Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and had 7 rebounds but missed all 7 of his 3-point attempts as the New York Knicks lost their home opener 112-101 to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Knickerbockers were coming off a 122-97 season-opening victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday but couldn’t keep up with the Hawks’ precision execution, and showed New York why they won 60 games last season.
“I thought they were kind of one step ahead of us the whole night,” said Anthony. “They beat us. They came to play. They won the game”.
Anthony, who had 11 points and shot 4-16 against Milwaukee in the opener, feels that it’s to early to get wrapped in a loss.
“It’s the second game into the season. I don’t want to jump the gun. Of course we have to get better. We have time to keep working, and we will learn from it.”
Anthony had a second straight poor shooting night but says his knee feels great and that he just has to find his rhythm again after a long layoff following his surgery earlier this year.
“Yeah, it’s different. As far as the knee goes, everything feels great,” said Anthony. “Now you got to get back into kind of basketball form. Playing 30-plus minutes a night, getting that back, getting your bounce back so that’s the next stage… I want to let it come to me naturally and not try and force it out there as far as force my rhythm. I got to play. The rhythm, it’ll come back. It’s nothing mechanical. Nothing. It’s just a matter of being back in the game now and playing those minutes and banging and bruising and just getting back into basketball form. Just finding that rhythm again.”
Kristaps Porzingis, the No. 4 overall draft pick, drew plenty of cheers in his first regular-season game at Madison Square Garden. The 7-3 Latvian received the loudest ovation of any players during pregame introductions, and the cheers got even louder after a highlight reel play in which he got a steal and a spin into the middle on his dribble up the court leading to a dunk.
The rookie scored 10 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, had 3 steals and a block in 26 minutes. Porzingis, who was booed on draft night by Knicks fans when chosen, has already become a beloved figure in only his second professional game.
“The fans didn’t really know me, they didn’t know my game,” said Porzingis. “The fans see how passionate I am, The fans are starting to like me. I am playing hard and I hopefully can help the team win game.”
After looking so promising in their opening night win against the Bucks, things are staring to look bleak after only one loss.Coach Derek Fisher attacked the negativity that surrounds the organization and how quickly criticism came following its opening night victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Last night everything was great and the sun was up and now, all of a sudden, there’s no sun because we lost tonight,” said Fisher. “That’s the mentality that we have to get out of in this organization. We can’t go up and down with the sun and moon one day at a time. Being good takes time, it’s a process. Being great is not easy.”
Robin Lopez was the best player on the floor for the Knicks as he finished with 18 points on 8-11 shooting.
“Personally I felt like I was rushing on offense,” said Lopez. “I had a few too may turnovers. Defensively, I was figuring out where I was supposed to be on the pick and roll with other guys.”
Lopez was brought to New York to help improve the interior defense, but that certainly didn’t show tonight as the Hawks scored 54 points in the paint.
“The bigger problem was the 54 points in the paint,” said Fisher. ” That hurts us much more than them hitting threes.”