During the third quarter of Sunday night’s 103-98 win over the Orlando Magic, Carmelo Anthony left the game with a sprained ankle. Melo scored 19 points (on seven-of-14 shooting), three rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes.
“It’s on,” Melo said to the New York Daily News after the game. “I still have it. It ain’t going nowhere, so I’ll be there.”
Sprained ankles can be notorious injuries for players to make a quick return from, but Melo wants to play.
“Hopefully, I’ll be there….It’s Christmas in the Garden. I don’t want to miss that game. I don’t know, I’m hard-headed sometimes when it comes to that. But I’ve got two days.”
Head coach Mike Woodson, who has been on the hot seat with the team struggling, admitted his star is no prima donna when it comes to injuries.
“Melo’s a tough kid. He don’t sit down very often,” Mike Woodson said to the NY Daily News after the game.
Raymond Felton also went down with a groin injury in the fourth quarter. He scored 13 points (on four-of-11 shooting), dished out four assists and grabbed two rebounds in 25 minutes. It was Felton’s first game back after missing six games with a hip injury.
Beno Udrih made six consecutive free throws in the closing 26 seconds to preserve a win they nearly gave away after leading by as many as 25 points.
JR Smith led the Knicks with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists and after a slow start this season, he has been playing well as of late. He’s averaging 17.8 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 5.8 assists per game in the last four games.
It brings up an interesting dilemma: If Melo were to miss a few weeks, could the team withstand his loss with the other players capable of putting the ball in the basket? That’s where the old adage, “next man up” comes into play. No one player will replace his 26.3ppg, but they have players who have no problem shooting and scoring. Losing Melo hurts but the team has volume scorers in Andrea Bargnani (14.3ppg this season and 15.1ppg for his career) and Smith (he averaged 18.1ppg and won the sixth man of the year award).
The Knicks recently welcomed the return of Tyson Chandler (10 points and 13 rebounds against the Magic) and he gives them a defender they need in the low post. Chandler’s return should help fortify a defense that has allowed 97.5ppg this season.
So, if they can get Smith to return to his sixth man of the year caliber of play and Bargs to stretch the opposing defense as a 3-point shooting power forward maybe the Knicks can tread water until Melo returns.
Tiny URL for this post: