After drawing to one half game out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the New York Knicks have suddenly dropped two straight games, after Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Miami Heat. The Knicks are now two games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the coveted final playoff spot.
And while overcoming a two game deficit, with only four games to play, seems like a difficult task in itself, the Knicks will also have to overcome a pretty significant right shoulder injury to their best player, Carmelo Anthony.
During the game against the Heat, he said at times his arm felt dead. That’s usually not a good thing.
Melo also said he arm felt dead, more numbness than pain. #Knicks
— Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) April 6, 2014
That coming after a 4 for 17, 13 point performance in one of the Knicks’ more important games of their season.
And while numbness is probably better than pain, depending how you look at it, it’s still not a great thing to have to deal with when your team’s playoff lives fall on your (right) shoulder(s).
Perhaps the most troubling is the fact that this injury appears to be something that Anthony is going to have to figure out how to play through. Unfortunately, time is something he and the Knicks just don’t have.
“Coming into the game this morning, it felt all right. Throughout the course of the game, it felt like a dead arm at times,” Anthony said. “As the game went on, they tried to bang, physically, [and] I didn’t even have it. It felt weird for me because I am a physical guy. I try to fight back in the post and gain ground. As the game went on, it was something that I lost.”
“I had a wide open [3-pointer] and I almost shot an air ball,” he said, describing how the shoulder pain impacted him on the court. “From that point on, I was just trying to figure it out. It’s not pain, it’s just uncomfortable.”
“It’s bad timing, knowing our situation. I can’t be myself at this moment, that’s the frustrating part.”
You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize that the Knicks don’t have much margin for error. To put that statement into numbers:
An update on the #Knicks playoff "chances": if NY wins its last 4 games, they'd need the Hawks to go 2-4 in order to get in the postseason.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 7, 2014
The Knicks have four more games to save their season. They’ll also need some help from the Atlanta Hawks. However, no matter how you draw it up, their playoff hopes are definitely going to fall on Anthony’s shoulders. And right now, his right one just isn’t up for the heavy lifting.