Stretching the Field: Knicks circling the drain

( - Thwoosh!

That's the sound of the New York Knicks' season going down the tubes.

Let's be honest, their season was over in mid-January and now it's becoming a complete train wreck. Twelve losses in the last 14 games, a six-game losing streak and failure to take advantage of a powerless Eastern Conference are ruining a season that began with so much promise.

When your star player is using the words embarrassing and frustrating with just over a month to go in the season, the writing is on the wall.

That's how dejected All-Star Carmelo Anthony feels.

"It's hard to keep coming up with excuses about why it continues to happen," Anthony said after Sunday's 109-90 loss at Chicago. "At this point, there's really no answers to it. As a team, we have to have some type of sense of pride just to go out there and compete. It seems like we're not even competing right now."

The Knicks aren't competing.

They have allowed opponents to score 100 or more points in each of the last six games and are losing by an average of 14.5 points per game during the slide, including a 22.6 clip in the last three. New York shot 44.3 percent against the Bulls, 37.9 percent in Friday's loss to Golden State and 37.3 percent in a loss at Miami.

You could tell Sunday's loss weighed heavily on Anthony.

"I think we have to do a much better job of just having a sense of pride out there and just play basketball and not worrying about whatever's going on, whatever it is," said Anthony, who's doing his part to the tune of 32.2 ppg in his last 18 games. "We're just not getting it done."

Anthony was asked immediately after that statement if he's embarrassed.

"Without a doubt, without a doubt," he said with no hesitation. "It's embarrassing. It's frustrating, it's embarrassing. Teams win and lose night in and night out, but just the way that we're not approaching the game from that standpoint with a winning attitude is just not happening. I know I'm rambling right now, but it's just frustrating. I don't like to be embarrassed like that."

With free agency looming, some fans at the United Center held signs in favor of Anthony joining the Bulls. Anthony was asked about one in particular that read "Melo to Chicago."

"I saw a couple of those tonight. It was a good sign," the NBA's second- leading scorer (28.0 ppg) said before failing to keep a straight face.

The rumor mill will always be churning and Anthony had nothing but positive words to say about what Joakim Noah and the Bulls are accomplishing. But he's a Knick and has to deal with the downtrodden state of affairs.

New York has lost four straight and nine of 10 road games, and has a 9-19 ledger away from Madison Square Garden. It will visit the frontline-heavy Detroit Pistons Monday, and the chances of bouncing back are bleak. The Knicks then close the trip Wednesday against Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves, and could lose that one by at least 20 points.

Have the Knicks already mailed it in or are they just not prepared?

"I think every game we go in we're prepared," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Woodson may not be preparing Xs and Os for the 2014-15 season and there's no sense of giving him his walking papers now. Might as well let the captain go down with the plummeting ship. Mathematically, the Knicks are still in the hunt for one of the final playoff spots, but let's be realistic.

Miami Heat star LeBron James tried to be pragmatic last week when he said the Knicks' disappointing record wouldn't have any bearing on the game's outcome. We knew what James meant about New York coming to compete, but he was right because the Heat blew the Knicks straight out of South Beach.

Who knows what the Knicks will look like next season? Who will coach the team? Will Anthony be back? Who else could possibly leave the Big Apple?

Those questions could be addressed as early as April when the Knicks clean out their lockers and head into the offseason.