By Ryan Schneider
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The New York Knicks are the hottest team in the NBA. Think about that… the NEW YORK KNICKS… the hottest team in basketball right now. When was the last time you could say that? When was the last time you turned on MSG expecting a win? After a decade long wait, the Knicks are relevant again.
Throw out an argument. Even Knick haters can’t do it. They haven’t played anyone good in the last three weeks? You’re right they haven’t played the upper echelon teams in the NBA yet… but you know what? The Knicks are taking care of the teams they should beat. And regardless of what you haters may say about strength of schedule… what about the Hornets win Friday night? They were one of the best teams in the league at defending their home-court (8-1 at home heading into the game), and the Knicks took care of business.
Would you believe this? The blue and orange have matched their longest road winning streak since the ’94-’95 season. Really? 9-4 on the road? The mark of a good team… getting W’s away from home.
Are you ready for MVP numbers? 32 points per game 12 boards, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal…that’s Amare Stoudemire for the last five games…including 37 points and 16 caroms yesterday against the Raptors. He has earned every penny of the maximum contract he was awarded over the summer. Aside from his performance on the floor, look at what he has done to the overall culture of that team. There has been a dynamic overhaul in the attitude of the Knicks. You can see confidence brewing from every man in the rotation.
Isn’t it amazing how much can change in a just a couple of weeks in the NBA? 21 days ago the Knicks were in the midst of a horrendous losing streak. There was as much chemistry on that team as there is in a history classroom. In a game against T-Wolves in November, the ‘Bockers traveled to Minny only to get dismantled in the second half. Kevin Love was setting NBA records with a 30 point-30 rebound performance, and Michael Beasley dropped a cool 35. That game also came at a time when I had absolutely no confidence that the Knicks could beat anyone in this league.
Like I said times have changed…tonight the Knicks are set to return the favor as the Wolves come to the Garden. Maybe Knick fans are still tentative about emotionally investing themselves in this team…and I can completely understand that. However, we are witnessing cultural change in front of our eyes. Tonight is a game the Knicks should win…they have played too well to drop this one at home. When was the last time during a season we were talking about heading into games with the Knicks as the clear cut favorites?
You want to talk about opportunity? This schedule provides the Knicks with an incredible amount of momentum as they head into their toughest stretch to this point. The Wolves, Raptors and Wizards are on the slate for the next five days. Barring a complete regression to the team a month ago…the Knicks could realistically wake up at 15-9 Saturday morning. With more than a quarter of the NBA season behind them, Amare’s squad could (should) theoretically be six games over .500…amazing…I know.
The NBA is prepared to take over the New Orleans Hornets…this will be the first time in the history of the league that the NBA will take over ownership for a franchise. A key piece to the puzzle…what happens to the state of mind of Chris Paul? With a lack of direction by the NBA ownership, is it possible that we start to see trade demands resurface?
When the season started there were high expectations for an MVP caliber season out of Kevin Durant…however, through the first 20 games of the season it’s Russell Westbrook making his case for the most important player on the Thunder team. Westbrook is averaging 24ppg. 8.7 dimes, 5.6 boards, and 2 steals. Including a new poster with Shane Battier.
Finally, a shout out to my Marist Red Foxes…Despite a tumultuous start to the season, and a nation leading 24 game losing streak (dating back to last year)…Marist won two games in a row over the weekend against Niagara and Canisius, to put themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the MAAC.
- Highlightin’ Hoops: Defending The Mecca (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Highlightin’ Hoops: Time To Get Cookin’ At Home (newyork.cbslocal.com)