With the Knicks' season rapidly eroding into the East River, everybody is looking for answers. How did a once-promising campaign turn so bad, so quickly?
One horrifying turning point was the moment Carmelo Anthony twisted his ankle stepping on a referee during New York's Jan. 12 clash with the Boston Celtics. The Knicks went on the win the game, but Melo would miss five of the next 15 games, as the ankle injury seemed to trigger an issue in his surgically-repaired knee.
If you still think about that night, you're not alone. So does Melo. Per Steve Popper:
"It's something I actually sit back and reflect on at night when I'm just at home relaxing," Anthony said. "And just knowing kind of where I was at individually, coming off the surgery where I was at physically, I was actually on the upside of things, I was feeling very very good. My body was feeling good.
"Everything was feeling good. Mentally, emotionally, I was feeling good. Then that one incident happened and it kind of throws you off emotionally, throws you off physically, and you find yourself trying to fight and figure things out of what's going on."
Yeah. That hurts. That pre-injury first half against the Celtics was probably the best the Knicks had looked all season. They were blowing out the Celtics, on their way to their sixth win in their last eight games, and had drawn even with those miserable shamrock-humpers in the standings. Since then Boston has rocketed to the third seed and the Knicks have lost 12 of 15.
It was probably inevitable that Melo would start to feel some soreness and discomfort in his first season back from a knee debridement. Even the youngbloods need a full year for a complete return to health following a surgery like that, and Melo is no spring chicken. Still, that ankle injury was the first lower-body injury domino to fall, and the Knicks' best player hasn't found any consistency since that moment.
Personally, I blame the Celtics. They're pure green evil.