In a fitting moment for this Knicks season, Amar'e Stoudemire injured his left hand in a one-sided fight with a fire extinguisher on Monday night and seemingly extinguished any chance that the team had of advancing to the second round.
Stoudemire punched the defenseless fire extinguisher after the Knicks dropped Game 2 to the Miami Heat, 104-94. He was seen leaving American Airlines Arena with a sling on his left arm and the Knicks have confirmed that he cut his non-shooting hand, but it's unknown how many stitches he needed to close the cut or just how serious the injury is.
After the game, Stoudemire tweeted, 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.
It was the type of selfish act that New York sports fans have become accustomed to -- who can forget former Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown breaking his hand on a wall? -- but one that few will accept. Stoudemire might have punched that fire extinguisher case out of frustration from the loss in which the Heat controlled the game from the get-go; or perhaps it was borne out of finally being sick and tired of playing second fiddle to Carmelo Anthony.
Whatever it was that pushed Stoudemire to finally lose it is what will ultimately doom the Knicks in both this series and in the future. The Knicks have been completely outmatched in their series against the Heat and the loss of defensive stalwart Iman Shumpert essentially sealed their fate in the playoffs.
Some will argue that losing Stoudemire for Game 3 or more could actually benefit the Knicks against the Heat, but he at least represents the possibility of being a second scoring threat, especially with the pick-and-roll.
He's one of the keys on the team, Anthony told reporters. I need him fighting with me.
The biggest issue might be that anyone is even willing to make the argument that the Knicks would be better off in the playoffs without their second-highest paid player. Stoudemire is a shell of the high-flying, pick-and-roll dominating player that the Knicks thought they signed in the summer of 2010.
He gave the Knicks and former coach Mike D'Antoni 40 games of strong performances before Anthony arrived and his body began to break down. Stoudemire has battled back issues, knee issues, and just about every other ailment under the sun. He's shown the occasional flash of brilliance, but seems to be on the descent ability wise.
That doesn't bode well for a Knicks team that has him on the hook for three years, $65 million and already used its amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups. The Knicks are stuck with Stoudemire for the foreseeable future and consequently stuck always contending for a playoff berth but never a title.
After the game Anthony, one of the few bright spots for the Knicks in Game 2, said it seems like it's always something happening -- snakebit.
But it's more than that considering the Knicks last won a playoff game in 2001. The Knicks -- both the players and team management -- aren't so much snakebit as they are selfish and incompetent.
The Knicks management has constructed a roster full of selfish, me-first players that will likely never win a NBA title. They'll win some games here and there -- maybe even a playoff series one day -- but Stoudemire's actions on Monday night tell it all.
Maybe that's why Stoudemire punched that fire extinguisher -- he finally realized that he's destined for years of competing for the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and will never be good enough to seriously challenge the Miami Heat or any other NBA heavyweight.