Knicks try to avoid season-long slide tonight

The Knicks' six-game losing streak should come to an end tonight if form holds. After all, tonight's opponent, the Washington Wizards, are 0-for-the season on the road in 2010-11, losing all 20 games they've played away from the Verizon Center.

Then again, form doesn't always hold.

If it did, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be in the midst of the longest losing streak in NBA history instead of just encroaching on it. The Cavs have won just once Nov. 27, losing 26 of 27 games over that span, with that lone victory coming against the Knicks exactly 37 days ago.

The Knicks themselves haven't won in 13 days, losing six in a row to Utah, Sacramento, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City to match their longest slide of the season. At 22-21, they are in danger of falling back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 28.

The ongoing Carmelo Anthony drama will keep the element of uncertainty around for another month unless the Nuggets trade their superstar forward before then, with most of the NBA expecting the Knicks to be Melo's ultimate destination -- whether through a trade, or in free agency after the conclusion of this season.

No matter how many times the players deny it, the trade speculation has been and will continue to be a distraction as the Knicks try to stay north of the break-even mark now that they are more than halfway through the regular season.

How did things turn from good to bad so quickly?

Let's have a look back at those last six games to recap the specifics behind the slide the Knicks hope to end tonight.

Jan. 12: Jazz 131, Knicks 125

This was the game that concluded the Knicks' four-game Western trip (their final four-game road trip of the season), and the Knicks took it as a positive loss after having Shawne Williams shoot them back into this particular track met with seven 3-pointers. But the other stat that jumped off the box score was Utah's 59 percent shooting from the field. The Jazz also outrebounded New York by 10 and scored 54 points in the paint as the Knicks turned into a matador defensive unit after Amar'e Stoudemire picked up his fourth foul just three minutes into the third quarter.

Jan. 14: Kings 93, Knicks 83

This one happened on a Friday night, and the Knicks wrote it off as the product of having their body clocks out of whack following a 5 a.m. landing upon the previous day upon their return from Salt Lake City. But in hindsight, this looks like the game where Raymond Felton began to hit the wall after logging so many minutes at such a high-octane pace in coach Mike D'Antoni's offense. Felton shot just 2-for-15 against the Kings, beginning a five-game stretch in which he has missed 56 of his last 79 shot attempts (29 percent).

Jan. 16: Suns 129, Knicks 121

Stoudemire's season-high 41 points against his former team went for naught on this Martin Luther King Day matinee in which general manager Donnie Walsh made headlines by revealing he believes he can acquire a pair of first-round picks. At the time, most folks believes the Nets were still the leading candidate in the Melo Sweepstakes, and the coach was still proclaiming that the Knicks were good enough and confident enough to defeat any team in the NBA. Danilo Gallinari scored 17 points in his return from a spained knee, but Stoudemire was held scoreless over the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter when the Suns took control.

Jan. 19: Rockets 104, Knicks 89

The biggest distraction of the season came in the form of the news out of Newark that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov had pulled the plug on New Jersey's efforts to acquire Anthony. Stoudemire had fits despite being defended by 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes, coughing the ball up on consecutive crucial fourth-quarter possessions after the New York had cut its deficit to five. The Knicks scored only 39 second-half points and were held below 90 points for only the fourth time all season.

Jan. 21: Spurs 101, Knicks 92

You really can't expect any team to beat the NBA-leading Spurs twice in one season, and San Antonio was looking for some revenge after yielding 128 points to the Knicks back on Jan. 4. Tim Duncan turned back the clock and stuffed he stat sheet with a 21-point, 16-rebound, eight-assist, five-block performance, and DeJuan Blair had 18 points and 13 rebounds despite D'Antoni going with a big lineup (he said it would be permanent, then changd his mind the next night) featuring Ronny Turiaf starting at center. Wilson Chandler scored just six points in 31 bench minutes, his slump coinciding with Felton's to make the Knicks look as Stoudemire-dependant as they have all season.

Jan. 22: Thunder 101; Knicks 98

This was the one loss in the streak that undoubtedly hurt the most. Chandler returned to the starting lineup and the Knicks played from ahead from the second quarter on, but OKC came back from a six-point deficit in the final 3 minutes. Radio analyst John Andaraise was apoplectic when Felton pulled up for an off-balance jumper on the Knicks' final possession with 6.5 seconds left instead of taking the ball hard to the hole, and Kevin Durant buried a dagger of a 3-pointer in Danilo Gallinari's face as the final buzzer sounded to give the Thunder the walk-off victory.