Anthony injury another blow to Knicks’ slim playoff chances

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: Bradley Beal and the Wizards defeat the Knicks, 90-89.

NEW YORK – The New York Knicks’ playoff chances took three hits Friday night.

Blow No. 1: The Atlanta Hawks crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers, tying New York with 33 wins.

Blow No. 2: The Knicks lost a nail-biter to the Washington Wizards to fall two games behind the Hawks in the loss column. (Atlanta would have the tie-breaker.)

Blow No. 3: Carmelo Anthony suffered a right shoulder strain that will likely affect him in the team’s final five games.

Anthony said that he actually hurt the shoulder in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn, but the effects were clear on Friday, when he scored just 10 points and turned the ball over nine times, a total that doesn’t include a fumble on the last possession of the game, because J.R. Smith recovered the ball and missed the game-winner.

Prior to the game, Knicks coach Mike Woodson lauded Anthony for his consistency this season.

“He’s been there every night,” Woodson said. “I don’t think anybody can point the finger at Melo for anything. Everybody’s starting to come together, but Melo has been there from Day 1. His numbers have indicated that.”

Then Anthony played his worst game of the season. At one point, he was forced to call timeout because his shoulder “gave out.”

Anthony isn’t going to miss any time (x-rays were negative), but the Knicks have to worry about his effectiveness for their final five games, during which his streak of making the playoffs every season of his career will be on the line.

If the Hawks beat the teams behind them in the standings (Detroit, Boston and Milwaukee) and lose to the teams ahead of them (Indiana, Brooklyn, Miami and Charlotte), they will finish 36-46, and the Knicks would need to finish 37-45 to make the playoffs.

That would require a 4-1 record against the Heat, Raptors (twice), Bulls and Nets. New York has won 12 of its last 16 games, but is currently 4-7 against that group.

There are two small reasons for optimism. First, after their trip to Miami, the Knicks have four days off (an opportunity for Anthony to heal) before visiting Toronto on Friday. Second, their 24th-ranked defense might have finally come around, having allowed just 96.5 points per 100 possessions over their last four games.

Improved D gives the Knicks a fighting chance in these last five games, even if Anthony isn’t at full strength. It certainly gave them an opportunity to win Friday’s game despite his poor performance.

Alas, that one got away. And now the Knicks are in a real tough spot.

13 Comments

  1. luckyfri says:

    melo out- knicks in or melo in-knicks out. up to now this KID is a waste o talent. in my opinion melo needs a dsominant teammate or coach to make him play like a pro. tibotheau, lebron, about 5 guys in the league.
    the reason why guys like jimmy butler make 18 every 10th game is because the play vs melo or nick young

  2. Luke says:

    melo aint leaving. Phil midas jackson has come to town.

  3. MELO4LIFE says:

    GO TO THE BULLS MELO!

  4. Rob says:

    Even if the Knicks were completely healthy it would be tough to make the playoffs given the games they have left and the conference standings.

  5. patrick melofan says:

    I am big melo fan and if the shoulder hurts let it heal bro! Everybody who cares would rather see you better next year than push it and get hurt in these last 5 games. besides, ny might still get in so they need a healthy melo monster!!! ;) lol

    get better feel great gods bless!!!!!!

  6. Eaham says:

    rather see Melo and knikcs in the playoff than atlanta lol

  7. I am Da Law says:

    Why risk the chance of making his shoulder worst? Even if the Knicks make they playoff on the 8th seed, they’ll face Miami on the first round (if not, then Indiana). So what are the chances that the Knicks is going to advance to the second round? 0.00%

    Give it up and rest up.

  8. qhjeremy says:

    melo, go to rocket.

  9. qhjeremy says:

    go rocket~

  10. Jacques Durceille says:

    Carmelo needs to leave the Knicks. A sinking Franchise. Stick a fork in it and walk away.

  11. some dude says:

    I say it will come down to the last game – April 16 against the raptors…

    In other words, the Knicks have no chance :)

  12. okc2014 says:

    Wow. The Knicks can’t sink any lower. I guess thinga are looking up for the (limping) Hawks and not so good news for the Knicks. They weren’t expected to make playoffs anyway. This gives more fuel to Carmello Anthony’s fire to be outta there. Best wishes to him.

  13. dustydreamnz says:

    Cleveland can still make it.