COMMENTARY | Well, finally!
The New York Knicks have gotten back into the win column in such a way that gives everyone hope again. Last night's win helps rehabilitate New York's confidence both on the floor and in the locker room it seems.
Carmelo Anthony sounded as if the 10,000-pound gorilla was lifted off his back after the game, and Mike Woodson lives another day as head coach. Andrea Bargnani earned some street credit, too, from the fans of New York by getting himself ejected well into the blowout of the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn.
Everyone feels good, I feel good, are the Knicks good?
Of course, everyone wants to jump on their high horse after last night; I don't blame you. There hasn't been much to cheer about this season. So Knicks fans really stuck it to their little-brother team across the bridge and, at least from what I heard, out-shined the Nets fans in their own arena. Sometimes, all it takes is one win like this to get a team back on track. New York is now 4-13, and a measly 2 1/2 games out of the division lead held by the Boston Celtics.
This is where things get interesting, especially with the schedule New York has until Christmas when it faces the Oklahoma City Thunder. Until then, the Knicks will play 10 games -- six of them will be against Boston, the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls. Only three games will be against opponents with at least .500 records, being the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago. This stretch could have a great deal of meaning. Essentially, New York can make or break its season starting tonight against Orlando.
It is rare that a stretch like this comes along in early-December, but the Knicks have a grand opportunity in front of them to shoot up the standings with only a few wins. Obviously, the two games against Boston will be must-win games in a division with such incompetence, and there's a couple intra-conference battles thrown in there along the way against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Watching the Knicks play last night, one couldn't help but think that this is what we've been waiting to see all season. Three-pointers falling and role players making an impact. Who's to say New York can't play this way the entire stretch up to Christmas? Its schedule agrees with me.
In order to take advantage of the schedule, a few things will have to be done. Like last night, New York shared the wealth. Carmelo Anthony took only 12 shots and finished with six assists. Iman Shumpert finished with a season-high 17 points while continuing to rebound well. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was Andrea Bargnani, though, who has been player better every game. His ejection last night really seemed to fuel the Knicks and give them that sense of grit they had last season. It's a joy to watch when the team being pushed around becomes the team pushing others around.
However, the Knicks have been pushed so much that no one is really going to take them seriously still. Even after blowing out the JV squad of the Nets. Out of these next 10 games until Christmas, the Knicks have a legitimate shot to win at least eight games. That would make them 12-15 through about two months of basketball -- it would also help to eradicate the slow start New York had.
This soft spot in the schedule is something the Knicks desperately needed. It's going to come down to the effort the team decides to give every night. Talent-wise, New York has the pieces to sweep these next 10 games -- best-case scenario. Worst case, the Knicks split their next 10 games and Woodson is placed back on the hot seat.
How many wins do you think the Knicks get over their next 10 games?
Steve has experienced all the possible feelings of an overwhelmed fan rooting for the Knicks. He has been a Knicks follower since 1999. He now attends William Paterson University and majors in Journalism. You can follow Steve on Twitter @Steve_Scafidi.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Knicks
- Carmelo Anthony
- New York
- Andrea Bargnani