On Tuesday, Anthony did not take the final shot despite his pleas. The last few moments of another dispiriting loss to the , 119-117, came down to a sequence between the teams’ All-Star wing players. Indiana’s Danny Granger drove to the right, spotted up and hit a 17-foot, game-winning shot with 0.3 of a second remaining at Conseco Fieldhouse.
After a timeout, Jared Jeffries inbounded the ball at midcourt and, instead of delivering it to an open Anthony at the top of key, Jeffries lobbed the ball toward the rim, which Indiana’s defense packed. The ball deflected out of bounds, signaling the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat.
“With three-tenths of a second left, all you can do is throw it to the hole and try to get someone to tip it in,” Coach said. “You can’t catch and shoot, so we tried to do that.”
Anthony had time to catch and shoot. The established the Trent Tucker rule after the 1989-90 season, disallowing any shot other than a tip with less than 0.3 seconds remaining.
“I’m thinking if I see somebody that’s backing off me like that, get it to me and let’s see what happens from there,” Anthony said.
Earlier in the season, Amar’e Stoudemire hit a 3-pointer that would have been the game-winning shot against Boston with 0.4 of a second left. But officials ruled that the ball was still in Stoudemire’s hands as time expired and disallowed the shot.
“I don’t think that’s much time to catch and shoot, but you never know,” Stoudemire said. “Depending on how he was going to shoot it, he might have gave a great shot at it.”
The Knicks dropped to 34-32 and sit a pedestrian 6-6 since last month’s megatrade. Four of the losses were unjustifiable — no matter the lack of continuity, practice time or Chauncey Billups’s injury. They have lost twice to the Pacers and the , suggesting that Anthony’s acquisition may take longer than expected to pay dividends.
Much of the game was a replay of Sunday’s loss to the Pacers at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks trailed by as many as 15 points, again absorbed a career-high performance from Tyler Hansbrough (30 points Tuesday; 29 Sunday) and Stoudemire was again handcuffed by early foul trouble.
Billups played his second game since sitting out six with a thigh bruise. Indiana’s Darren Collison crossed him over badly in one sequence and Billups had two costly turnovers in the final minutes.
The Knicks rallied in the second half when Toney Douglas scored 14 of his 17 points and Anthony asserted himself and finished with 29 points.
He and Stoudemire took turns scoring, but never dominated at the same time. Stoudemire finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He picked up his third foul about a minute into the second quarter and watched the rest of it from the bench.
The Knicks tied the game at 96-96 on Douglas’s free throw in the fourth quarter. It was one of nine ties in a quarter that also featured 10 lead changes.
Anthony again tied the game, 117-117, on a driving baseline layup with 7.8 seconds left.
The Pacers isolated Granger, who did not play on Sunday because of the flu.
“We wanted Danny to take it,” said Indiana’s interim coach, Frank Vogel. “That’s all the details, give it to your best player for the last shot.”
Granger scored the last of his 26 points on a step-back jumper.
“My main priority was to get the last shot,” Granger said. “Worse thing in those situations is when you don’t take a last shot and they have a chance to come back and win the game. I held it as long as I thought I could and I got a good look.”
Shawne Williams guarded Granger after Anthony was screened off on the play.
“I knew once he got the ball at the top of the key he was going to look to take the shot and not pass it,” said Williams, who began his N.B.A. career here. “I had to respect the drive.
“We feel bad,” Williams added. “Everybody has got to get going in some kind of way. We have to take a good look in the mirror and find ourselves and start taking pride on defense.”
Meanwhile, the are surging (8-2 since the trade) in the Western Conference with the contributions of the former Knicks Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton.
Anthony took offense at Denver Coach ’s recent not-too-subtle hints in Sports Illustrated that the Nuggets are better since his departure.
“I really think they kind of don’t want me to have success in New York, the way I look at it,” Anthony said at the shoot-around. “I try not to think about that. I’ve been in Denver seven and a half years. For me to move on was a hard thing to do. This is a business and I’ve cut my ties there.”
Mike D’Antoni started Shawne Williams over Jared Jeffries on Tuesday. Jeffries has struggled offensively in his return to the Knicks, but made two fields goals against Indiana.