At first it seemed a devastating blow, learning that Carmelo Anthony strained his groin and would not be returning to the game after just a few short moments in last night’s victory. But as the game progressed and the Knicks maintained their cushion primarily through superior pick and roll play, penetration, and floor spacing, it became apparent that maybe, just maybe, a protracted absence from Anthony may be a blessing in disguise.
With news that Carmelo is out 1-2 weeks, a potential silver lining is apparent. First and foremost, during his time off, Carmelo will not only recuperate his groin, but also his wrist. And his ankle. And his thumb. When he comes back hopefully these nagging impediments will be history and Anthony will return to the dynamic threat he’s been his whole career.
Secondarily, Anthony’s absence will place the primary ball handling and distribution responsibilities squarely on the shoulders of one Jeremy Lin, who has aptly demonstrated with Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries that he is capable of performing the simple staple of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense: the pick and roll. Look for the burgeoning chemistry between these players to continue and for the possible germination of chemistry between Lin and Stoudemire, who is well known to be a dominant finisher as the roll man.
If the Knicks can operate on all cylinders without Carmelo and then incorporate him into what is already working, the benefit of his absence will surely outweigh the harm.