NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – The New York Knicks have been mired in a funk the past two weeks and are in danger of dropping to .500 for the first time in nearly two months.
A home game against the Washington Wizards should help them get back on track.
The Knicks look to avoid losing seven straight for the first time this season Monday night when they host a Wizards team still seeking its first road victory.
After winning four of its first five games of January, New York (22-21) has been on the losing end of each game since. The Knicks were in good position to put an end to their skid Saturday in Oklahoma City, but squandered a six-point lead in the final 3 minutes and ended up losing 101-98 on Kevin Durant’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“I’d rather get beat by 15 points than get beat like that,” said New York’s Raymond Felton, who missed three shots in the final 48 seconds to give the Thunder a chance.
“It’s always a tough loss when it’s a game-winner like that.”
Another loss would drop the Knicks to .500 for the first time since Nov. 28, when they were 9-9.
It would also mean they would become the first team to fall at home to Washington all season.
The Wizards (13-29) have lost all 20 of their road games. This is the worst single-season road losing streak in franchise history, but they are still nine losses short of the all-time longest road losing streak to start a season, set by the 1992-93 Denver Nuggets.
“We said from the beginning the maturation of a young team, the first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to beat the bad teams at home and beat good teams at home,” coach Flip Saunders said. “Then you beat bad teams on the road and you beat the good teams on the road.”
Washington managed to beat a good team at home Saturday, defeating Boston 85-83, although Saunders said it felt more like a road game because of all the Celtics fans. John Wall’s 3-pointer in the final minute quieted much of the pro-Boston crowd.
“I think tonight you should give us a road game because there were more Boston people here than Washington,” Saunders deadpanned. “So we’re 1-20.”
Getting their first true road win in New York likely could be tough for the Wizards, who play five of their next six away from the Verizon Center.
The Knicks have won the last six meetings at Madison Square Garden, including a 21-point victory on Nov. 5. New York also won at Washington 101-95 on Dec. 10, its fifth straight in the series since a 106-96 loss last January.
Amare Stoudemire had 36 points in that win at the Verizon Center last month, but is coming off a couple of sluggish performances.
After recording 26 straight 20-point games, Stoudemire has been held to 18 in each of his last two on 15 of 43 shooting (34.9 percent).
As a result of Stoudemire’s struggles, the Knicks have scored 98 or fewer points four times during their skid. New York, second in the league in scoring at 106.5 points, is 3-12 when failing to reach triple digits on the season.
The Knicks should have a good shot at getting their offense in gear against the Wizards, who are allowing an average of 108.4 points away from Washington.
Will the Knicks end their skid on Monday night? Let us know what you think in the comments below…
© 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.