The New York Knicks haven’t lost 11 straight in a single season since 1984-85, and it’s not clear who they will have on the court to prevent that from happening.
Carmelo Anthony heads a lengthy injury list for the Knicks as they try to end their 10-game slide Sunday night when they meet the Milwaukee Bucks, who seek their first four-game road win streak in three seasons.
No team has lost more games than New York (5-30), and Anthony wasn’t available in Friday’s 97-81 home defeat to Detroit in which the Knicks trailed by as many as 33 points. The superstar has been in and out of the lineup with ongoing left knee soreness.
Anthony, averaging 23.9 points, is listed as doubtful Sunday. Coach Derek Fisher insisted Saturday that Anthony will play again.
"I don’t think shutting him down is really the conversation we’re having," Fisher said.
Amare Stoudemire (sore right knee), Samuel Dalembert (sprained right ankle), Tim Hardaway Jr. (concussion) and Iman Shumpert (dislocated left shoulder) also sat out Friday.
The Knicks are most hopeful about Hardaway, who practiced Saturday after missing just the one game.
"We expect that if he gets through this well and participates in shootaround (Sunday) that he’ll be ready to play," Fisher said.
Fisher said that Dalembert is doubtful. That’s also the case for Stoudemire and Hardaway while Shumpert is out.
In addition, Andrea Bargnani exited Friday with a sore calf after lasting less than two minutes in his second game. Bargnani, who scored nine points in his season debut in Wednesday’s 99-78 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, will be re-evaluated.
"It was very unfortunate, it looked like he was finally going to be able to turn the corner a little bit after playing well in L.A., just an unfortunate set of circumstances," Fisher said.
The coach was happy to see Cleanthony Early return with five points in 14 minutes Friday after the rookie missed 24 games due to knee surgery. Fisher said the Bronx native will get another big chunk of action Sunday.
New York last had a losing streak of more than 10 games when it dropped its final 12 games in 1984-85, though it also lost eight straight to start the next season. The Knicks’ nine-game home slide is the franchise’s worst.
Milwaukee (17-17) seeks its first four-game road win streak since taking five in a row March 11-23, 2012. The Bucks have dropped their last five visits to New York, though they beat the Knicks 117-113 at home Nov. 18.
Brandon Knight scored a team-high 20 points as the Bucks dropped their third straight at home with Friday’s 94-91 defeat to Indiana. Milwaukee shot 42.7 percent overall – 36.4 in the second half.
"We had some great opportunities that we just normally have made in the past," coach Jason Kidd said. "We just didn’t make them tonight."
Center Larry Sanders missed his fifth consecutive game with what Kidd called a "personal" situation.
Milwaukee is one of the NBA’s best shooting teams on the road at 46.6 percent and one of the league’s best in averaging 18.4 points off turnovers.
The Knicks are last in the NBA in average points in the paint (33.7), drives (13.6) and free-throw attempts (17.9). They are second in passes per game (359.1).