If there was ever a night for the Knicks not to play their worst game of the season, it was Monday night against the Warriors.
It was the first game of a five-game West Coast swing that promises tough opposition and a serious test of the Knicks' depth after the loss of Amar'e Stoudemire for at least the next six weeks. It was also the first game since the team announced yet another rise in ticket prices, something that always goes down a little more smoothly when you don't lost by 30 points.
And then there was Carmelo Anthony's return to the lineup after three games, a return that was preceded by his comments that he doesn't think his knee will be 100 percent again this season. Whatever percentage of Anthony they get the rest of the way has to be enough to carry the team through the rough patches, so it would have worked well to see Anthony light up the Golden State defense.
The Knicks failed on every front, though, and their 92-63 loss was the kind of thing that makes you wonder why you stayed up late. As they missed more and more shots and J.R. Smith got himself kicked out of the game, it morphed into the kind of thing that makes you wonder if you're ever going to bother tuning in again.
Yes, it's just one game and the Knicks have had dreadful outings this season that they were able to follow up with wins that kept you from harping on the negatives. This felt different, though.
This felt like a night of bad omens, especially watching a stiff-legged Anthony putter around the perimeter at less than full speed. There was no taste for combat from Anthony, no driving to the hoop to clatter bodies and draw fouls the way there is when Anthony is operating at peak efficiency.
Yet Mike Woodson kept him in the game well past the point that the outcome was obvious and then put him back into the game with nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. You can accept the desire to knock off some rust, but there's no way someone could have watched Anthony on Monday and came up with the conclusion that the best place for him to be was on a basketball court for 34 minutes.
With no Stoudemire and erratic shooting from deep, riding Anthony is something we're going to see a lot of this season. Monday night was a pretty scary introduction to living life that way.