HOME SICK: Knicks fall to Hawks, suffer fifth straight loss at MSG

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Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Carmelo Anthony’s double-double isn’t enough to give the Knicks a win.

HAWKS 110, KNICKS 90

Everything about it was ugly, from the uniforms to Amar’e Stoudemire’s pick-and-roll defense to J.R. Smith’s shot selection.

James Dolan wasn’t in attendance on Saturday night, but you can bet your next cable bill that the Garden boss is guaranteed to be fuming over Mike Woodson’s latest debacle. The Knicks, until further notice, are officially awful.

“It’s a messed up, nasty feeling,” Carmelo Anthony said. “I am really at a loss for words right now.”

The Knicks were embarrassed yet again on their home floor, losing, 110-90, to the Atlanta Hawks while raising questions about whether the team Dolan expects to win a title has the leadership and defensive capabilities to even qualify for the postseason.

The crowd chants ‘fire Woodson’ during the ugly defeat.

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

The crowd chants ‘fire Woodson’ during the ugly defeat.

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“At the rate this is going,” Anthony added, “we’re going to be in too deep of a hole to dig ourselves out.”

The Knicks fell to 3-6 and have lost five straight at the Garden, where the chants of “Fire Woodson” grow louder each night. Anger and confusion now reign at the World’s Most Famous Transformed Arena. The players, the marketing department and the game-night operations have all contributed to a dreadful product.

The Knicks made the bizarre decision to wear bright orange uniforms while the Atlanta Hawks wore their traditional road reds. It made for tough viewing in person as well as on television, but this Knicks regime has never valued tradition as much as it values a marketing opportunity.

Before the season began, the organization was selling the renovated building as an attraction. On Saturday, instead of having the banished Knicks City Dancers perform, Dolan had the Cablevision-owned Radio City Music Hall Rockettes entertain the house during one timeout, to promote the annual Christmas Spectacular.

Model Kate Upton is courtside at the Garden.

Simmons, Howard/New York Daily News

Model Kate Upton is courtside at the Garden.

The sell never ends, whether it’s the Rockettes, a hideous alternative uniform or expensive club seats. The one thing no one is buying, however, is this Knicks team as a legitimate contender.

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“I thought they just played harder than we played,” Woodson said. “You’re not going to beat anybody playing soft and not hard like we did.”

When the game ended, Anthony stood near the bench almost in shock that the Knicks, who opened last season at 18-6, are already three games under .500.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

The Knicks bench isn’t a happy place during the 20-point loss.

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

The Knicks bench isn’t a happy place during the 20-point loss.

Anthony finished with 23 points on 8-for-21 shooting and 12 rebounds, while Andrea Bargnani added 16 points and nine rebounds but struggled defensively. Smith was awful, missing 15 of 18 shots and going 1-for-9 on 3-pointers. Overall, Smith is shooting 8-for-43 (19%) at the Garden this season. That’s not even a good batting average.

“I have been terrible since I came back,” said Smith, who served a five-game drug suspension to start the season.

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Stoudemire scored five points in 14 minutes but was exploited repeatedly on pick-and-rolls and the Knicks were a minus-9 with him on the floor after three quarters. Also, point guard Raymond Felton continues to be a major disappointment and doesn’t justify playing 33 minutes while Pablo Prigioni plays just 14.

Atlanta had eight players score in double figures, while its starters – DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague – shot a combined 55% with 67 points compared to 35% for the Knicks’ starting five. Hawks backup point guard Shelvin Mack added 12 points and 12 assists off the bench.

The Knicks trailed by 11 entering the fourth and got within five with 8:39 left. The game was there for the taking but over the next five minutes the Hawks outscored the Knicks 19-4, including Korver’s four-point play after he was fouled by Anthony. In fact, Woodson’s club trailed over the final 35 minutes.

Clearly, the Knicks missed Tyson Chandler’s defensive presence in the lane, and Dolan’s decision to avoid filling out the roster with veteran players looks as silly as those orange uniforms. It’s worth noting that the Knicks are 0-4 in their “buy them now” orange kits. Any way you slice it, it’s ugly.

“We have to turn this thing around quickly,” Anthony said. “I’m disappointed too in our effort. We’re not getting it done from an effort standpoint. It’s like we’re not even trying.”


Daily News – Sports

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