Steve Novak's coming for your title, Lakers Of The Past. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Yeah, the Miami Heat won 27 games in a row. Big deal. They couldn't even win 28 straight, so how good a team are they really? I'll tell you how good: Not good enough to win as many games in a row as the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, a team to which it is very legitimate and worthwhile to compare this year's Heat. A team that shaky is scarcely worth our time.
A team that is worth our time, though, is the one that now holds the NBA's longest winning streak. That'd be the New York Knicks, who scored a 108-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak — which, in case I neglected to mention it earlier, is now the NBA's longest active winning streak — to an impressive six games. That's just 21 games shy of Miami's second-best-in-history mark, and only 27 games south of the 33 straight rung up by Wilt, West and company. It almost seems too easy.
Can the Knicks pull it off? Is it worth reeling those wins off, when attempting to win a championship sometime in mid-June — a championship, by the way, that would (and, let's be honest, will) come after the Knicks notch their record-setting 34th consecutive W in Game 4 of the NBA Finals to seal their fourth straight postseason series sweep? And which horrendously overmatched opponent on the Knicks' upcoming schedule could possibly have enough firepower to upset a team with roughly 1 1/2 healthy tall people? Click the jump for the breakdown.
The Next Opponent
The Charlotte Bobcats. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffft.
Sure, they beat the Orlando Magic by seven on Wednesday thanks to 68 points and 14 rebounds from the combination of Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, but Charlotte's 6-29 on the road this year, the Knicks beat them in December without Carmelo Anthony on an extraordinarily J.R. Smith-y game-winner and it's not like Kemba has any experience being awesome in Madison Square Garden. Put it in the books.
The 'Oop Jam
The Slow Jam
The #Knicks are now 27-4 in games in which JR Smith shoots 50% or better from the floor.
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 28, 2013
Everyone on Memphis not named Tony Allen looks hungover. Would never guess that Knicks, not Grizz, played last night. — Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) March 28, 2013
Just a guess: The Grizzlies enjoyed their night off in Manhattan on Tuesday.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 28, 2013
JR Smith: “Everybody likes New York, especially West Coast teams. They don’t get to come here but once. That helped us out.” — Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) March 28, 2013
If the Knicks play like they played in the first half against Memphis — recapturing that November/early December ball movement, stretching the defense the full 50-foot width of the court in search of both open high-percentage 3-point shots and opportunities to attack closeouts for paint penetration and finishes at the rim — they'll blow the Bobcats' doors off and extend their epic streak to
an Elite Eight™ A Magnificent Seven™ in a row. If they lard themselves down in iso-heavy ball, attacking set defenders without having shifted the shape of the D with ball and player movement, turning it over and failing to capitalize on the offensive glass — then a guard-heavy Charlotte attack can make Mike Woodson sweat down the stretch, as Memphis' Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless did on Wednesday.
(Also, if the 'Cats go out drinking tonight, all bets are off.)
Either way, we won't ACTUALLY be talking about the Knicks' "streak" on Saturday. Which, after nearly eight weeks of breathless 24/7 focus on one team's pursuit of perfection, is fine. It'll probably be nice for all of us to get back to normal. (Well, a version of "normal" where J.R. Smith is, like, the most efficient guy in the league, at least.)
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