Melo sits as Thunder rout Knicks on Christmas Day

Josh Newman

After spraining his left ankle midway through the third quarter of a 103-98 win at the Orlando Magic on Monday evening, Carmelo Anthony used part of his postgame media availability to assure people that he would do everything in his power to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in one of the NBA’s marquee attractions, Christmas Day.

Apparently, doing everything he could over the course of 36 hours between then and Wednesday afternoon wasn’t enough.

Anthony missed his first game of the season with that sprained left ankle and the result was not pretty as the Knicks fell to the Thunder, 123-94, in what went down as the worst Christmas Day loss in NBA history.

“He said he couldn’t go, so when he tells you he can’t go, you’ve gotta listen and try to find it somewhere else,” said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who called Anthony a game-time decision about an hour and 45 minutes prior to tip-off before the team ruled him out a short time later. “He was really missed tonight because he’s a big part of what we do.”

Without Anthony, J.R. Smith got the start, plus many of the shots Anthony would normally take. The result was somewhat predictable with the way this season has unfolded as Smith shot 8-for-22 from the field and finished with just 20 points. The 22 shot attempts were one off his season-high 23, which came on Dec. 18 at the Milwaukee bucks in a game that went to two overtimes.

Amare’s Stoudemire led the Knicks with 22 points off the bench, one of three Knicks to finish with at least 20, but the offense looked shaky without Anthony leading the way. The Knicks shot just 38-for-90 (42.2 percent) from the floor, and 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) from 3-point range. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to shoot 5-for-16 from deep.

“Disappointed? I wasn’t disappointed,” Kevin Durant said when asked about Anthony missing the game. “That’s something we can’t control, man. We just try to focus on us. No matter who’s on the court for the other team, we just focus on us. We respect every guy in this league. We knew without their best player, other guys were going try to step up.”

The Knicks have now lost three of five and the status of Anthony is uncertain. Woodson said he will be reevaluated Thursday morning at practice before deciding how to proceed. The Knicks open up a home-and-home with the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors beginning Friday evening back at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to Anthony, the team is without Metta World Peace (sore left knee), Raymond Felton (strained right groin) and Pablo Prigioni (fractured toe). They got back Kenyon Martin on Monday after he missed the last five games with a strained abdominal muscle.

“We played a quarter and a half without Melo the other night and guys stepped up and did what they had to do, so I don’t think that has anything to do with it,” Woodson said. “It’s nice to have Melo in a uniform, it makes life a little bit easier, but still, these guys, I have to get them ready to play and they have to play at a high level.”




285 comments
Kevin Car
Kevin Car

Cappys favorite quote is" they're playing with high energy level"....blah blah blah...he considers high energy level to be when the team is running around out of position in their own zone.....

nyoilers94
nyoilers94

I think the rest of the league wants the Isles in the 1st round (if we get there!).  They look like rthe worst of the bunch - But they can turn it around.  A couple of wins - Buff and especially PENS and we will be ok.  It is scary to think we may not even get in after such a great season.  Routing for the RAGS against the Sens which "Finn..." posted below is really an awful thought.  But it maybe necessary.


TonyM
TonyM

@ bosstrots1    I wish that was true , but if the isles make the playoffs, and  even if they get swept Snow will bring Crappy back! Cappy should have went last season after we tanked in Nov and Dec!

TonyM
TonyM

                 @ finnmaccul         Snow doesn't have the guts to make that move! When Crappy finally goes he might take Snow with him!

bosstrots1
bosstrots1

@TonyM  Cappy deserves to go now. this past month has been unacceptable. I think a first round loss and cappy goes never to be heard from in the NHL again other than maybe as an assistant coach.  Cappy will make a fine college coach somewhere but barring a first round win he has gots ta go 

finnmaccul
finnmaccul

If we lose to Sabres on Sat after they play Hawks on Friday does anyone think Caps gets fired and Weight (Snow) is interim.  I NOT suggesting it just wondering.  At some point doesn't Caps worry about his job.  BTW it'll be pitiful irony if we have to root for the Rags to beat the Sens on 4/9/15.  Eeegads.  It sucks being a JIM, Jets Islanders Mets.

bosstrots1
bosstrots1

@dzruggie @finnmaccul  its that locked up core though that is choking away a playoff spot..glad that we don't have to hear the "great team" psychobabble anymore.  this is not a great team and we don't have a great core, we have a decent team with a decent core and some good prospects but lets stop pretending that we are something we are not.  I hope for the best but don't see how that is attainable this year and going forward.

