For Knicks in Game 5, Odds Are Long and Bench Is Short

If only they could recapture the feeling, perhaps the Knicks could summon a playoff miracle, beat the Miami Heat three more times and became the first N.B.A. team to come back from a 3-0 deficit.

If only they could unleash another dose of Linsanity when the series resumes Wednesday in Miami.

If only?

“I’m not counting on to play,” Coach Mike Woodson said Monday.

So there goes that premise.

Fantasies of Lin’s returning were stoked Sunday afternoon, when the Knicks avoided a sweep with over the Heat. Lin, who is recovering from knee surgery, had hinted he would play in the series if the Knicks survived long enough.

Having lost two guards to knee injuries — and — the Knicks have never been more desperate for Lin’s return and his talent for mystical moments.

But Lin has not received medical clearance from team doctors. He has yet to scrimmage five on five. He has played three on three a few times, but he has yet to take contact on consecutive days.

Most significant, Lin has not played since March 24 , a stretch of 44 days, which makes the casting of him as a savior seem slightly ludicrous.

“He’s not in great shape,” Woodson said during a conference call with reporters. “You know as well as I know that playoff basketball, you’ve got to be at an all-time high, and he hasn’t played in a while.”

The comeback would be that much tougher against the Heat, perhaps the N.B.A.’s fiercest defensive team. Miami held Lin to 1-for-11 shooting, with eight turnovers, on Feb. 23, his worst game as a starter.

“Jeremy’s a big piece of our team,” Woodson said. “But if the docs say, ‘Mike, we’re taking a chance, he shouldn’t be out there playing,’ I can’t be that selfish and say, ‘Son, put a uniform on and play.’ ”

So the Knicks will open Game 5 with Mike Bibby — who has never inspired clever puns or sparked a global frenzy and who turns 34 on Sunday — as their point guard. J. R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony will take on increased ball-handling duties whenever Bibby rests.

The injury to Davis’s right knee was worse than originally thought. Tests taken Monday revealed complete tears in the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments, as well as a partial tear of the patella tendon. He will have surgery this week. He is expected to be out for 12 months.

Davis, a 13-year veteran, will be a free agent this summer. If he decides to resume his career next year, when he will be 34, he will probably do it elsewhere.

Woodson said he spoke briefly with Davis after Sunday’s game, when the Knicks hoped he had only a dislocated kneecap.

“He was in great spirits,” Woodson said. “Baron’s a trouper, man. The one thing he did say: ‘Man, hey, I tried to give you all I could.’ And I have a great deal of respect for players that work for me and work for the organization and try to do the best they can to help us win ballgames.”

Before Lin emerged in February, the Knicks had viewed Davis as their best option at point guard. But he played only 29 games after a long recovery from a herniated disk and never came close to his former All-Star form.

The Knicks are down to four healthy guards, two of whom — Bibby and Toney Douglas — were out of the rotation for much of the season. Woodson will probably play Anthony, Smith and Landry Fields for longer stretches to compensate for the lack of depth. He sounded reluctant to use Douglas.

There was no such hesitation about Bibby, who has played in 104 postseason games, including 33 for Woodson, mostly in Atlanta. Bibby once guided the Sacramento Kings to the Western Conference finals, .

“He’s not as fast and crafty as he used to be, but he’s still capable in short minutes of running a basketball team,” Woodson said, adding, “He’s still capable of hitting the big shots.”

Bibby showed that knack again Sunday, making a 3-pointer with 1 minute 23 seconds left that gave the Knicks an 84-81 lead.

The Knicks were emboldened by Sunday’s victory, but their task remains daunting. Of the previous 101 teams to fall behind, 3-0, 91 lost in the fourth or fifth game. Only three forced a Game 7. The Knicks are 0-4 in Miami this season and lost the first two games there by a combined 43 points.

Even Lin, who came out of nowhere and captivated the world in February, might not have enough magic to defy those odds.

N.B.A. Playoffs — Knicks Lose Game 2 to Heat

Moments after the absorbed a 104-94 loss to the on Monday night, Stoudemire punched a fire-extinguisher case mounted in an arena corridor, slicing open the side of his hand. The extent of the injury was not immediately clear, and the team left for the airport without providing details, including how many stitches were required to close the cut. But Stoudemire seems likely to miss Game 3 of this series on Thursday. If Stoudemire is lost for any length of time, it will be a crushing blow to a team that has already dealt with too many of them. The Knicks trail the heavily favored Heat, 2-0; they are 0-5 against Miami this season.

“I’m not going to comment until I hear or see what’s going on,” Coach Mike Woodson said of Stoudemire’s injury. “How severe it is, I don’t know. That’s all I’m going to say. Let’s talk about the game.”

Stoudemire, with a sweatshirt hood pulled over his head and his left arm in a sling, walked out of American Airlines Arena about 10:45 p.m., more than an hour after the final buzzer. He did not stop to speak with reporters, who were turned back by a phalanx of security guards in a chaotic scene near the arena’s loading dock.

More than two hours after the game, Stoudemire : “I am so mad at myself right now, I want to apologize to the fans and my team, not proud of my actions, headed home for a new start.”

Knicks officials revealed little about the injury, other than to say it was a laceration. No X-rays or other tests were performed before the team left for the airport.

