In one of the most up & down seasons we’ve seen from the New York Knicks in recent years, the playoffs are still something they can reach but it’s not up to the them, as the 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors keeps them in the race, but with their destiny in someone else’s hands.
Anthony scored 30 points as the Knicks won on the road against a team with a much better record than them, as if to show that this year could have been a lot more happier for them and with talk about maybe challenging the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for the top of the conference, as delusional as that sounds. The Knicks’ record over the last month or so certainly shows that, but the season is more than just one good month of basketball.
Amare Stoudemire, yes, Amare Stoudemire, played 40 minutes of basketball. Whether or not the Knicks were too careful with him throughout the season might be asked when the season is over. Right now, even though the Hawks are winning their games (someone mentioned the Nets not doing all they could to prevent the Knicks from not making the playoffs), the Knicks are simply desperate to win everything they have, and that means using Stoudemire like he’s the All-NBA player from a few years ago.
Stoudemire finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds on 10-of-14 from the field. J.R. Smith hit three times from beyond the arc while Iman Shumpert surprised and scored 11 points off the bench, with the Knicks creating most of their separation, in the fourth quarter, putting them at 34-45 this season, two games behind the Atlanta Hawks at 36-43. The Knicks need to win out their remaining games, and for the Hawks to start slipping next week and not stop.
Does deserve factor in? The Knicks have played bad basketball throughout this season. They’re playing not so great basketball right now. The big difference all season long between their winning and losing streaks happened to be the effort and focus, not anything special from Mike Woodson when it comes to X’s and O’s. Those seeds have been planted a long time ago, and they were mostly wasted by players who felt like doing the right and simple things on both ends of the floor simply wasn’t for them.
The future might not be as bright as some may think for the Knicks. Paying Phil Jackson an enormous amount of money doesn’t change the situation with the salary cap. Talking about John Calipari, who wasn’t very successful on his first go at NBA coaching, doesn’t make them title contenders all of a sudden. Carmelo Anthony is probably going to waste what remains of his prime being a number one player on a team that’s going nowhere. But making the playoffs will help everyone feel good about that.