Carmelo Anthony sits out the final game of the Knicks poor season in Indiana.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Knicks sent out their B squad in the final game of another lost season, ending the disappointment with their hopes for the future – Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis – on the sideline.
Both had encouraging campaigns, with Anthony holding up well in the season following knee surgery and Porzingis emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate after being booed on draft night.
Anthony, who sat out Tuesday to rest, praised himself for playing unselfishly. He averaged a career-high 4.2 assists and was the only player in the NBA to lead his team in points per game, rebounds and assists.
Of course, the Knicks missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season and were 17 games under-.500 heading into Tuesday.
“I think this was my best season as far as having a complete season and really sacrificing a lot for the betterment of the team and betterment of the guys that’s on the team, helping the guys out and leading the guys in totally different ways than I have in the past,” he said. “I felt good doing that. The response that I’ve been getting from inside the locker room, my teammates in general, I respect the response I’ve been getting from that. All of that hard work really paid off for me. I really just sacrificed a lot for the betterment of everybody.”
Robin Lopez gets off a shot during Tuesday night’s finale.
Porzingis, who will likely finish runner-up in the Rookie of the Year vote to Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Town, missed the final seven games of the season because of a shoulder strain. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 72 games.
“It sucks. I was expecting myself to come back and be ready the last two or three games but it’s not the right decision to make right now,” he said. “You try to rush it and play the last two or three games, something worse can happen. It sucks but I still have to be smart about it and listen to the medical staff.”
He said Tuesday that he’s leaning towards skipping Olympic qualifying with Latvia to stay in New York and work with Knicks coaches over the summer. Rambis has said he’d prefer if Porzingis doesn’t play for his national team in the July tournament.
“For the most part of the offseason I’ll be in New York, working out here, and I know we have great coaches. Kurt. Phil. To learn from those guys is going to be fun for me, especially my first offseason,” Porzingis said. “No. 1 is for the team for me, always. Obviously I want to represent my country, I want to represent Latvia. But I got to be smart about it. I have to listen to people who are important.”