Knicks searching for direction vs. 76ers (Feb 25, 2017)

February 25, 2017

NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose is unsure about the offense the New York Knicks are running. Carmelo Anthony is unclear about the direction management has for the team after standing pat at the trade deadline.

Also murky is New York's ability to consistently get victories and start any kind of winning streak.

New York's latest attempt to get a win occurs Saturday night when it hosts the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rose and Anthony will be present for New York's first home game after the All-Star break as the Knicks attempt to climb from 12th place and five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Rose and Anthony were not traded Thursday and both had some strong comments about the state of things.

Rose was rumored to be included in a deal for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio and it would have reunited him with former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Instead, the Knicks reportedly tried to expand the trade and the deal never occurred.

Rose then wound up scoring 13 points on 6 of 14 shooting in a nationally televised 119-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His showing occurred hours after he questioned how the offense works with the Knicks during the morning shootaround.

"It's a different offense," Rose told reporters. "As a point guard, you're always in the corner and just got to play off reads and play that way. It's new for everybody here. I get all my points off random baskets. Unless you see it go to the post, all the other stuff is just random basketball."

Anthony scored 20 points on 9 of 25 shooting and then gave his assessment when asked if he understood the vision management (primarily team president Phil Jackson) has for a team, who is on pace to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season and the 12th time in 17 seasons since trading Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing in September 2000.

"No, not now," Anthony told reporters. "No to be honest with you. No I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline whether they were trying to make moves, I think that was one plan.

"Now they've got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team."

Anthony remains despite Jackson's best efforts to indirectly tweak him and prod the forward to waive the no-trade clause that was included in a contract extension following the 2013-14 season.

Another question for the Knicks is how long will Kristaps Porzingis (sprained ankle) be sidelined for. During the first half Thursday, Porzingis stepped on rookie Wily Hernangomez's foot and the Knicks said the forward has the sprain is mild.

Porzingis said it's getting better and there is not any ligament damage but he will miss his ninth game of the season Saturday.

New York held a 14-10 record after a six-point road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 11 but is 9-25 since, including a 4-10 record in games decided by five points or less.

One of those close losses was Jan. 11 in Philadelphia. The Knicks squandered a 10-point lead in the final 4:44 and were handed a 98-97 loss when T.J. McConnell hit a 12-footer from the left baseline over Anthony.

McConnell's game-winner was part of a stretch where Philadelphia won 10 of 13 games from Dec. 30 through Jan. 25. Rookie Joel Embiid appeared in nine of those of those games and averaged 22.4 points, nine rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots.

Since then Philadelphia is 5-8 and Embiid's lone appearance was scoring 32 points in 28 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets on Jan. 27.

He missed the first of four games the Sixers declared him out for Friday while his injured left knee continues to heal.

Without Embiid, Robert Covington scored 25 points in a 120-112 win over the Washington Wizards Friday. Richaun Holmes helped compensate for Embiid's absence by getting 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks while playing 5 1/2 more minutes than starting center Jahlil Okafor.

"He came in and ended up with a double-double and five blocked shots in 26 minutes," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said of Holmes. "I thought he gave us a fantastic lift.

Holmes' impact in Philadelphia's fourth win in five games and first game since trading Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut could get him some possible starting assignments.

"We can only control what we're able to control on the court," Covington said. "Everything outside of what they do in management doesn't include us. We can only focus on what we can control on the court, and that's what our main focus was on these last few days. We lost some teammates, but we got some guys that came in the trade."