Give D'Antoni and Walsh Points for Optimism, But Little Else

Six straight losses but coach and G.M. insist all is well

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011  |  Updated 7:03 AM EDT
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Give D'Antoni and Walsh Points for Optimism, But Little Else

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The last time the Knicks lost six straight games they responded by winning 13 of their next 14 to revitalize the city's basketball spirit.

That must be why Mike D'Antoni and Donnie Walsh are treating their current six-game skid with a shrug, because the only other explanation is that the coach and general manager are delusional about the state of their team. Nothing is going right for them at the moment and there aren't many signs of a major shift as they prepare to play the Wizards at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

The team have allowed more than 100 points in five of the six losses and they've only scored more than 100 twice during that span, a disparity that should be troubling to the bosses. Saturday night's loss to the Thunder featured them outshooting the home team by seven percentage points, but losing because they can't rebound or defend without sending the opposition to the free throw line.

Losses like that keep happening and nothing about the Knicks suggests that there's an answer in house. Unless the Knicks shoot the lights out, they have almost no chance to win games against decent teams and struggle to beat the bad ones. D'Antoni doesn't see any problem, however.

"I feel like we're doing OK. I feel like we're getting back on track. Nothing physical. More mental stuff."

If that's true, the Knicks should get a group rate from a good psychiatrist because there are serious mental health issues. Raymond Felton has gone from swaggering director of the team to a liability who can neither defend nor make shots with any regularity. Wilson Chandler has regressed, Danilo Gallinari alternates between being ignored by his teammates and refusing to make things happen and the less said about the team's bench the better.

All of that has left Amar'e Stoudemire beaten down by the increasing burden placed on his shoulders, but it hasn't done a thing to lessen Walsh's happy thoughts about his team.

"We've played better in the last two games," Walsh said. "When you get in a period where you're losing, there has to be games where you play better and you might lose, but you show you're playing better. And good things will start happening. I thought that a little bit against the Spurs. But I thought we played much better against Oklahoma City and we probably should have won that game. I'm hoping it gets us on the right track."

Yes, they should have won that game. They didn't win it because the roster, as presently constructed, has fatal flaws that good teams like the Thunder can exploit over and over again. We're not here to rehash the Carmelo Anthony debate, nor do we suggest making a trade for the sake of making a trade, but there has to be some reality interjected into the sunshine circus.

Nothing is working right now and all of the team's good work earlier in the season is on the brink of becoming meaningless as a result. A loss against the Wizards could easily mean an eight or nine game skid before the week is out and a sub-.500 record along with it. The playoff spot would be next.

The problems are obvious. Someone has to be willing to take a hard look at figuring out some solutions.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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