Luckily for the the Knicks, they’ve been on a kind of spring break—a vacation, a hiatus, a suspension of work or activity this week—much like some of the quarters of games that they’ve taken off, been out–scored or not played well, causing them to lose games.
For example, they couldn’t fully take advantage of Miami not having Dwyane Wade in their lineup this past Sunday—Wade out due to a hamstring—and LeBron James’ four early turnovers and lethargic start. They nearly matched the Heat in point totals in every quarter except for the third, being out-scored 25-14.
Carmelo Anthony’s shoulder injury could be attributed to his lower than usual output, and J.R. Smith’s recent record-setting 3-pointer heroics haven’t been enough to help the Knicks pull out wins in their last two games.
It’s essential that the Knicks benefit from this week’s rest because they’ll need their strength and every available man tomorrow night when they travel up north to face Toronto, seeded No. 3 in the playoffs, and to host the Chicago Bulls, seeded No. 4, on Palm Sunday two nights later.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Knicks, who will cross the bridge to play the No. 5-seeded Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, and play Toronto again the next night at the Garden in their final regular season game. They’ll need to win three out of their four remaining games—or hope for three losses by Atlanta—to even be considered for the postseason, which begins in two weeks.
If you think about it, maybe there should be a hold, a wait on presenting any palms—a symbol of triumph and victory during the Roman Empire related to the goddess Nike (Nike, the sneaker company, a goddess? Who knew?) and the mythology of the goddess of victory—to these New York Knicks, because they’ll also need the goddess of luck and 16 exceptional quarters of basketball play and a complete implosion by the Atlanta Hawks to secure the eighth and final seed in this upcoming Eastern Conference series.