The Knicks blew a 10-point lead in the final two minutes against the 76ers in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, losing on a buzzer-beater.
It was their ninth loss in their last 10 games.
"Definitely embarrassing the way we're losing games,'' Courtney Lee said, according to the NY Post. "There's no excuses. It's just us. This s-t is definitely embarrassing. We have to find consistency in everything -- soon. It's got to be defense first. We got to change our mentality."
Derrick Rose -- in his first game back after going AWOL -- had 25 points, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 28.
"Very, very disappointing, giving ourselves a chance to win on the road and to come up short,'' Anthony said. "We got to learn from this and let it slip away. … We should tell ourselves it's unacceptable.''
At 17-22, the Knicks are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 2.5 games behind the Wizards, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot.
The unfortunate thing is that there were some positive showings despite the loss. Kyle O'Quinn played really well and both Anthony and Rose had their respective moments. A victory looked to finally be within grasp given the way they played through three quarters or so. While the 76ers kept making little runs, New York was keeping its head above water.
To lose nine out of 10 and have the last one come as the team crumbles and has their star (Anthony) get fooled so close to the basket on the game winner has to be gut wrenching.
The playoffs are still technically within reasonable grasp. Nevertheless, it's discouraging to see the Knicks give up the prominent footing they had in the Eastern Conference standings so easily. The team that's showed up to play over the last three weeks clearly hasn't been playoff caliber. Over this time, frustration and doubt has set it. Lee and his teammates have a right to be embarrassed.
As an organization, the Knicks should set up a relatively tight timeline to explore whether or not this group can turn things around and compete towards a meaningful postseason bid. There's room for a window of opportunity, but it shouldn't be open for much longer -- not only given the recent struggles, but also what Phil Jackson's assembled teams have failed to do.
Is it worth fighting tooth and nail for the eighth seed? On paper, this squad looks capable of competing for home court advantage, at least in the first round of the postseason. If that's not close to happening, prolonging the agony shouldn't be the strategy. Something isn't clicking with this group.
If this "unacceptable" play continues, it'll be best to look to the future and explore deals for underperforming players.