Anthony pulled up lame in the first quarter of the game, suffering a strained right groin while simply running up the court, and will be out one to two weeks. Earlier in the day, Stoudemire’s older brother, Hazell, was killed in a car accident in Lake Wales, Fla. Neither is expected to be on the floor when the Washington Wizards host the Knicks on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
The inability of those two stars to meld their games and produce wins, in addition to deficient point guard play, has contributed to a situation in which the star-studded Knicks (10-15) wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today. To this point, they have served as a cautionary tale for superstar unions, which have been popular since the Boston Celtics threw three perennial all-stars together and won a championship in one year.
“We do have some issues we have to work out and the point guard is one of the issues,” Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We struggled and it hasn’t been pretty up to now. But if we can solve some of those problems and get lucky, we’ll be okay.”
Elite talent is necessary to become a championship-caliber team, but chemistry is just as, if not more, important. When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for all-star Pau Gasol, he immediately clicked with former league most valuable player Kobe Bryant and the team made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, winning titles 2009 and 2010. The Clippers have quickly ascended to the top of the Pacific Division since acquiring all-star point guard Chris Paul to throw lobs to all-star forward Blake Griffin.
“There’s a lot of reasons,” Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said, when asked why his team was able to win its first season with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and former MVP Kevin Garnett. “I think in our case I thought we had the right group of guys, sold the right package to them as far as playing together and they bought into it. I don’t think it gets much deeper than that. I think we had the right fit of guys and the timing was good for them.”
When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to join forces in Miami in the summer of 2010, they knew that they would have to adjust their games and roles in order for it to work. The Heat stumbled to a 9-8 start last season, regrouped and advanced to the NBA Finals, but Bosh said it was impossible to know for certain that it would work.