The 2012-2013 New York Knicks will go as far as their defense can carry them. After years of consistently being one of the least efficient defensive teams in the NBA, the Knicks ranked fifth in defensive efficiency last season.
Coach Mike Woodson and center Tyson Chandler are largely responsible for New York's much-improved defense. Woodson and Chandler helped establish a defensive identity in New York and it has apparently caught on.
During the offseason, the Knicks acquired a few more defensive-minded players. Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas will bolster New York's defense and help the Knicks duplicate last season's strong defensive performance. These acquisitions are evidence that New York's front office is buying into Woodson's defense-first approach.
Now, if the Knicks can get Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to completely and totally buy in on the defensive end of the floor, New York just might have a shot at winning a playoff series for the first time in over a decade.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 New York Knicks:
Game 1, Thursday, November 1 at Brooklyn Nets- Knicks begin their season with a loss to Deron Williams and the Nets at the Barclays Center (Record 0-1).
Game 2, Friday, November 2 versus Miami Heat- Knicks fall to LeBron James and the Heat (Record 0-2).
Game 3, Sunday, November 4 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Knicks rebound with a home win over Andrew Bynum and the 76ers (Record 1-2).
Game 4, Monday, November 5 at Philadelphia 76ers- Knicks drop the second half of a home-and-home back-to-back to the 76ers (Record 1-3).
Game 5, Friday, November 9 versus Dallas Mavericks- Knicks defeat the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden (Record 2-3).
Game 6, Tuesday, November 13 at Orlando Magic- Knicks get their first road win of the season with a victory over the Magic (Record 3-3).
Game 7, Thursday, November 15 at San Antonio Spurs- Knicks lose to the Spurs at the AT&T Center for the 10th straight time (Record 3-4).
Game 8, Friday, November 16 at Memphis Grizzlies- Knicks close a 1-2 road trip with a loss to the Grizzlies (Record 3-5).
Game 9, Sunday, November 18 versus Indiana Pacers- Knicks get a home win over the Pacers (Record 4-5).
Game 10, Tuesday, November 20 at New Orleans Hornets- Knicks fall to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena (Record 4-6).
Game 11, Wednesday, November 21 at Dallas Mavericks- Knicks play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to the Mavericks (Record 4-7).
Game 12, Friday, November 23 at Houston Rockets- Knicks capture the second leg of the Texas Two Step by defeating the Rockets at the Toyota Center (Record 5-7).
Game 13, Sunday, November 25 versus Detroit Pistons- Knicks win a Sunday matinee against the Pistons (Record 6-7).
Game 14, Wednesday, November 28 at Milwaukee Bucks- Knicks get a road win over the Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 7-7).
Game 15, Friday, November 30 versus Washington Wizards- Knicks finally get above .500 with a home win over John Wall and the Wizards (Record 8-7).
Game 16, Sunday, December 2 versus Phoenix Suns- Knicks close a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Suns (Record 9-7).
Game 17, Wednesday, December 5 at Charlotte Bobcats- Knicks defeat the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena (Record 10-7).
Game 18, Thursday, December 6 at Miami Heat- Knicks drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Heat (Record 10-8).
Game 19, Saturday, December 8 at Chicago Bulls- Knicks close a 2-1 road trip with a victory over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls (Record 11-8).
Game 20, Sunday, December 9 versus Denver Nuggets- Knicks play for the fourth time in five nights and drop a home game to the high-scoring Nuggets (Record 11-9).
Game 21, Tuesday, December 11 at Brooklyn Nets- Knicks go to Brooklyn and pick up a win over Deron Williams and the Nets (Record 12-9).
Game 22, Thursday, December 13 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Knicks open a six-game homestand with a loss to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (Record 12-10).
Game 23, Saturday, December 15 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Knicks defeat Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers (Record 13-10).
Game 24, Monday, December 17 versus Houston Rockets- Carmelo Anthony leads the Knicks to a double-digit victory over Jeremy Lin and the Rockets (Record 14-10).
