It is unrealistic to expect that any NBA team to consistently win when they lose three starters. However, you can still expect them to compete and play hard. That wasn’t the case for New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and his band of merry men during their recent West Coast swing.
The Knicks lost the first four games of this road trip, before defeating the Utah Jazz in the final game before returning home. But they lost more than that. Three of their best players, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, all went down with various knee injuries. We think Melo and Chandler should return shortly, but based on previous diagnoses, I do not put too much faith in the Knicks’ medical report releases. They say someone is day-to-day, then the next thing you know, they are out for the season.
Stoudemire scored 22 points off the bench one night and the next thing you know he is having surgery on his good knee to remove scar tissue. Some feel that not only is his season is over, but his career might be over as well. Anthony did not look as if he should have been allowed to play on this trip. He looked horrible in the first two games playing on one leg. We were told that he has fluid in his knee. Then Chandler bumped knees with another player in Denver, the third game, and hasn’t been seen since.
The Knicks also lost their cushion separating them from the Brooklyn Nets, leading them by only one game at press time. The Nets embarked on an eight-game road trip that began Monday. Hopefully for their fans, the Knicks can regain some of the lead they lost during their road trip.
I was hoping that the Knicks would have won two of the five games, even with the injuries, but the way they collapsed in the second quarters of the Golden State and Denver games was disturbing. Without Melo, scoring could have been an issue but defense should not have been.
The Knicks were outscored by an average of 22 points in the first four games. Once again, opposing point guards were having their way with Raymond Felton. Even with Chandler, players were driving down the lane as if it were the FDR Drive during non rush hour.
I expected Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Marcus Camby to spend time on the disabled list, but not Melo and Chandler.
Let’s hope that the Knicks first get healthy with the return of Anthony and Chandler. Without them in the lineup, everything else is a moot point. The Knicks still have a chance to reverse the course of this season, but they must get healthy first.