The Knicks’ 41-point loss to the Celtics is about seven weeks old. But it still resonates in the locker room.
“That game left a bitter taste in my mouth and everybody’s mouth,” Carmelo Anthony said on Monday. “It was unacceptable, that game. We remember that.”
Carmelo and the Knicks will carry that memory into Tuesday’s home game against the Celtics.
Their embarrassing loss to Boston on Dec. 8 left them at an abysmal 5-14 and caused public speculation about Mike Woodson’s job status. They’ve gone 12-13 since, offsetting a five-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak. They're currently riding a two-game win streak.
"We’ve had our bad moments here on our floor, but the last two outings are the way I think we’re capable of playing," Woodson said.
Anthony has a combined 97 points in the past two wins, including a Knicks-record 62-point output on Friday. He likes what he's seen from his teammates recently.
“The main thing is to stay on track, just try to build on the way we’ve been playing these past couple of games,” Anthony said. “It seems like, mentally, everybody’s on the same page right now. Every day is a new day, so we’re just trying to build on this.”
Boston has lost two in a row and eight of its past 10. The C's are 1-5 since Rajon Rondo returned to the court. The point guard had a season-high 13 points against Brooklyn on Sunday. He also had eight assists and eight rebounds in 30 minutes but turned the ball over six times. Rondo is likely still working off the rust from a nearly year-long absence following ACL surgery.
Regardless, the Knicks (17-27) will be wary.
“His speed in terms of getting the ball up the floor and getting it to where it’s got to go has caused problems for a lot of teams,” Woodson said.
The Celtics didn’t need Rondo the last time they visited MSG; Jordan Crawford (23 points) caused enough problems on his own. Crawford led six Celtics in double figures, and Boston hit 14 of 25 3s to produce the most lopsided win of the NBA season.
The ugly loss still doesn’t sit well with Carmelo. He said the Knicks will keep it "in the back of our minds" when they take the floor Tuesday.
Maybe those bad memories can spur the Knicks to another much-needed win.
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