The Knicks kept the locker room closed for 35 minutes after the game, far beyond N.B.A. regulations, while medical personnel treated Stoudemire and his teammates dispersed. The players were mostly mum about the injury and the circumstances that led to it.

“I really don’t know what the situation is with that,” said, adding, “I can’t really answer any of those questions about what happened, what he did or anything like that.”

The 10-point loss in Game 2 followed a 33-point rout in Game 1 and left the Knicks deflated as they headed home for the next two games. Although the final score was closer Monday, the Knicks were never really in the game. They trailed by 15 points with less than a minute to play and were never closer than 9 points in the fourth quarter.

Miami has dealt the Knicks their first two-game losing streak since Woodson took over on March 14. The Knicks have lost 12 straight playoff games, dating to 2001, tying an N.B.A. record set by the Grizzlies.

Anthony had 30 points, but he was 12 for 26 from the field, including 6 for 15 after the first quarter. Stoudemire was solid, with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. But the Heat’s superstars again proved superior, as , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 65 points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds.

Under the circumstances, Stoudemire’s angry punch was understandable, though certainly regrettable.

“When you lose, nobody wants to lose,” Anthony said. “My thing is, as one of the leaders of this team, is try to keep everybody positive, try to keep everybody’s heads up, try to keep everybody confident.”

The Knicks have already lost Iman Shumpert, their defensive stopper, to a season-ending knee injury. He will have surgery Wednesday to repair tears to his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus. Losing Stoudemire would leave the frontcourt in shambles and rob the Knicks of their second-best scorer.

A year ago, the Knicks were swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics after injuries to Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups. They appear headed down a similar path.

“It’s far from over,” Anthony insisted. “I believe that, and we believe that, too.”

Anthony was held to 11 points in Game 1, mostly by an aggressive defense that fronted and double-teamed him. The Knicks found better ways to get him the ball Monday, with more room to operate, but he still struggled to score consistently or efficiently.

Yet they remain dangerously reliant on Anthony’s offense. His 26 shots were four fewer than the other four starters’ combined. The Knicks had only 15 assists, another indication of a stagnating offense. Worse, they had no clue how to slow James (19 points), Wade (25 points) or even Bosh (21 points).

Stoudemire got rolling early in the fourth quarter, scoring 6 points as the Knicks briefly rallied. But Anthony had consecutive turnovers and Mario Chalmers and Bosh made back-to-back 3-pointers as the Heat pushed their lead to 92-77.

Tyson Chandler, his fever gone and his health returning, played a stout 33 minutes, finishing with 13 points and 7 rebounds while putting some fire back into the Knicks’ interior defense. If it looked like momentary progress, it was all undone with a single punch.

“It’s tough,” Chandler said. “Your emotions run high. A split-second decision can obviously alter things, and you can’t fault anybody. Amar’e is a person that has high emotions at times, so one quick decision-making mistake, and now you’ve got to deal with the repercussions.”


Jeremy Lin participated in the morning shootaround, his first since he had knee surgery on April 2. The workout was limited to shooting and walking through halfcourt sets. Lin has yet to scrimmage or take contact, and he has ruled himself out of Thursday’s game. … Tyson Chandler said he felt like “a zombie” while playing through a fever in Game 1. He was called for four offensive fouls, including a flagrant foul for lunging into LeBron James’s back with his forearm. “I wasn’t trying to be dirty,” Chandler said.

Knicks’ Stoudemire to Miss Up to 4 Weeks; Lin Out

The Knicks said Wednesday they expect Stoudemire to miss about two to four weeks while getting treatment. They had previously said he was out indefinitely after an MRI revealed the injury on Monday.

Point guard Jeremy Lin also will miss their game against Orlando on Wednesday because of a sore left knee, but Carmelo Anthony said he will play despite a strained right groin.

Anthony was hurt during the Knicks’ 89-80 victory over Milwaukee on Monday, but returned to the game and finished with 28 points. The Knicks were listing him as questionable, but Anthony said: “I’ll be out there tonight.”

“I had a groin injury before, this is nowhere near the first time, where I had to sit out six, seven games,” he said, referring to an injury on Feb. 6. “I’m able to run around out there, I’m able to move, I’m able to cut and do a lot more stuff. So I’ll be out there, so that’s the most important thing.”

Stoudemire is returning from Miami, where he was given a second opinion on the injury. Both doctors agreed on non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation, which will include an epidural for pain relief.

That could allow Stoudemire to return before the regular season ends April 26.

“That’s always good news,” Anthony said. “I just want him to be healthy, that’s the most important thing for him. For us, we just want him to be healthy.”

The Knicks hold a two-game lead over Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and are only three games back of first-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. But they would seem to have little hope of playoff success without Stoudemire, who injured his back in Game 2 against Boston last year and the Knicks went down quickly in four games while he played in pain.

The injury kept Stoudemire off the court for much of the offseason and he struggled the first half of this season while playing above his normal weight after adding muscle in hopes of avoiding further injury. He had been close to his usual form lately, averaging 19.3 points in his last four games, leading the Knicks in scoring in all four.

JR Smith also missed the morning shootaround because of an illness. The Knicks are listing him as probable.