The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde New York Knicks made an emphatic statement on Wednesday night against their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, crushing them 110-81 while keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The Knicks are currently on a three-game winning streak (also winning 12 out of their last 15) and it appears they are moving in the right direction once again. Way too many times this team will go on win streaks and then put up a clunker, which is followed by even more losing.
The Knicks are finally playing their best basketball of the season and at the right time.
After taking three of five on their west-coast road trip, the Knicks came home to face off against teams all destined to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. So getting the first one out of the way against the Nets was a nice start for the Knicks. With the win, the Knicks are now tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and are even percentage points ahead of them.
If the Knicks can somehow make the playoffs it can salvage an otherwise dreadful season.
Sure, the season did not come close to James Dolan’s hopes of contending for an NBA title, but let’s be real, that was a pie-in-the sky idea. Undoubtedly, though, the Knicks should have been in at least the middle of the Eastern Conference standings. I mean if Charlotte, Washington and Toronto are all in the playoff mix, certainly the Knicks should too.
Alas, things did not go as planned.
Iman Shumpert, who many thought would break out, has regressed. Point guard play has been brutal, as it is apparent Raymond Felton is not what he once was. Offseason signings Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih and the trade for Andrea Bargnani blew up in the Knicks face. Not to mention all the injuries to Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni did not help.
You add all that up and you have a recipe for mediocre results. Which is exactly what a 33-43 record is.
The one constant, though, for the Knicks throughout the season has always been the play of Carmelo Anthony.
While his current, “should I stay, or should I go?” contract status is garnering all of the headlines in the tabloids, you can’t knock his play on the court. Anthony has only missed three games and leads the team in scoring (28 ppg, second in the NBA), steals (1.2) and is second on the team in rebounding (8.2 rpg, which is currently a career high for him).
With the hiring of Phil Jackson as president representing a shift in the direction the Knicks are moving in, capping the year off with a playoff appearance could end the season on a high note.
From there, anything can happen. Remember the 1999 Knicks who made it to the NBA Finals as a #8 seed?
Sure, a long playoff run is not likely in the cards, but you never know and just being part of the playoffs has got to be the primary goal at this point. It's just finally nice to see the Knicks play at their best.
Up next for the Knicks is a date with the Washington Wizards at MSG on Friday night.
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