Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith

Nothing is going right for the New York Knicks, losing for a fifth straight game, this time to the Philadelphia 76ers, which isn’t that surprising considering how badly they’re defending right now and have been for most of this season.

The Knicks lost 110-106 despite holding a 6 points lead midway through the fourth quarter. Mike Woodson wants to use a big lineup, but he has no players. Amare Stoudemire is injured, and so is Kenyon Martin. That forced him to use Jeremy Tyler as his only big off the bench, getting four minutes and 0 points from him. With Tyson Chandler playing like someone who has taken a big step backwards this season, that just isn’t enough.

Because the Knicks can’t beat teams in small-ball, especially not against a group that might not win much but can outrun most of the teams in the NBA. The Knicks had no answer for Evan Turner who scored 34 points, getting plenty of help from Thaddeus Young (19 points), Michael Carter Williams (19 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists) and James Anderson, finishing with 18 points.

The Knicks didn’t shoot too badly and didn’t allow the Sixers to score with too much ease (it’s all relative) but they got destroyed on the boards. Tyson Chandler is a shade of the version we saw playing last year, Andrea Bargnani is never going to be a big man that protects the paint and the rim at a satisfying level and there’s only so much Carmelo Anthony can do. The Sixers grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, six of them by Carter-Williams. They scored 50 points in the paint compared with the Knicks’ 26 and came up with the better plays, especially the shot from Young that made it into a five point game, hitting a wide open 3-point shot.

Mike Woodson

Troubling? Mike Woodson said that the Knicks knew the play was going to end with Young trying to take a 3, and they still managed to botch things up. It’s hard to point one finger of blame here, because it seems that everything is bad: From the planning to the execution. Tyson Chandler has criticized the defensive tactics used by the team, Carmelo Anthony has been critical of his own teammates. Things were blossoming in New York two weeks ago, but the return of Chandler has turned things back into a mess on all fronts.

This is the time right here to make up ground and we’re not. We’re playing better on the road than we are at home and it should be the other way around if anything. I really don’t know what it is, why we can’t play well on our own home court. This should be the time where we gain some momentum, gain some confidence as a team playing here on our own home court, but that don’t seem like it’s the case right now.

Anthony finished with 26 points and 7 assists, getting 20 points out of Andrea Bargnani, 19 from Iman Shumpert and 14 from Smith. Offense wasn’t the issue in this case, but it’s hard to say that the Knicks can expect this kind of contribution from anyone not named Anthony each night. It’s hard to put the finger on just one issue when it seems this team is falling apart at the seams, and the window to turn things around is closing and fast.

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