Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Continue Descent

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Continue Descent

Article excerpt

TORONTO -- Midway through the fourth quarter the only thing left for the fans at the Air Canada Centre to do was chant, "We want Bruno," a cry for the victory cigar to be lit in the form of 19- year-old Brazilian rookie Bruno Caboclo.

To the delight of the crowd, with 1:47 remaining Caboclo got the call -- he had appeared in just two games this season. On the other end of the court, Knicks coach Derek Fisher already had tried every option available to him, to no avail.

There were no answers for Fisher and the Knicks as they were humbled once again, falling, 118-108, Sunday to the Raptors. The loss is the Knicks' fifth straight and 15th in their last 16 games, and sends them home for Christmas with a 5-25 record and the worst 30-game start in franchise history.

Where they are is a place that they never could have imagined. Two seasons ago, the Knicks were a 54-win team. While there certainly has been a makeover of the roster, there are five important players from that team left, and even last year's 37-win season now seems like a dream.

"I sit back and think about that," forward Carmelo Anthony said. "I'm not a guy that likes to go back in the past, but seeing where we were at a couple years ago and [having] thought we were going to kind of build on that and come back next year and be better as a team ... to be sitting here at 5-25 is just, it don't even seem real right now.''

With the Knicks showing little signs of competing -- trailing by as many as 18 and by double digits most of the second half -- Fisher rode Anthony, his only feasible option. With 6:20 remaining and the Knicks down by 18, Fisher sent Pablo Prigioni into the game and took out Travis Wear. But just 14 seconds later at the next stoppage, he threw in the towel and sent Wear back on the floor to finally give Anthony a break.

Even with that, Anthony played 37 minutes, 48 seconds after playing 40 minutes the day before in the loss at home to Phoenix. …

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