Maybe Carmelo Anthony would be better off leaving New York when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Melo should take his talents to another team if his No. 1 priority is winning a championship soon because the Knicks look to be even farther from that possibility than Boston.
New York enters this week tied for last in the Eastern Conference. Largely, this same cast of characters won 54 games last season and the Atlantic Division title, the Knicks’ first since 1994. The Knicks were also the last team to face the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett version of the Celtics as New York beat Boston in six games in last year’s conference quarterfinals.
On Sunday, New York lost at home to a mediocre New Orleans team that lost its best player, Anthony Davis, early in the game to a broken hand. It was the Knicks’ ninth straight loss, a first since 2006, and dropped them to 1-7 at Madison Square Garden. The only team New York has beaten at MSG is Milwaukee, who also shares the Eastern Conference basement.
Anthony won his first scoring title last year but most of his numbers are down this season. He’s shooting just .423 from the field and .277 from long range, but that hasn’t stopped him from gunning at will as Anthony leads the NBA by far in field-goal attempts. He said after Sunday’s game that the Knicks are currently playing to lose and that the team misses the departed Jason Kidd‘s leadership. Isn’t that the superstar’s job?
Coach Mike Woodson already has gotten the dreaded vote of confidence from Knicks owner James Dolan. In Woodson’s defense, the Knicks have been without their best (only?) defensive player in Tyson Chandler since November 5 due to a fracture of his right fibula. He’s not expected to return to the court by the time Boston visits MSG on Sunday in the teams’ first meeting of the season.
Bovada oddsmakers still give the Knicks a good shot to win the Atlantic Division at +300, with Brooklyn the -150 favorite despite also being off to a terrible start. The Celtics remain long shots at +2500.
Boston won’t be a betting favorite Sunday but is -6.5 for Tuesday’s home game with Milwaukee and will be a slight dog Friday against visiting Denver, meaning a 3-0 week is a possibility. The Celtics have won three total games since a season-high four-game winning streak ended on November 13.
The Bucks remain without starting big man Larry Sanders yet still managed to outrebound Boston by eight in Saturday’s 92-85 victory over the Celtics. That ended Milwaukee’s 11-game skid and was its second win this year versus Boston. The only other team the Bucks have beaten is Cleveland. Milwaukee has an intriguing rookie in 18-year-old swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was taken two spots after the C’s drafted Kelly Olynyk. “The Greek Freak” had his best game of the season against Boston, playing a season-high 28 minutes and finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Friday’s Nuggets-Celtics game will have Live Betting. Nuggets could be gassed when they get to Boston as it will be their fourth game in six days.