The New York Knicks were happy to get Carmelo Anthony back from injury yesterday, and they were even more thrilled with what he did for them on the court. Anthony and Iman Shumpert each scored 27 points as the Knicks pulled off 105-101 road upset of the San Antonio Spurs. This was a shocking win for the woeful Knicks, who move to just 10-21 on the season. However, this could finally be the long awaited catalyst that gets the Knicks playing like the team most expected they would be.
Amazingly, the Knicks are just 3 games out of a playoff spot in the incredibly weak Eastern Conference, and just 5 games out of first in the pathetic Atlantic Division. They are finally getting healthy (Raymond Felton is the only big injury left) and now it is time for them to build on their big win over the Spurs. The Knicks face a tough next four games, but they are capable of getting wins. The Knicks also have an 8 game home stand that starts January 17th, so this is the month for them to finally put together a winning record and start to pull themselves into playoff contention.
Having Anthony back is obviously a huge boost to the offense, especially if Shumpert, Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire can provide him with support. Defensively, the Knicks are going to continue to expand Tyson Chandler’s minutes as he gets back into game shape, and the longer he can be on the court the better off the Knicks will be. The only piece missing from the puzzle is J.R. Smith, and if the Knicks can get anything productive out of him they will start to look like the team they were last season.
Of course, there have been a couple other wins this season that many thought would finally get the Knicks on track, and that just hasn’t materialized. This time may or may not be different, but the fact that they are nearly back to full strength gives the idea that a turnaround could be coming. The Knicks are starting to run out of time, and they need to play like they did against the Spurs in every game in order to save their season.