The New York Knicks suffered their second demoralizing loss to the Nuggets in the Pepsi arena last night. They were demolished 117-94. What was even more important than the score of that game was the damage that their star players suffered.
With Amar’e Stoudamire already out for six weeks, the Knicks can ill afford to lose anymore players. Tyson Chandler suffered a knee contusion last night on a freak collision with Corey Brewer and Carmelo Anthony’s knee soreness flared up once again. Chandler seems to be a day-to-day decsion for the Knicks, while Anthony’s condition is more up in the air.
While you never want to see injuries in basketball, the show must go on if these key players do end up missing time. The Atlantic division is still up for grabs and can still be taken by the Brooklyn Nets or the Boston Celtics. Both of those teams are within an arms length of the Knicks’ division lead that they’ve held all season long.
With the Chicago Bulls seemingly in limbo right now seeding may not make too much of a difference. The Celtics could possibly jump the Bulls and the Nets would end up facing them anyway. The Nets match up well against Boston because of their size. If they can control the pace through Deron Williams and keep the game slow, Boston should be an easy first round team for them to take care of.
Boston should try their best to win the division lead because that would give them homecourt advantage. Every team should want that, but Boston should even more than ever. They’re a historically great homecourt playoff team and this regular season hasn’t been any different. Boston is 23-9 at home this year. Its difficult for anyone to beat them in the TD Garden.
Boston moving up to third or fourth would mean that Brooklyn and New York would likely have to move down. New York would have the sixth spot and Brooklyn would either be fourth or fifth. They’d still end up playing the Bulls in the playoffs if they stay fourth or fifth, which isn’t what they want.
The Bulls dominated the Nets this season in their only matchup. The Nets just couldn’t score points on them at all. They both play at a slow pace, but if you’re the Bulls I think that goes to your advantage. They have one of the league’s best defenses, and allowing that defense to get set up isn’t very smart for the Nets.
With Chandler still playing, the Knicks could still have a chance to be good. But I still worry about the health of the team as a whole going forward. They’ve suffered multiple injuires to their team all season long. The injuries range from Raymond Felton to Jason Kidd to Carmelo Anthony and now Tyson Chandler. They’re an old basketball team and its starting to show.
They’re going to have to monitor their players minutes if they want to have a shot in the postseason. They don’t really have a chance of catching the Heat, but they are still only a half game behind the Indiana Pacers in the two seed. The Atlanta Hawks are 7th right now in the East and the Knicks can match up well with them.
Competing for that 2nd seed is the main priority right now, but they’re in a very unfortunate place either way. They’ll be risking the health of some of their key players. Resting them may be a decision that needs to be made.
Either way, this division is once again up for grabs. Let the chips fall where they may.