Harris DeckerThe losing is now spreading like an epidemic. With the Knicks currently in the midst of another bad losing streak, they are trying to compete with a deck of cards that is only half full. While the strength of their team in years past has been the bench, this year it is letting them down on an epic scale.
Despite his off the court issues this year, J.R. Smith has been good off the bench of late. In each of his last 5 games, Smith has scored 10 or more points while shooting for a very high percentage. The rest of the bench has been extremely inconsistent. Tim Hardaway Jr. has had some great games and some real duds and Amare Stoudemire has looked great when he’s been healthy.
Health is what has let the Knicks bench down. During last nights game against the 76ers, Cole Aldrich, Beno Udrih, Kenyon Martin, Amare Stoudemire, Metta World Peace and Toure Murry all sat out for various reasons while Jeremy Tyler saw very limited action off the bench.
Teams don’t always use their entire bench. For instance, the 76ers only used 5 guys off their bench on Wednesday while the Knicks used 4. But the options are what’s missing for Mike Woodson. He simply doesn’t have the bodies available to matchup with teams during grueling NBA games.
What that means is that Carmelo Anthony is seeing a huge minutes load. He continues to lead the league in minutes per game, tallying another 40+ last night. In the long run, we know that this is going to take a toll on Anthony.
You can’t blame a 15-27 on health. There are so many factors involved in the Knicks horrendous season. When the team has been healthy, they’ve had their moments. Stoudemire was great off the bench and even Toure Murry was starting to come around. Now the Knicks are back to square one, playing with half a roster and up against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Heat in the next few weeks.