The New York Knicks had us excited there for a minute. They ripped off five straight wins, including a convincing home victory over the Miami Heat and there seemed to be some positive momentum in terms of heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, they came out flat against the Charlotte Bobcats, which snowballed into two uncompetitive showings against legitimate championship contenders. What do we make of this team at this point?
This is a bizarre season in the Eastern Conference because all it really will take is an extended stretch of competent, slightly over .500 basketball to secure a playoff spot. If the Knicks can land themselves anywhere between the 3 and 6 seed, they are going to have a good chance to reach the second round and find themselves exactly where they were last season. It isn’t really progress but ultimately they give themselves the same chance they had last year, right?
What is frustrating is we have to continue to watch this ongoing mish-mash of poorly played, often uninspired basketball. There have been flashes of exciting potential from Tim Hardaway Jr, Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler but how much of an impact are they really going to make down the stretch? JR Smith is completely erratic on and off the court. Ray Felton is banged up and playing mediocre basketball. Carmelo Anthony looks exhausted, Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire cannot stay healthy.
Are we headed to a 32 win playoff season and a putrid looking first round battle against Washington, Detroit or Toronto? Maybe. Playoffs are playoffs. They will be get the city and fan-base energized but this isn’t the NFL. Rarely can you bank on a team getting hot at the end of the season and riding a Cinderella hot streak through the playoffs. In all likelihood, the Knicks would lose a tightly-contested, ugly first round series or get blown out of the water in the second round by Miami or Indiana.
For now, we can hope the Knicks handle business in games “they should” win and find a way to start being more regularly competitive against playoff caliber teams. It is shame the good vibes from the five game winning streak have been erased but hopefully they can turn it back against a softer part of the schedule in the coming weeks.