From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP
NEW YORK KNICKS - "Stiffness..., Agitated..., I Definitely Felt It Out There." - Carmelo Anthony.
Game One of what will be a grueling five game western road swing was an horrific fail. But forget for a moment the Knicks twenty-nine point loss to the Golden State Warriors, in which they only shot 27% from the field; a season low; on a night in which they only scored sixty-three points; a season low; and that this was the first game of the post-post-Amare Stoudemire era, for now. The Nets cut the Knicks a break by losing to Philadelphia earlier in the night. So for another day, the Knicks 2 1/2 game Atlantic Division lead remains in tact. But, forget that.
This is about Coach Woodson and Carmelo Anthony. How hurt is Melo; how much is he letting on; or with-holding from...whoever? What was clearly evident late Monday night in Oakland, was Carmelo Anthony hobbled around the court like a compromised player. Otherwise, he was 4/15 from the floor. But this wasn't just a noticeably bad game by Melo. This was a bad decision by Coach Woodson. Carmelo even admitted in pre-game TV talk, his knee was not 100%, but stiff. This was Melo's first game back after three games off, and despite everything said, pulled down ten rebounds - more punishment on his knee. I feel Mike Woodson all of a sudden looks like a desperate coach. Not because he took Melo to task for spotty defense early in the game. That's good coaching. He looks desperate because of the way Melo looked and played. If you remember, Coach questionably kept Melo in a game when Melo asked out - then what happened? Monday night, Anthony didn't look good at all. After the game, Coach called blamed Melo's performance on rust. I just think Coach Woodson better be careful with his man. I'm merely saying what I'm hearing from both men is contradictory. It's getting harder to decipher an injury, from rust, from malingering, from imagination, from desperation.
To date, this has been a brilliant season by Knicks recent standards. But injuries, and the predicted toll age would play, are now all having their expected effects. You can't help but feel even a slight sense the Knicks are losing control settling in. Consider this team's fortunes now potentially rest with J.R. Smith who was ejected Monday for a Flagrant-Two, and Kenyon Martin, who is fresh out of his living room. Don't even give me Chris Copeland - not Monday night. After that, Tyson Chandler always comes correct. But will Carmelo Anthony's knee do the same?
Next up - Knicks visit the Mile High city to play the Nuggets, who like to run, run, and run some more. Melo and the Knicks get a day off first. We can all be sure, Melo will want to play, and play well, in front of the Denver crowd. They're familiar.