Knicks better off without Amare?

Believe it or not, New York's chances of beating Miami might improve

Updated: May 2, 2012, 10:20 AM ET
By Neil Paine | Basketball-Reference.com
StoudemireIssac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesStoudemire might have done his teammates a favor if he is out because of his lacerated hand.

Following a Game 2 performance that, while efficient, was lacking in aggression and defensive intensity, New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire punched the glass casing around a fire extinguisher en route to the locker room, badly injuring his hand and putting his availability in doubt for Game 3 and possibly the remainder of the series.

In that single act of frustration, Stoudemire seemingly drove the final nail into the coffin of New York's up-and-down 2012 season. Losing a player of his reputation is usually a death sentence, especially for a team like the Knicks, who are already fighting an uphill battle to stay alive against the powerhouse Miami Heat.

Yet New York's chances might not be as damaged by Stoudemire's absence as one might think. For starters, Stoudemire missed 19 games during the regular season, and the team went 14-5 during that stretch. Both Carmelo Anthony's numbers and the team's performance as a whole were notably better when Stoudemire was not in the Knicks' lineup.

Neil Paine writes for FiveThirtyEight, the data-supported sports, politics and culture site coming soon from ESPN.