Carmelo Anthony sat shirtless and wore ice packs on both knees late Saturday night as he surveyed the losing locker room inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. From his demeanor and posture right down to the accessories needed to heal his aching body, Anthony resembled Patrick Ewing more than ever after the Knicks’ season ended prematurely against the Indiana Pacers.

The look said it all: Another prime year lost, another bid for that elusive championship wasted.

“I mean, it’s a disappointment,” Anthony said.

From where Anthony sat, he watched a group of reporters surrounding Tyson Chandler and had to be wondering how on earth the All-Star center could have been so thoroughly dominated by Roy Hibbert. Several feet away, J.R. Smith dressed. Perhaps Anthony figured this was the last night he and his long-time friend would ever be teammates since Smith can become a free agent on July 1.

And then there was Amar’e Stoudemire, resplendent in a red sports jacket and fedora. Anthony likes and respects Stoudemire but also knows as well as anyone that as a tandem they’re not exactly setting the world on fire like Michael and Scottie or LeBron and Dwyane. Could he have been thinking, “Will this ever work?” as he stared at Stoudemire.

Since acquiring the two mega-stars, the Knicks have been to the playoffs three straight years, but they’ve only reached the second round once. The Knicks’ postseason record during the Melo-Amar’e era is 7-14.

“Overall, we had a helluva season,” Anthony said. “It’s a learning curve for us and we’ll be back better and stronger next year for sure.”

Anthony’s optimism is commendable even if it sounds like wishful thinking. He enjoyed perhaps his finest season, starting with a gold medal at the Olympics and culminating with 54 regular-season wins and a first-round series victory. He also placed third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

But in an elimination game in which Anthony scored 39 points and carried the Knicks for much of Game 6, his three turnovers late in the fourth quarter doomed his team and only added fodder for the anti-Melo crowd that for years has been beating the drums that Anthony is not wired to lead a team to a title.

What is clear is that like Durant, who couldn’t carry Oklahoma City once Russell Westbrook suffered a season-ending knee injury, Anthony needs a bona fide second star. He forced his way out of Denver because he thought he’d find one in New York, but that hasn’t been the case. Amar’e is broken down, Chandler isn’t good enough and Smith is far too erratic.