Carmelo Anthony struggled in the fourth quarter, but two of his six misses were forced shots late in the clock when his teammates were playing hot potato.
Twice down the stretch of the Knicks’ loss to Cleveland on Friday, Carmelo Anthony was passed the ball with no more than four seconds left on the shot clock.
He missed both forced shots — and the Knicks scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter in losing for the fourth time in five games at MSG this season — as LeBron James and the Cavs closed with a 13-2 run for a 90-84 victory.
After Anthony suggested afterwards that “guys are maybe looking at me a little bit too much instead of making the right play,” Derek Fisher added after practice on Saturday that the coaching staff is “going to continue to reinforce that it’s not any one person’s responsibility to save the day” in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think guys are losing their confidence really in terms of being able to play in those situations. But for us, it’s a matter of really finding a group of guys that can finish games and that are accustomed to playing with each other out there on the floor,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to make sure the guys understand that just giving (Anthony) the ball and saying ‘go make a shot,’ that’s not the way we’re going to win games in the fourth quarter. It has to be done through all five guys, and that goes both ways, and that’s not easy to do.”
The Knicks (4-6) were outscored 24-12 in the fourth quarter against the Cavs, one game after they had flushed a 12-point second-half lead and scored only 14 points in the final period of a last-minute loss in Charlotte.
“The guys, I think when you see it the day after, see how we lost the game, see how close we were to winning, it stings a little bit, but it gives you that confidence to know that a couple mistakes fixed here and there we can win those games,” said Anthony, who was 1-for-7 from the floor in the fourth. “We’ll get there. This is a process that — I don’t want to say we should have expected — but it is what it is right now. We will get better at that, at finishing games, especially coming down the stretch.”
Veteran guards Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo also indicated there has been too much reliance on one-on-one play in the past two losses.
“I think whether you win or you lose you have to learn from those games,” said Afflalo, who missed the first eight games of the season with a hamstring injury.
The Knicks’ next try for a second home win will be Sunday afternoon against the New Orleans Pelicans, who are 1-7 with star big man Anthony Davis missing the past two games with a right hip contusion.
“It’s about us. It’s not about them,” Anthony said.
TO PARIS WITH LOVE
Knicks center and France native Kevin Seraphin tweeted Saturday about the Paris terrorist attacks on his Twitter account, @kevin_seraphin: “I could not even sleep #paris. When life become a movie…#iamparis This is sad how some people don’t respect life. We got to be strong.
Seraphin had said Friday night that his immediate family was safe, but he still hadn’t been in contact with friends and other family members…Rookie Kristaps Porzingis practiced with his left thumb taped, but Fisher said, “I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to bother him or impact him at all.”
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