Few teams have been more disappointing than the New York Knicks
and Chicago Bulls. The rough start could have much more dire
consequences for the Knicks, however, with coach Mike Woodson’s job
possibly hanging in the balance.
New York will try to end a six-game skid against Chicago on
Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks figured to be an Eastern Conference contender again
after a second-place finish in 2012-13, while the Bulls looked
poised to improve on last season’s fifth seed with Derrick Rose
back in the mix.
Reality hasn’t quite met up with expectations, with New York
(5-15) sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and Chicago
(8-11) sliding down the standings, again likely without Rose for
the season following another knee injury.
The Knicks lost 109-94 at Cleveland on Tuesday for their 11th
defeat in 13 games. They trailed by three at halftime before being
outscored 33-20 in the third quarter.
New York’s 41-point home loss to Boston two days earlier, which
seemed to call Woodson’s job security into question, didn’t seem to
light any sort of fire under the Knicks.
“We’ve got to help him (Woodson) figure it out,” Carmelo Anthony
said after scoring 29 points Tuesday. “He’s not going to do it by
himself. We’ve got to help each other figure this out.”
The Celtics and Cavaliers, two of the league’s lesser offensive
teams, combined to shoot 55.5 percent against New York – 52.3 from
The Knicks’ five free-throw attempts against the Cavaliers
matched the second-lowest total in the league this season.
“I don’t have the answer to what we have to do,” Anthony said.
“You can’t coach or you can’t teach energy. The losing is becoming
unacceptable. Hopefully, everybody feels like that. I can’t be the
only one who is feeling like that.”
New York fell 82-81 at Chicago on Oct. 31 with Rose hitting the
go-ahead jumper with six seconds left. The Knicks shot 36.0 percent
and have been held to 40.8 percent shooting during a 1-9 stretch in
the series. They also have a minus-8.9 rebounding margin during
Anthony had 22 points, six assists and a career-high six steals
but was 8 of 24 from the field in the first meeting. He’s averaging
31.5 points over his last four games against Chicago despite
shooting 39.1 percent.
Perhaps the Knicks can take advantage of a Bulls teams ravaged
by injuries. They were without four opening-night starters in
Tuesday’s 78-74 home loss to Milwaukee, their eighth in 10
Joakim Noah was sidelined with a bruised right thigh, though
coach Tom Thibodeau thinks he has a chance to play Wednesday. Luol
Deng’s status is unclear after he sat out with left calf tightness,
while Jimmy Butler (turf toe) and Rose remain out.
Thibodeau didn’t feel the eight-man rotation was a valid excuse.
The Bucks, who had lost three of four, were limited to using nine
players due to injuries.
“It doesn’t matter,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone who’s called upon
is capable of doing their job.”
Woodson hopes to have Kenyon Martin back after he missed his
second straight game due to an ankle injury.