Now that the NBA trade deadline has come and gone, Carmelo Anthony remains a member of the New York Knicks. Unfortunately for him, the solidarity that came with knowing he’d remain a Knick, at least for the remainder of the year, didn’t turn the tide for the Knicks. Instead, they suffered a 129-121 2OT loss to the Magic on Friday night. Now the Knicks sit at 21-34 and it seems as if every loss gets a bit more demoralizing for the team that started the season with 22-1 odds to win it all. Instead, they are now at 175-1 and they remain 4 ½ games out of the playoff race. The worst part may be the fact that Orlando doesn’t even have a .500 record with 17 wins and 40 losses, and yet the Knicks were still unable to beat them.
Melo was huge on Friday night with 44 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and one steal. However Victor Oladipo put in 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and also had 14 assists in one of the best games of the rookies young career.
At halftime the Knicks were up by 7 points and at one point they led by as much as 14. However, Oladipo and Tobias Harris, who also added 22 points of his own, led a strong and steady attack for the Magic. Harris is in his first season with the Magic after being traded from Milwaukee. However it is no surprise that the Magic are relying heavily on their young talent that includes the former 19th overall pick and Oladipo, who was drafted 2nd overall last year.
Much of the talk before the trade deadline was whether or not Carmelo would sit down with James Dolan and the two would discuss the future of the Knicks franchise. And while we don’t know if that conversation took place, we would assume that at least enough was done to keep Melo interested in staying the remainder of the season. After all, the last thing the Knicks want to do is risk him leaving in free agency after everything that they did to acquire him from the Nuggets a few years ago. Needless to say, nobody would expect Melo to enjoy losing like the Knicks have been this year and the franchise could be in for a shakeup this offseason.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, the East is a conference that just a short winning streak where a team that gets hot could be the difference between earning a playoff spot and earning a ball for the draft lottery. However, with the Knicks four games out and the Magic seven games behind, Friday night it looked like Orlando was the franchise that is headed in the right direction. Oladipo proved to be able to put up points in one of the most exciting stadiums in the world and the rest of the Magic squad helped out in their own way. The Knicks, on the other hand, continue to rely on Melo and even with his 44 points they still couldn’t muster up a W.
This season may be a lost year for both squads, but the Knicks may want to take a close look at how Orlando rebuilt after their superstar Dwight Howard left. They may be in that same boat sooner than they’d like.