Knicks Need to Stop With the Excuses

What's mounting faster -- excuses or losses?

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A pair of wins this weekend for the Knicks, who are facing back-to-back games with the Bucks and Bobcats, would do wonders for confidence levels around the city by creating some much needed breathing room in the final push for a playoff spot.

    These are both losing teams looking up at the Knicks in the standings and both of them should be easy pickings.

    Of course, we are all too aware of the fact that this Knicks team does not do well when faced with such opposition.

    They've shown an alarming propensity to play down to the level of the opposition of late, something that they attempt to explain away with discussion of how they are trying to find common ground on a roster that was hastily reassembled last month.

    It's true, the roster was turned inside out in the Carmelo Anthony trade. It's also true that Chauncey Billups's injury slowed down the team's acclimation to their new reality and Anthony hasn't helped things by refusing to totally shape his game to the Knicks scheme.

    It's true that Billups isn't a prototypical Mike D'Antoni point guard and that his arrival has forced changes to the offense that marginalize Landry Fields. 

    All of that is lamentable. So is a March schedule that has the Knicks constantly playing four games in five nights and bouncing all over the country to play their games.

    That tires out bodies, especially the one in the Amar'e Stoudemire jersey because he's already been stretched to the limits by D'Antoni's decision to ride him very hard over most of the season.

    That's been hard to watch at times, but the Knicks' lack of depth makes it hard to win games without relying heavily on your lead horse. 

    Let's stop playing the world's smallest violin, though.

    Every team in the league has its own long list of reasons to use to explain away poor play.

    Maybe the Knicks have more of them right now, but it's time to stop talking about them. The nightly chorus of rationalizations for losses is almost as frustrating as the losses themselves because no one will just stand up and say the obvious truth about the Knicks simply not being good enough to win games right now.

    There's still time for that to change. The schedule the rest of the way is quite weak and the Knicks aren't more than a good week away from quieting all the panic we've seen recently. They aren't going to pull that off if they don't stop making excuses for themselves, though.

    True as they might be, they also reveal a missing toughness that explains more than the rest of the excuses put together.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.