on a back-to-back following an overtime game. He said that’s why Anthony’s shot often fell short – a symptom of tired legs. Still, that couldn’t explain New York’s dreadful defensive start Saturday, which included a 15-2 hole within four minutes and a 21-point deficit in the first quarter.

“It was long night,” Anthony said after scoring 18 points in his worst shooting performance of the season, a day after dropping 35 points.

The Knicks wanted to make a statement on the road. They wanted to establish themselves as worthy of their goals. They held a meeting about it and everything.

Carmelo Anthony was ice cold on Saturday night.

Carmelo Anthony was ice cold on Saturday night.

(Chuck Burton/AP)

But then they fell to 1-6 away from the Garden against Charlotte team riding a four-game losing streak with two missing starters (Marvin Williams and Nic Batum).

“No excuses,” said Derrick Rose, who finished with 18 points. “It sucks. I can’t sit here and lie. It sucks losing, period.”

The Knicks had their three-game winning streak snapped, but have also lost four straight at home.

“I can’t put a finger on right (why we struggle on the road),” . “But we have to figure out things pretty soon before it becomes a problem. But I can’t say what it is.”

Before the game, Hornacek was confident the Knicks addressed and solved their complacency on the road.

“““They’ve talked about. They realize what they need to do to win on the road. I think the Washington game (last week at the Verizon Center) was a little bit of a wake-up call where maybe they thought they could just show up. Washington was really struggling,” the coach said. “But that’s when you realize, when teams will scrap and claw when they want to get out of their losing streak. So it’s going to be a battle.”

Kristaps Porzingis continued his hot streak with 25 points.

Kristaps Porzingis continued his hot streak with 25 points.

(Chuck Burton/AP)

Ostensibly the Knicks caught a break Saturday because Batum and Williams were both injured on Friday. So the Knicks not only beat the Hornets at the Garden, they might’ve set up a victory for the following night.

Except that’s not what happened. Steve Clifford called out his defense, and Charlotte responded by pouncing on the Knicks with a lineup that included Jeremy Lamb (finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds) and Frank Kaminsky (ten of his 14 points in the fourth quarter).

With owner Michael Jordan watching from the sideline, Charlotte (9-7) got 28 points from New York native Kemba Walker. The key was the Hornets’ 8-0 run that started with the score tied and about six minutes remaining. New York never recovered.

The Knicks only led once in this game – when Anthony hit a fadeaway with 7:27 remaining. They shot just 38 percent with Anthony forcing the issue. Kristaps Porzingis scored seven more points than Anthony (a team-high 25) on nine fewer field-goal attempts.

Still, Porzingis also struggled in the fourth quarter while shooting 1-for-5.

“Back-to-back nights, I thought (Anthony) and KP, when they did miss, I thought they missed them short,” Hornacek said. “That’s usually a sign your legs aren’t there. Maybe I have to do a better job of getting other guys in, giving them more rest.” 

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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