Amid all the fanfare Kristaps Porzingis is receiving throughout his strong start, Carmelo Anthony is beginning to grow tired of the New York Knicks' losing ways.
The star forward isn't providing much help heading into the team's road swing, something he hopes to change Wednesday night against a Utah Jazz team that is struggling defensively without Rudy Gobert.
All eyes were on Porzingis on Monday when he faced childhood hero Dirk Nowitzki for the first time at Madison Square Garden. The rising fan favorite didn't disappoint with 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting, but the Knicks (10-12) couldn't contain the Mavericks in a 104-97 defeat.
''It really doesn't matter because we still lost,'' Porzingis said, ''but yeah, I was just hitting shots and trying to do the things to help the team win at the end.''
The 7-foot-1 forward was presented with his Eastern Conference rookie of the month award for October/November before the game. He's particularly shined over his last nine, averaging 17.9 points and 9.7 rebounds while hitting 12 of 25 from 3-point range.
Despite Porzingis' eye-catching individual success, the Knicks have dropped six of eight after a promising start. They averaged 99.0 points in their first 14 games, but have scored just 94.1 while shooting 29.6 percent from beyond the arc over their last eight.
Anthony hopes New York can turn things around on this trip against Utah, Sacramento and Portland after he had to endure the worst season in franchise history in 2014-15.
''Losing is frustrating,'' Anthony said. ''I don't want this to be an ongoing situation, an ongoing feeling, where we've got to come to the locker room and explain why we're losing.''
The eight-time All-Star hasn't done his part of late, scoring 18 or fewer while shooting less than 36 percent in four of his last five games. He had to sit out once in the middle of that stretch because of some bruising on his surgically repaired knee.
Anthony was sidelined for an 87-82 loss March 10 in the most recent meeting at Utah, though he's totaled 80 points on 60 percent shooting in his last two in this series.
New York will try to take advantage of a Jazz team that is scuffling defensively with Gobert sidelined. The center, who has missed the past three games with a sprained MCL, ranks among the league's leaders with 10.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.
The Jazz (9-10) are among the NBA's leaders in scoring defense (96.8), but have given up an average of 110.5 points over their last four games. They're in danger of allowing five straight opponents to score 100 in regulation for the first time since January 2014.
Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks finished with 18 points apiece in Tuesday's 114-106 loss at Sacramento, which shot a season-high 55.8 percent from the field.
''It's just frustrating because we know how well we can play,” said Hayward, who has scored 23.0 per game over his last six. “We played Golden State really close, and beat a good Indiana team. That's kind of how the season is going with a little bit of up and down. We're learning.''
Derrick Favors is averaging 21.0 points and 10.8 rebounds over four straight double-doubles. He totaled 50 points and 24 boards to help the Jazz sweep last season's series.
- Alec Burks
- Carmelo Anthony
- Derrick Favors
- Gordon Hayward
- Kristaps Porzingis
- New York Knicks
- Rudy Gobert
- Utah Jazz