Image by: RMTip21
By Thomas Stone
The NBA’s New York Knicks are off to a pretty strong start this season. Currently, they stand at 15-5 and sport the best record in the Eastern Conference. They are undefeated at home and rank second in the conference in scoring, putting up 102 points per game.
More good news for Knicks fans is that the team is finally playing a little defense. In two games against the defending league champion Miami Heat, the Knicks have held the Heat to just an 88 point average. That’s stating a lot because the Heat are near the top of the league in points per game with 103.
But it doesn’t start or begin with Miami. The Knicks have a strong record so far this season due in part to their ability to hit threes – 40% for the season – and Tyson Chandler becoming a scoring threat.
In previous years and on previous teams, Chandler was largely known as a rebounder and defensive player. This year, Chandler is averaging close to 13 points per game, a career high for the 12-year player. Not to mention, Chandler is also shooting 70% from the field.
The Knicks have also added the veteran presence of point guard Jason Kidd, forward Rasheed Wallace, and Marcus Camby.
That Melo Fellow
Then there is the scoring of Carmelo Anthony, who recently missed two games due to a cut on his finger that required stitches. In his return game against the Nuggets, ‘Melo scored 34 points, and for the season, he’s averaging an Eastern Conference high 26.8 points per game.
Head coach Mike Woodson should probably receive a little credit for what’s actually happening in New York. The Knicks chose to extend him as head coach after he took over for the team when former head coach Mike D’Antoni was fired last season. Once he took the reigns, the Knicks went 18-6 down the stretch, made the playoffs and actually won a game against the Heat in the first round.
Woodson has the ear of his team and they are following his marching orders. More than anything, he’s doing one of the best coaching jobs in the league this season.
Image by: James Mitchell
Making A Point
Lastly, Knicks point guard Raymond Felton is having a career year. For his seven years in the league, Felton averages a decent 13 points per game, but this season he’s upped his average to 16 per contest. He’s aided in the resurgence of passing the ball in New York, something that has helped them beat teams like Miami and San Antonio.
If New York can continue their string of unselfish play, playing brawny defense and keeping their ear to the lips of head coach Mike Woodson, we may actually see the Knicks make it far into the post season.
But we still have 62 games remaining, the All-Star break, and a plethora of tough games for the Knicks to play. Sustainability may be tough for this group of players, but if they are able to keep up this pace, don’t be surprised if the Knicks are playing in early June.