time2win
time2win

@finnmaccul here's my opinion.  happy buffalo won on wednesday.  i hope they beat chicago on friday.  that would put them into a tie for last place with arizona (barring another point by arizona).  if buffalo wants mcdavid, they better pull their goalie with 2 minutes to go in the first.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@finnmaccul No there is not going to be a coaching change 1 week prior to the playoffs.  Struggling not withstanding I can't see how it sucks to be an Islander fan?  Young team, locked up core, cap space, high end talent in the system and a future.....that just does not suck.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@bosstrots1 @dzruggie @finnmaccul So quit now....we have a core that contains one of the top scorers in the NHL and most guys <25 Y/O.  We have a team that is a 100 point team and a far cry from the 65 point team we saw the last "few" years.  At the end of the day there are going to be several high end elite teams and several very good teams.  This team will teeter in between

dzruggie
dzruggie

@gleichzal2 @bosstrots1 @dzruggie @finnmaccul If they are in the playoffs and put up 100 points they are cup contenders however nobody is feeling it at this point - and all the scars of the past just surface and really nothing I or anyone else can say to change that feeling.


I say take it easy, lower your expectation and enjoy the ride for this year.  I take it one season at a time and refuse to live in the past 30 or whatever it is. 

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

but i thought babcock makes this team an instant president trophy winner? laughable 

TonyM
TonyM

                          Hickey is a -11 but doesn't sit!  Viz is -6 but is constantly paired with Hickey! Both are constantly outmuscled down low and in the corners!

Strait who's been better then both is a  glorified AHL defenseman! And deHaan and Donovan sit! The team cannot hold leads in the third period! And still when Crapuano is interviewed after every game he  has that s**teating grin on his face! If they beat Buffalo they will probaly back into the playoffs. But they are probaly going  in as a "wildcard" and going home after five games no matter who they play, making this season no different from our previous five playoff appearences!

dzruggie
dzruggie

Perhaps Hickey could use a "maintenance" day ??  

gleichzal2
gleichzal2

this team has no leadership to right the ship.  capuano isn't a leader.  jt is a superstar but without the personality of a team leader.  visnovski and boychuk are really the only veterans but have never been leaders.  if only they had a tough, seasoned forward to step up in the locker room and on the ice.  but right now they all have that 'deer in the headlights' look.

rmvacation
rmvacation

The team has no leadership?

Were you standing in front of guys like JT, Hamonic, Boychuk when you were pissing on their skates.

Wait, were you even tall enough to see the top of their skates?

bosstrots1
bosstrots1

you gotta blame this loss on the defense and the goaltending.  Halak is just not big and strong enough on his skates, he is not playing terrible but all the goals that go in are goals where he gets pushed around or deflections that would simply hit a bigger goalie that was in good position.  As for the defense, how many more times do we have to see the other team scoring down low while Thomas Hickey is swimming on the ice Brian Strait style?  The Hickey Viznovsky pairing is not a pairing that I feel comfortable at this time of the year, they are a great skating duo that can skate you out of trouble when the other team isn't committed to banging down low but when the intensity gets jacked up and its kill or be killed those two guys are just not big enough to be out there together and the results show. There is more to defense than skating with the puck, even in todays faster game, playoff hockey and end of regular season hockey is a grind it out big mans battle that we cant compete in...our style is exciting but it doesn't work when the stake are at their highest and guys are fighting like its life and death, at that point the bigger stronger guys prevail over the fast skaters and our results speak this in volume.

gleichzal2
gleichzal2

@bosstrots1 i would add only that right now our style isn't very exciting anyway.  but yes, between halak and a light defensive pair the puck is much more likely to get shoved into the net.  and then it's no point saying 'it was just a bad bounce.'

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

Funny how despite the roster changes and overhauls and new faces...the same problems from 2 years ago down the stretch and into playoffs still exist, whose fault is that?

gleichzal2
gleichzal2

@David Rosenthal i think some of the guys who have been here all along have a sort of 'muscle memory' about losing games.  they still have that losing mentality all of a sudden.

William Dinger
William Dinger

this team in the third period looked like a team thats out of the playoffs and columbus looked like the team desperate for points no hustle 

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

Has Garth Snow addressed the team during this streak? Does anyone know?

bobb
bobb

Winning only 2 games in their past 10, the Islanders look like the most vulnerable team in the East. Pittsburgh is limping to the finish line too, so I think that's their only shot to win in the 1st round. The fact that Eric "one goal since December of 2013" Boulton gets the nod over Grabner, McDonald, or Kennedy speaks volume about the state of affairs with this team. A loss to Buffalo would be so demoralizing that I think it would spell the end of the season. Ted Nolan must be foaming at the mouth to win this game.

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

Top Story on Espn NHL page: Surging Bruins & Hawks....Stumbling Islanders

rmvacation
rmvacation

Does it matter once the playoff start vicp?

What is the Isles record vs the teams in their own division that are making the playoffs?

Is their a divine right that the top seeds advance?

A strong finish to the regular season means nothing. Ask the Av's from last season. Make the playoffs, and see what happens. Anything can, and often will happen.

