The Knicks Snap 11 Year Playoffs Losing Streak, But Lose Baron Davis--Will Lin Return?
Okay, okay, we've been harsh on Amare, he deserves kudos for playing hurt on Sunday and helping his team to victory
Well, whatdoyaknow, the Knicks won game 4 on Sunday! The record-setting 13 game losing streak in the playoffs has been snapped!
Sunday's showcase was, in every way, the series many fans and basketball analyst had wanted/predicted/hoped to see. We finally got to see that Carmelo Anthony/LeBron James shootout everyone's been waiting for (These two go way back. They were rivals in high school and headlined the 2003 draft, when some thought Anthony should go #1 over James), as they traded buckets down the stretch in front of a rocking Madison Square Garden crowd.
Despite Anthony's great performance--41 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists--"hero of the game" should go to Amare Stoudemire, who actually played despite slicing open his hand just five days ago (here's a picture, taken by Stoudemire himself, of the stitched-up hand. It doesn't look pretty). The media, including, um, us, have been particularly harsh on Stoudemire over the self-inflicted wound, but he gave a gutty performance today, setting the tone early with aggressive play despite obvious pain, finishing with 20 and 10.
Now, chances of the Knicks winning this series is still pretty much slim to none (no team, in the history of the NBA, has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit), but this win was much needed, not only to break that embarrassing losing streak, but to regain a bit of pride, and to provide fans of New York basketball a glimmer of hope for next season.
It wasn't all dandy though. Knicks point guard Baron Davis suffered a gruesome freak knee injury, dislocating his kneecap in the 3rd quarter. For those counting at home, that's the third Knicks guard, after Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert, to suffer a devastating knee injury this season. In fact, Davis marks the third serious knee injury to a New York athlete in the past week alone (Shumpert blew out his knee last Sunday, and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera tore his ACL three days ago).
Davis' dislocated knee looked bad, and given his age and injury-ridden body, yesterday's game may have been his last.
The Knicks now have only one point guard on the roster, the aging Mike Bibby. He actually played solid yesterday after Davis went down, but given his below-average production the past couple of years, we must assume that is an aberration. Even if Bibby is solid again, he can't possibly play point guard all of Wednesday's game...unless...
A Jeremy Lin return?
He said his knee was ahead of schedule and he'd aim to return toward the latter of the series. The series is into its fifth game now. His teammates sound optimistic too. Landry Fields said Lin "seems to be moving very well [in workouts]", and Steve Novak said he thinks Lin could come back.
It's worth mentioning that 39-year-old Grant Hill--who's ancient by NBA standards--suffered the same injury as Lin and returned to the court within three weeks. Lin's already been out five.
In the end, whether Lin returns or not probably won't matter. Look, Miami is still going to win this series. But we got our first playoff win in 11 years yesterday, avoided the indignity of being swept by our hated rivals, and most importantly, we had something to cheer for. If only for one day. And for that, we thank you, Carmelo, Amare, and you too, Baron.