Knicks hold team meeting after loss

LOS ANGELES -- After the New York Knicks lost their seventh consecutive game Wednesday night to fall to 3-11 on the season, players and coaches held a 20-minute, closed-door meeting.

"The easiest thing for us to do is just to crumble right now," Carmelo Anthony said. "We are in a dark place but we have to get out of this. We just have to get out of it."

The meeting took place in the visitors' locker room of Staples Center following the Knicks' 93-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks have the third-worst record in the league, and a loss Friday night in Denver would mean losing eight straight for the first time since February 2010.

"We talked. Everybody talked," Anthony said. "The players had a meeting, the coaches -- everybody had a meeting after the game. We had to talk. We're trying to figure it out together. We have to put four quarters together. We got to do it for one another. Right now the game is not fun for nobody. We're just not making it happen."

Last season, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were two of the big reasons the Knicks won 54 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. But both players have struggled this season, and on Wednesday, Smith and Shumpert combined for just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.

"They have to figure it out, and we have to help them figure it out," Anthony said. "I really don't know how we do that but we're going to keep trying and we're going to keep trying to figure this out. Them guys have to figure it out on their own, too, and along the way, we all have to be there for one another. The easiest thing would be for us to go our separate ways and separate this team in the locker room but we have to be here for one another right now. The hardest thing to do right now is to remain positive. I know it's tough but we have to do that."

Knicks point guard Raymond Felton started Wednesday after missing the previous four games with a back injury, but his return wasn't enough to improve the team's fortunes.

"It hurts. It's something that no team wants," Felton said. "We don't want it. We're not used to it. It's mind-boggling. I can't really put it into words. We've got to keep fighting. We've got to figure this out, someway, somehow."

Perhaps the only Knicks player in the locker room with a somewhat sunny disposition was Metta World Peace, who was playing in his first game back at Staples Center after the Los Angeles Lakers used their amnesty rights on his contract in the offseason.

"We're not struggling," World Peace said. "It's part of life. You know how life is. We had a bad hair day, you know?"

World Peace signed with the Knicks in the offseason, passing up an opportunity to stay in Los Angeles with the Clippers, largely because of the lure of winning in New York.

"I honestly didn't even know who the coach was when I was coming to New York," World Peace said. "I just wanted to win a championship; I didn't even know who was coaching. I didn't care. It could have been Aunt Jemima. They could have had the syrup coaching. I was coming here regardless. I just wanted to win a championship here."

Knicks coach Mike Woodson has come under scrutiny after the team's poor start but believes they have to have faith in the process and believe they are a win away from turning their season around.

"It's something we haven't experienced the last two years but we just have to stay the course," Woodson said. "This is no time to panic and feel that you can't get out of it. You win one game and that gets your confidence back going and there's no telling what can happen so we just have to stay the course, keep grinding and see what happens."

Anthony believes the Knicks can learn from last season's team, but the biggest thing they have to get back to doing is having fun again.

"It was a special bond that the team had last year," Anthony said. "The trust factor was definitely there, and most importantly we were having fun last year. This year, it seems we're not having fun. Every situation is a pressurized situation, and we have to get back to playing basketball and having fun, because when the game is not fun anymore, you get results like this."