The playoffs are about goal prevention. The last 15 games haven't been pretty in terms of wins and losses, but goal prevention and the PK have vastly improved. That is what everybody wanted, and that is what they are getting these days.

If the Isles were winning 5-4 every night, your complaint would be about defense and the PK.

There is always a complaint.. Always has been this season, always will be every season.

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

@rmvacation If you seriously think this team is going to back into the playoffs (again) and turn things around, you will have another thing coming...history is repeating itself first round and done, unless they somehow turn it around this week, its not going to happen just because its the playoffs

bobb
bobb

I have 2 tickets to each of the first 2 playoff games at the coliseum. If the Islanders fall to the wild card and have to play the Rangers, they'll be up for sale. Email me privately if interested.

time2win
time2win

as soon as howie and butch said "how's that for structure?" last night when it was 3-1 halfway through the third - all "h" "e" "double hockey sticks" broke loose.

gleichzal2
gleichzal2

@time2win turn off the volume.  i check to see if by any chance jiggs is in the booth, and if he isn't i tend to hit mute.

dkdk
dkdk

Art Howe

time2win
time2win

@Steven M. Harries @dkdk I think Willie was a good manager.  He had the horses, but I've seen plenty of managers with the horses do a lot worse.  Willie also took the team, with John Maine as its Game 1 starter to within one game of the World Series.  Sure, the collapse the following year ultimately did him in, but I can't put Cappy in Willie's class.  

Steven M. Harries
Steven M. Harries

@time2win It seems all other MLB teams just don't see Willie's strengths. There's been about three or four dozen managerial changes in MLB since Willie was told to go back to Franklin Lakes, NJ, and watch his silly laserdisks. He might get the odd "diversity" MLB managerial invite now and  then . . . 

Steven M. Harries
Steven M. Harries

@dkdk Randolph had talent and money to screw up. So does Capuano with new contracts and new ownership bucks. Howe was awful, but had no assets.

time2win
time2win

@Steven M. Harries @time2win there are plenty of teams that would be better off with willie as their manager than they are current state.  including the mets.  are you a model?

finnmaccul
finnmaccul

@David Rosenthal.  Can you explain to me why we'd send one of our D point men in deep on the PP leaving 1 on the blueline inviting them do an easy wrap around to clear the zone?? 

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

@finnmaccul @David Rosenthal I wish I knew, the major problems are lack of system, lack of adjusting, and lack of accountability....our coach is in over his head, a good coach wouldve learned from 2 years ago when the same thing happened down the stretch

finnmaccul
finnmaccul

@jimmyc13.  I think Capuano et al have lost the room.  I don't mean they hate Flintstone, I think they've lost all confidence in his system (?) and his ability to lead them out of this mess.  You're right it's chaos.  Look at JT, I don't think he's being selfish, but because he wants to win he's running around in their end trying countless around the net-out in front-turn around shots.  The other teams watch film they know his desperation move.  And Anders, I know you have to take a lot to stay in their crease, but buddy get mad, push back a little.

jimmyc13
jimmyc13

Agreed, mostly. They are lost. As I posted previously, they are still kids, they are looking for direction. I do think they are trying but as the saying goes "work smarter not harder". Until recently, I didn't think that there was any fraction in the clubhouse but now I really do think there is and its understandable, they are frustrated. There's no true leadership, no calming influence.

finnmaccul
finnmaccul

@David Rosenthal.  On Pulock,   he had 12 goals before he got hurt and only 3 since. Still 15 isn't bad for a D.  But we have an NHL answer here in the press box.  Imo Donovan is better than Strait and Hickey when Hickey's playing scared.  I believe in the D joining the play, but how often have you seen Hickey or Viz  down near the opponent's net leaving the other D man vulnerable? 

jimmyc13
jimmyc13

Guys I keep saying it but look at the ICE TIME. Visnovsky and Hickey are clearly the weakest links on D and yet they continue to play, continue to be paired together and are you ready for the kicker get more ice time than Boychuk. Capuano is going to prove everyone wrong he's going to prove that a square peg can fit into a round hole.

Isleguy27
Isleguy27

The simple answer to your question is, when a D pinches low it's the "high" forwards responsibility to cover for him. That's just basic hockey…surely coach rosenthal could have told you that.

dzruggie
dzruggie

@finnmaccul @David Rosenthal The D joining the play is the team style and it is up to the forward to cover.  Donovan is not good enough to play everyday and just good enough that you can't put him on waivers and send him down because someone will take a flyer on him.  I suspect if he had value he may have been trade bait perhaps.....

David Rosenthal
David Rosenthal

@Isleguy27 Keep being sarcastic, the more sarcastic and swarmy you are, it seems the worse the isles play,keep going, at least you arent chanting first place first place any more, or are you?...and by the way since the forwards keep messing up that responsibility, thats on coaching...your boy Crappy aint cutting it