Time is running out on the Knicks and their playoff chances, and a task that was already difficult is going to be nearly impossible without Carmelo Anthony playing at full strength.
New York had put together a desperation run as of late, winning 12 of its last 15 games before dropping a close one at home to the Wizards on Friday. The loss put them technically only one game out of the eighth spot in the East, but they trail Atlanta now by two games in the loss column.
Losing to Washington on one of the game’s final possessions isn’t a crime, as the Wizards are firmly in the postseason picture themselves. But it was disturbing in that New York largely played great, getting huge games from J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire.
The problem was Anthony, who finished with just 10 points and nine turnovers, likely due to attempting to play through an injured right shoulder.
X-rays on Anthony’s shoulder were negative, and the Knicks expect him to play Sunday at Miami. …
Anthony said he first suffered the injury during the Knicks’ win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
“Today was just the lingering effect on it,” said Anthony, who shot 5 of 14 from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. “I just felt it just gave [out]. Throughout the course of the game, there was no strength in it — on the passes, causing turnovers, things like that. Hopefully, I’ll be all right.” …
“Well, I knew it was bothering him,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “But you know, we’ve got to have Melo on the floor. … But it was bothering him. I knew that. He has nine turnovers, that’s not Carmelo.”
And that’s the issue right there.
The Knicks have to have Anthony on the floor, and have no shot at winning the last five games of the season — all of which are against Eastern Conference playoff teams, with the next one Sunday in Miami — with him performing the way he did against the Wizards.
It feels like time has run out on the Knicks and their playoff chances. Anthony gutting out the remainder of the season at less than 100 percent would make it official.