Since star players Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire both went down with injuries, the New York Knicks have understandably struggled. Without Anthony and Stoudemire, the Knicks were left to rely on J.R. Smith and a heavy dosage of jump shots to keep games close. Luckily for New York, Anthony’s return Wednesday bight against the Orlando Magic came just in the nick of time (no pun intended).
Anthony came back to put up 21 points and eight rebounds to help the Knicks win for only their second time in six games, but the bigger impact was Anthony’s mere presence on the court. The Knicks have the NBA‘s oldest collective roster that doesn’t have much balance if any, leaving Anthony to take on much of the scoring responsibility.
New York isn’t as imposing defensively as they were earlier in the season, so Anthony’s scoring is needed down the stretch more than ever as the Knicks try to hold on to first place in the Atlantic Division and the third seed in the Eastern Conference standings, although that would set them up for a first round match up with the always tough Chicago Bulls.
With Stoudemire out for few more weeks and Knicks head coach Mike Woodson’s offense lacking much creativity, Anthony will need to carry the Knicks into the playoffs. Without Anthony on the floor the Knicks go from a top four team in the East to mediocre at best, so New York will need all the buckets they can get from Anthony over the next three weeks.