The Knicks are 3-5 in their last eight games, including demoralizing losses to Sacramento and Portland, a couple of Western Conference teams you’d really like to see them beat. But even more worrying, aside from what was really just a remarkable start, the Knicks have played a little iffy for a while now, particularly on defense where they’ve been leaking oil for a few weeks. Naturally, it’s becoming an increasing cause for concern, and Will Leitch over at NY Mag wonders if perhaps it’s time to sound the alarm:
Amar’e didn’t give the Knicks much. He looked extremely rusty on offense, which is understandable, and sedentary on defense, which we should be used to by now. It’s fun to see him back, but the Knicks have issues to resolve right now that have nothing to do with Amar’e. The Knicks won enough games early in the year to absorb some rough losses like this. But only some. The Spurs, one of the smoothest, most efficient offenses on Earth, visit the Garden tomorrow night. That might get real ugly. The Knicks are 21–10 right now, still a terrific record, still in good shape. But this Knicks team, right now, is not that Knicks team. And it hasn’t been for a while.
The issue last night had little to do with Amar’e, as the Knicks problems against Portland were the same ones they’d been experiencing before Stoudemire wandered onto the court, mainly handling guys on the perimeter. I’m a little less nervous than most, perhaps only because the NBA is a long season and these kinds of lulls just seem par for the course. But if there’s a larger concern I have it’s that the Knicks can’t seem to catch a break on the injury front. For whatever reason, whether it age or bad luck, New York’s been unable to get everyone healthy at the same time. Obviously, STAT and Shump have missed most of the year, while Carmelo’s battled a bunch of bumps and bruises and now Felton is lost for a month, which isn’t to mention the struggles of Wallace and Camby to stay on the floor.
When you consider that every return from injury requires a new adjustment period while the formerly banged up player re-integrates himself into the team, it’s starting to feel like one of those years where things just don’t quite come together, which would really be a shame. I certainly wouldn’t quite qualify this as panic time, but I’m definitely getting a little antsy that despite what looks like considerable depth on the roster, we may never get to really take advantage of it.