Carmelo Anthony exits early as Knicks fall to Hornets, 97-84

By on January 24, 2016

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2016, 12:11 AM

Carmelo Anthony scores just nine points and leaves after the third quarter with a sore left knee.Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony scores just nine points and leaves after the third quarter with a sore left knee.

CHARLOTTE — Carmelo Anthony should have just stayed home.

On a Saturday night when their games and their energy seemed buried back in New York, under the snow, the Knicks watched their best player hobble off the TWC Arena court after three quarters of ineffective play in a 97-84 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Anthony left the game after just 29 minutes with a sore left knee. Before that, he’d managed just nine points on a mere 11 shots, and he’d been upstaged by ex-Knick Jeremy Lin, who poured in a game-high 26 points for Charlotte. The Knicks (22-24) took their second double-figure setback in as many nights and their fourth loss in their last six games.

Anthony’s soreness was in the same knee that required surgery last season, although he said he didn’t need additional tests and isn’t expecting to need further surgery. He said he’s simply dealing with “general soreness,” though, insisting that the issue is not related to the left ankle injury that led him to miss two games earlier this month. He’s played heavy minutes over the last four games, and he said he started feeling worn down on Friday night, when the Knicks were blown out by the Clippers.

“Yesterday (Friday), I felt just kind of physically, it wasn’t there physically… I was trying to get myself going for the game,” he said. “And coming into tonight’s (Saturday’s) game, as the game went on there was just certain things I normally would be able to do and moves I’d be able to make… I just wasn’t able to do it.”

Anthony gets two days to recover because the Knicks don’t play again until Tuesday night. But really, he should have just taken Saturday night off, because it certainly looked like his Knicks did. Even head coach Derek Fisher, who also said Anthony’s knee is not a serious issue, admitted that he might have sat his star in the fourth quarter simply because the Knicks were already down, 77-56, after three periods.

Jeremy Lin tortures his former team with 26 points, five assists and five rebounds.Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin tortures his former team with 26 points, five assists and five rebounds.

“I don’t know if he would have come back in without the sore knee,” Fisher said. “We just weren’t playing with enough energy. We looked just completely worn down, worn out.”

The Knicks got just 22 combined points from the hobbled Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. The rookie scored 13 points and admitted that he too is feeling fatigued, although “more mentally than physically.” Derrick Williams led the Knicks with 19 points, most coming in fourth-quarter garbage time.

With the Knicks’ two stars in a slump, Lin happily took center stage, routinely penetrating the lane against his old club and fueling the blowout.

Charlotte point man Kemba Walker had 26 as well, combining with Lin to knock down 17-of-17 free throws.

It was Lin who took over midway through the third, putting a tight (but ugly) game out of reach. With 7:02 left in the third, the Knicks trailed, 52-50, but that’s when Lin started to heat up, nailing a 3 and, after an Anthony miss down the other end, knifing past Langston Galloway for a tough layup. It was the start of a 14-2 Hornet run, and Lin wrapped it up minutes later by knocking down a pair of free throws after getting fouled by Williams on another tough drive. Suddenly, the Knicks were down, 66-52.

In a rare bright spot Saturday night, Kristaps Porzingis blocks a Kemba Walker shot.Nell Redmond/AP

In a rare bright spot Saturday night, Kristaps Porzingis blocks a Kemba Walker shot.

“We just wasn’t there tonight,” Anthony said. “We had the same (kind of) game last night.”

Except on Saturday, the Knicks were facing a Charlotte team that seemed so beatable. The Hornets were without swingman Nic Batum, and they opened the game by missing nine of their first 10 shots, letting the Knicks grab a 12-4 lead with 5:44 left in the first quarter.

That lead wouldn’t last. And now, FIsher only hopes this slump doesn’t last.

“I just think overall, our guys are feeling some of the impact of an NBA season and just having some down energy now,” he said. “We’ll work our way through it.” 

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new york knicks ,
charlotte hornets ,
carmelo anthony ,
sports injuries ,
nba


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