Game 25, Wednesday, December 19 versus Brooklyn Nets- Knicks defeat the Nets at Madison Square Garden (Record 15-10).
Game 26, Friday, December 21 versus Chicago Bulls- Knicks drop a home game to the Bulls (Record 15-11).
Game 27, Sunday, December 23 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Knicks close a 4-2 homestand with a win over Kevin Love and the Timberwolves (Record 16-11).
Game 28, Tuesday, December 25 at Los Angeles Lakers- Knicks fall to Dwight Howard and the Lakers on Christmas Day (Record 16-12).
Game 29, Wednesday, December 26 at Phoenix Suns- Knicks lose the second half of a back-to-back to the Suns (Record 16-13).
Game 30, Friday, December 28 at Sacramento Kings- Knicks close a disappointing 1-2 road trip with a victory over the Kings (Record 17-13).
Game 31, Tuesday, January 1 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Knicks get a New Year's Day victory over the Trail Blazers (Record 18-13).
Game 32, Thursday, January 3 versus San Antonio Spurs- Knicks get a solid home win over the Spurs (Record 19-13).
Game 33, Saturday, January 5 at Orlando Magic- Knicks drop a road game to the Magic at the Amway Center (Record 19-14).
Game 34, Monday, January 7 versus Boston Celtics- Knicks get their 20th win of the season with a victory over the Celtics (Record 20-14).
Game 35, Thursday, January 10 at Indiana Pacers- Knicks defeat the Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Record 21-14).
Game 36, Friday, January 11 versus Chicago Bulls- Knicks get a home win over the Bulls and successfully complete a back-to-back (Record 22-14).
Game 37, Sunday, January 13 versus New Orleans Hornets- Knicks drop a Sunday matinee to the Hornets (Record 22-15).
Game 38, Thursday, January 17 at Detroit Pistons- Knicks rebound with a road win over the Pistons (Record 23-15).
Game 39, Monday, January 21 versus Brooklyn Nets- Knicks drop a home game to the Nets on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Record 23-16).
Game 40, Thursday, January 24 at Boston Celtics- Knicks fall to the Celtics at the TD Garden for the 12th consecutive time (Record 23-17).
Game 41, Saturday, January 26 at Philadelphia 76ers- Knicks lose to the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center (Record 23-18).
Game 42, Sunday, January 27 versus Atlanta Hawks- Knicks play their third game in four nights and lose to the Hawks (Record 23-19).
Game 43, Wednesday, January 30 versus Orlando Magic- Knicks defeat the Magic to avenge a loss they suffered earlier in the month (Record 24-19).
Game 44, Friday, February 1 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Knicks open February with a home win over the Bucks (Record 25-19).
Game 45, Saturday, February 2 versus Sacramento Kings- Knicks successfully complete a back-to-back by beating the Kings (Record 26-19).
Game 46, Monday, February 4 versus Detroit Pistons- Knicks close a successful 4-1 homestand with a victory over the Pistons (Record 27-19).
Game 47, Wednesday, February 6 at Washington Wizards- Knicks fall to the Wizards at the Verizon Center (Record 27-20).
Game 48, Friday, February 8 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Knicks drop a road game to Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves (Record 27-21).
Game 49, Sunday, February 10 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Knicks open a brief two-game homestand with a victory over Chris Paul and the Clippers (Record 28-21).
Game 50, Wednesday, February 13 versus Toronto Raptors- Knicks head into the All-Star break with a home win over the Raptors (Record 29-21).
Game 51, Wednesday, February 20 at Indiana Pacers- Knicks open the second half of the season with a loss to the Pacers (Record 29-22).
Game 52, Friday, February 22 at Toronto Raptors- Knicks beat the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 30-22).
Game 53, Sunday, February 24 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Knicks get a close win over the 76ers and tie the season series at two games apiece (Record 31-22).
