PHILADELPHIA — Carmelo Anthony missed the shot and Derrick Rose took the blame.
Another last-possession loss — and the Knicks probably won’t recover from this one.
With the Knicks trailing by one, Anthony ended a disjointed night by missing a left-of-the-lane 14-foot fadeaway over a 76ers double-team with three seconds left as Philadelphia hung on, 105-102, Friday at Wells Fargo Center.
Anthony, who beat the Sixers one week ago with a last-second shot, finished the night with 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting, but didn’t want any part of the responsibility. In fact, Anthony may have shifted it to the coaching staff.
“We play the same way throughout the course of the game,’’ Anthony said. “When teams make adjustments, we’re still playing the same way as teams make adjustments defensively.’’
Anthony had plenty of help in the stinker department and Rose came forward to actually accept responsibility as the Knicks fell 4 ½ games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with 20 games to play and the Warriors up next on Sunday.
Rose finished with 20 points, but had three turnovers and a bad finish. He embarrassingly missed the entire rim on a wide-open layup attempt with 48.2 seconds left — a bizarre play, to say the least. Then he committed a turnover on a drive with 18 seconds left after he was stripped by T.J. McConnell and a video review ruled it Sixers ball.
“I missed a wide-open layup,’’ said Rose, who couldn’t explain if the ball slipped. “I think that’s why we lost tonight. I put this game on myself. I missed a layup. I just missed it. No excuses. I can take the blame. I’m used to having the ball in those type of possessions.”
There was one last hope after two Sixers free throws, but Courtney Lee’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the right of the rim with a chance to send the game to overtime.
“Time is running out, the season is running out, no margin for error,’’ Lee said. “This is a game we got to win.”
Long shots even to stay in the playoff race, the Knicks fell to 25-37 and probably have to go 15-5 over their final 20 games to overtake the four teams ahead of them. They will regret all summer the two final-second defeats in this building and the 10 games they have lost on final possessions since mid-December.
“We don’t have any room to spare,’’ Hornacek said.
“This hurts,’’ Anthony said. “To lose this game, knowing we had this game in our hands — a game we should’ve won.’’
The Knicks lost an early 11-point lead and fell behind by 10 points at halftime. They have failed to win back-to-back games since before Christmas.
Anthony even failed to win the matchup against the obscure Justin Anderson, who hounded him all night as the two went face-to-face, jawing in the third quarter when the pair drew a double technical.
Anderson hit the go-ahead basket in the lane with 24.3 seconds left to finish with 19 points off the bench and got in on the double-team at the finish to secure the win.
It appeared as if three Sixers moved toward Anthony when he received a pass from Rose, but Anthony was laser-focused on the shot attempt and not on his open teammates.
“I just got into my move quick,’’ Anthony said. “I saw them coming over. I was already in rhythm to take that shot. It rattled in and out. That was the flow of the game with me tonight. A lot of shots were short or in and out.’’
After getting fouled hard, Anthony and Anderson went nose-to-nose in the third. But afterward, Anthony gave Anderson his due respect.
“He was feeling good today,’’ Anthony said. “I like that, got to respect that. Rather someone do that and show fight.”
Replays showed Anthony mouthed, “Don’t be that guy,’’ during their verbal spat.
“I like him,’’ Anthony said. “I don’t want him to be the guy I don’t like.’’
Before the game, Anthony talked about his hatred for tanking for a lottery seed.
“It’s a terrible way to think,’’ Anthony said. “No player in any sports should be thinking about that.’’
But like it or not, the Knicks are getting close to that point.