Knicks’ mile-high debacle: Melo to get knee drained; Chandler also hurt in rout
DENVER — The Knicks must be cursed.
The Knicks’ crisis went from bad to unthinkable Wednesday night. “The Melo Game’’ turned into a nightmare as center Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony didn’t finish because of knee injuries as the lifeless Knicks were clobbered by the Nuggets, 117-94, at Pepsi Center .
The Knicks announced Chandler had a left knee contusion, and Anthony bolted early in the third quarter and will head back to New York to have his right knee drained and likely will miss the rest of the West Coast trip — if not more.
Coach Mike Woodson called Chandler “probable’’ for tonight against the Trail Blazers in Portland, but he was limping badly in the locker room, and Chandler said he was unsure of his status and has refused to take an X-ray.
Meanwhile, J.R. Smith afterward questioned the team’s “heart.’’
Anthony, booed during pregame introductions and even more vigorously when he handled the ball in the first half in his return to the building that was once his home court, was rattled, rusty and hobbled. He left the game early in the third quarter with his lingering sore right knee after going 3-of-12 for nine points — 0-of-5 from 3-point range — and getting beaten continuously on defense.”
“I just didn’t have it,’’ Anthony said. “I tried it. I think it was just time for me to give it some time and get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. It started tightening up. I felt I had no pop or power. I tried it in the second half and couldn’t move.’’
“I’m just going to get it drained, get the fluid out, so I can get back on the court,’’ Anthony said.
There is no timetable for his return but a medical expert said it could only be a week before he returns unless there is more to it. Nevertheless, fluid in the knee is a symptom of larger problems — possibly cartilage damage or arthritis.
Early in the fourth quarter, a loud, taunting chant of “Where is Melo?’’ rang out in the thin Denver air as the Nuggets (44-22) won their 10th straight game — the longest winning streak in coach George Karl’s Nugget reign. With 1:30 left, the fans chanted “Who needs Melo?’’
Smith, also playing with a knee injury, ripped the team.
“We got to check out our heart right now,’’ Smith said. “We either got to compete or pack and go home. I’m very disappointed because we didn’t give the effort we should have. I don’t mind losing, but we just go out there and get demolished when we’re considered one of the best teams in the division. It’s not a good look for us.’’