The biggest danger to Amar'e Stoudemire in New York isn't if the Knicks lose to the Miami Heat, who they trail 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, but if the Knicks rally to make this series close. There is already a perception that Stoudemire and Anthony cannot exist together, one built on a very small number of games, spaced out over the past two seasons, and largely without the benefit of a point guard.
If Saturday's Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat was demoralizing for the Knicks because of just how poorly they played, Monday night's 104-94 defeat in Game 2 will have upset them for precisely the opposite reason: they lost despite quite a lot going right.
Over a period of nearly two years, the New York Knicks demolished their roster, forgoing any real competitiveness from 2008-2010 in the hope that LeBron James would choose to sign with them and return them to relevance.
That didn't work out, at all.
Sunday afternoon's 113-112 victory over the Atlanta Hawks did more than keep the New York Knicks mathematically alive for a six seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It provided additional evidence of some basic truths about this team, with just days left in the regular season.
Foremost among these is the reality that having both Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in the lineup is, contrary to concerns about how the two might work together, a good thing. The threat of two healthy, elite scorers on the floor at the same time presents the kind of problems for an opposing defense that just one, even if it is Anthony playing the best basketball of his career, simply cannot.
Carmelo Anthony explodes against Orlando, as Woodson's banged-up Knicks continue their confounding run
The New York Knicks entered Wednesday night's game against the Orlando Magic knowing that they'd be without power forward Amar'e Stoudemire and point guard Jeremy Lin. They'd have a hobbled Carmelo Anthony playing through a groin injury.
Mike Woodson had only been coach of the New York Knicks for exactly five games. But the team that couldn’t win in the waning days of his predecessor, Mike D’Antoni, suddenly couldn’t lose.
Whatever happens to the the New York Knicks over the remainder of their season will have everything to do with what happened Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
There was the result itself, an 89-80 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, that helped secure New York's playoff position, at least for now.
The Knicks enter Monday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks just 1.5 games in front of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot.
That's not a big lead. The Bucks have been playing well lately, and have an easier remaining schedule than the Knicks. So a little breathing room would come in extremely handy.
The New York Knicks exited this past weekend in roughly the identical place in the playoff race that they entered it.
Mike Woodson's Knicks beat the Sixers at their own game and creep, incredibly, toward the top of the division
New York managed to both beat Philadelphia at its own defensive-oriented game, and followed an fourth-quarter road map that they used to defeat Indiana this weekend as well-stifling defense and a heaping dose of Jeremy Lin.(1)
Rumors of Jeremy Lin's demise following the firing of coach Mike D'Antoni this week were, well, wrong. On Saturday night, he scored 19 points, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out six assists in New York's 102-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers.(5)
In a shocking development in a New York Knicks season with no shortage of them already, Mike D'Antoni is out as coach for the team, effective immediately.
The way it went down has varied from resigned to mutual decision, but the real result of the move is clear: Carmelo Anthony didn't believe he fit in Mike D'Antoni's system, D'Antoni agreed, and the Knicks chose Anthony over D'Antoni.
With just over a day left until the N.B.A.'s trade deadline, it would seem to be time for the New York Knicks to make another deal.
They have lost eight of ten, and are currently tied with Milwaukee for the final playoff spot. Missing the playoffs, given the current roster and the highs experienced during Linsanity, would be a public-relations catastrophe and would likely cost coach Mike D'Antoni his job. Already, the long knives are out, with Carmelo Anthony in particular said to be looking for a way out.
Under other circumstances, New York's 104-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls on the road Monday night would be considered perfectly acceptable, or even mildly encouraging. The Knicks forced league M.V.P. Derrick Rose to take 29 shots to get his 32 points. They held Chicago to 43-percent shooting, blocked 13 of their shots, and took a team that has lost three games at home all season down to the final minute.
It is officially time for the New York Knicks to panic.
This isn't because of any broad conclusions about Carmelo Anthony, or Amar'e Stoudemire or how the two of them play together, or because of any premature jitters about Jeremy Lin's ability to be a starting N.B.A. point guard. And it certainly has nothing to do with tweets sent out by J.R. Smith.(1)