Not with Carmelo Anthony putting the team on his back the way he did Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Facing a Chicago Bulls team energized by the return of MVP Derrick Rose, Anthony produced his best game of the season with a 43-point explosion. His three-pointer late in regulation completed a late Knicks rally to force overtime and another trey with 8.2 seconds left in the extra period sealed a 100-99 victory.
It was Anthony’s biggest scoring output since he joined the team last February, and kept New York tied for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
“This was a playoff game,” Anthony said. “We have a chance, we might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing and get that seed, so this was a big statement for us and we willed this one tonight.”
Anthony’s will has provided the spark for the short-handed Knicks who have played without Stoudemire (bulging disc) and point guard Jeremy Lin (knee surgery) for the last two weeks. During that seven-game span, Anthony is averaging 30 points, while New York has won five games, including a 3-0 mark against teams above them in the standings.
But with Stoudemire and Lin both potentially done for the year, how long can Anthony keep it up? The Knicks head to Chicago for a quick rematch on Tuesday night and then to Milwaukee on Wednesday to face a Bucks team currently just one game behind New York and Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Do Anthony and the Knicks have enough firepower to reach the postseason? And if they do, how far will it take them?