Carmelo Anthony said he and the team just “didn’t have it” as the Knicks fell behind early, 14-2, and then lost to the Celtics at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, 108-97. Anthony posted a team-high 21 points (9-23 field goals), six rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes, but he didn’t look as engaged, or sprightly, as he did in Sunday’s win over the Lakers.
“We didn’t have it from an energy standpoint,” said Anthony. “It wasn’t the same [as Sunday]. We all felt and looked tired today. The energy wasn’t the same.”
Anthony didn’t blame the left knee that forced him to sit out of eight games this season, but he continues to fight through soreness. With the All-Star game to be held in New York next weekend, and the Knicks not playing again until the 20th, getting a few days of rest following the weekend’s festivities will be crucial for the team’s leading scorer.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Anthony said about having a few days rest following the All-Star game. “Just to have kind of a week off, for me [I’m going] to utilize those days the best I can.
“A week off after All-Star break – we need that. Some people get better [post All-Star]. You see their game get better and better, and they’re still staying in shape [post All-Star weekend].”
Even as he fights through injury his numbers are still impressive – 26.3 points per game on 45% shooting, seven rebounds and four assists in the five games leading up to Tuesday’s encounter with Boston.
But, the question as to how long Anthony will keep suiting up following the break for an already lost season will linger. He’s already stressed the importance of playing in front of his hometown fans, but many expect him to go under the knife and officially end his season shortly after the break.
Knicks’ coach Derek Fisher, speaking about the forward’s knee following the Lakers game Sunday, said: “We have to be smart about his (Anthony’s) short term and long term future. I think he’ll be the biggest advocate for making sure he’s healthy.
“I don’t think if we continue to win games that he is going to decide to play out the last 30 plus games of the season, I think it depends on how he’s feeling, and whether or not his knee is feeling good enough to play those games.”
With the Knicks currently in the midst of a 10-39 season, and owning their own pick in June’s draft, there’s no incentive for Anthony to continue to play after the break, and yet, by his own admission, Anthony says it’s hard to look past the game ahead [Brooklyn on Friday night] and consider the future.
“It’s hard. It’s hard,” Anthony said. “It’s hard to even have a conversation about that at this point. But that’s reality, and that’s the situation that we’re in right now. And we’ve got to start trying to build that up right now.”
However hard that may be.
Feature image via: AP