Earlier this week, Carmelo Anthony defiantly referred to Wednesday night's game against the Kings as a "must-win." While there's been no official and/or public ultimatum proclaimed, one can only assume Coach Mike Woodson's time is rather limited. Losing to a team like Sacramento (who had lost eight straight road games heading into Wednesday), certainly wouldn't help the coach's cause heading into NBA All-Star Weekend.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. Despite looking like the superior team in the early goings, the Knicks ultimately fell well short of the mark. A sizeable double-digit lead in the first quarter didn't last long, as Sacramento roared back in an attempt to take control. They outscored the Knicks every quarter thereafter.
Hometown kid Jimmer Fredette led the way for the Kings, hitting six three-point field goals en route to scoring 24 points. His long range bombs were like daggers to heart of the Knicks each and every time they swished through the net. Each one was more demoralizing than the last, as Fredette and company attempted to hold the Knicks down each time they tried to keep the pace.
Led by Anthony's 36 points, New York made the game look like a competitive contest full of back and forth baskets. The Knicks were, undoubtedly, fighting. Perhaps they all seemed to sense that they were fighting for Coach Woodson's job.
Even so, though the effort was there, it's unfortunate that New York had to force themselves to fight tooth and nail, just to keep up with the Kings.
After pushing so hard, simply to keep themselves afloat through four quarters, a missed opportunity to put the game away in the final seconds likely demoralized the Knicks completely heading into overtime. They were fried by the time the extra period came around.
In addition to Anthony's high scoring output, Amar'e Stoudemire finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Tyson Chandler looked more assertive offensively, scoring 17 points to go along with 11 boards. And despite fizzling out in overtime, Raymond Felton dished out 12 assisted and finished with a plus/minus of +7 for the game.
Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. will represent the Knicks this weekend in New Orleans. It's anyone's guess as to whether or not Woodson will still be in charge when they get back.