Game 54, Wednesday, February 27 versus Golden State Warriors- Knicks close a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Warriors (Record 32-22).
Game 55, Friday, March 1 at Washington Wizards- Knicks drop a road game to the Wizards (Record 32-23).
Game 56, Sunday, March 3 versus Miami Heat- Knicks get an impressive home win over the Heat (Record 33-23).
Game 57, Monday, March 4 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Knicks play for the third time in four nights and lose to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena (Record 33-24).
Game 58, Wednesday, March 6 at Detroit Pistons- Knicks fall to the Pistons at the Palace (Record 33-25).
Game 59, Thursday, March 7 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Knicks drop the second half of a back-to-back to Kevin Durant and the Thunder (Record 33-26).
Game 60, Saturday, March 9 versus Utah Jazz- Knicks defeat the Jazz at Madison Square Garden (Record 34-26).
Game 61, Monday, March 11 at Golden State Warriors- Knicks open a five-game road trip with a victory over the Warriors (Record 35-26).
Game 62, Wednesday, March 13 at Denver Nuggets- Knicks defeat the Nuggets in Carmelo Anthony's first trip back to the Pepsi Center since the infamous trade (Record 36-26).
Game 63, Thursday, March 14 at Portland Trail Blazers- Knicks play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 36-27).
Game 64, Sunday, March 17 at Los Angeles Clippers- Knicks drop the first half of a back-to-back to the Clippers (Record 36-28).
Game 65, Monday, March 18 at Utah Jazz- Knicks fall to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena (Record 36-29).
Game 66, Wednesday, March 20 versus Orlando Magic- Knicks get a home win over the Magic (Record 37-29).
Game 67, Friday, March 22 at Toronto Raptors- Knicks lose to the Raptors in the first half of a home-and-home back-to-back (Record 37-30).
Game 68, Saturday, March 23 versus Toronto Raptors- Knicks immediately avenge that loss with a home win over the Raptors (Record 38-30).
Game 69, Tuesday, March 26 at Boston Celtics- Knicks drop another road game to the Celtics (Record 38-31).
Game 70, Wednesday, March 27 versus Memphis Grizzlies- Knicks capture the second half of a back-to-back with a victory over the Grizzlies (Record 39-31).
Game 71, Friday, March 29 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Knicks defeat the Bobcats and get their 40th victory of the season (Record 40-31).
Game 72, Sunday, March 31 versus Boston Celtics- Knicks close a perfect 3-0 homestand with a solid win over the Celtics (Record 41-31).
Game 73, Tuesday, April 2 at Miami Heat- Knicks fall to the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 41-32).
Game 74, Wednesday, April 3 at Atlanta Hawks- Knicks lose the second half of a back-to-back to the Hawks (Record 41-33).
Game 75, Friday, April 5 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Knicks play for the third time in four nights and drop a home game to the Bucks (Record 41-34).
Game 76, Sunday, April 7 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Knicks fall to the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena (Record 41-35).
Game 77, Tuesday, April 9 versus Washington Wizards- Knicks defeat the Wizards to avoid a five-game losing streak (Record 42-35).
Game 78, Thursday, April 11 at Chicago Bulls- Knicks fall to the Bulls at the United Center (Record 42-36).
Game 79, Friday, April 12 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Knicks lose to the Cavaliers in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 42-37).
Game 80, Sunday, April 14 versus Indiana Pacers- Knicks lose a close home game to the Pacers (Record 42-38).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 at Charlotte Bobcats- Knicks get a victory over the Bobcats in their final road game of the season (Record 43-38).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 versus Atlanta Hawks- Knicks close the regular season with a home win over the Hawks (Record 44-38).
Prediction: Under Mike Woodson, the New York Knicks will continue to make positive strides on the defensive end. And if they can get Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to buy into Woodson's defense-first approach, the Knicks just might be able to earn themselves a trip to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
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