Luckily, the Knicks didn't let that keep them from beating the Cleveland Cavaliers to the tune of 102-97.
It wasn't pretty for the Knicks, but they came back from down 22 points in the second quarter, and they did so with impressive production from their second unit.
The bench dropped 70 of the Knicks' 102 points on 50-percent shooting from the floor. Amar'e Stoudemire led bench scorers with 22 points, and J.R. Smith posted a well-balanced stat line of 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Getting a win without 'Melo in the lineup is big for the Knicks. Not only does it help them stay amongst the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, but it also helps them build confidence, which is pivotal to establish as we move toward the playoffs.
Beating a resilient Cavaliers team might not seem like a big deal, but after a heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat, the Knicks needed this one bad.