Last year, the late season West Coast trip put a hurting on the Knicks, both literally and figuratively. With the team playing so well of late, will they be able to avert disaster this time around?
The Phil Jackson era got underway with two consecutive wins, including one over an opponent with a record above .500 (!!!). That made it eight in a row for the streaking Knicks, who still found away to break our hearts with a home loss to the Cavs yesterday. With an opportunity to knock their playoff deficit down to two games, they choked away a double-digit lead and succumbed to another attack by a random opponent – this time Jarret Jack. The loss stung pretty good and Coach Woodson said the only way to make up for it is by sweeping the West Coast trip. It’s hard to disagree.
In case you missed any of the action last week, here are the quick versions:
Knicks 93, Sixers 92
Cavs 106, Knicks 100
Last season, the late West Coast trip almost sunk the Knicks for good. While battling for important playoff position, they lost four games in a row before Kurt Thomas put the team on his back in Utah and turned things around. This year, the opponents are a little less daunting, which is good because the Knicks need every win they can get. With just twelve games left, the team is three games out of a playoff spot, and needs all the help it can get from others. Only once has someone made the playoffs while being four or more games out with 14 or less to go, but crazier things have happened. To Knicks fans, their odds feel like this:
Here are Charlotte and Atlanta’s schedules, so you know who else you’ll be rooting for this week:
Monday – vs. Houston (7:00 p.m.)
Wednesday – vs. Brooklyn (7:00 p.m.)
Friday – at Orlando (7:00 p.m.)
Monday – vs. Phoenix (7:30 p.m.)
Wednesday – at Minnesota (8:00 p.m.)
Thursday – vs. Portland (7:30 p.m.)
Saturday – at Washington (8:00 p.m.)
As for the Knicks:
Tuesday – 10:30 p.m. (TNT) – at Los Angeles Lakers
This will probably be the last time we see Mike D’Antoni on the sidelines for a while. It’s not likely that he’ll last the offseason, especially because Kobe Bryant isn’t a fan. It may also be the last time the Knicks play against Steve Nash. He’s been one of my favorite players to watch over the years and it’s sad to see him go out with a disappointing, injury riddled season.
Wednesday – 10:00 p.m. (MSG) – at Sacramento
The Kings random jumble of talent sometimes makes for an interesting matchup, as Knicks fans learned in a home loss to Sacramento before the All-Star break. It may be worth staying up late just to see what DeMarcus Cousins will do next.
Friday – 10:00 p.m. (MSG) – at Phoenix
To describe Jeff Hornaceck’s coaching job this season as admirable would be an understatement. The Suns were supposed to be destined for the draft lottery, but instead find themselves in the hunt for a playoff spot in the though Western Conference. The dynamic backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe won’t be easy to slow down.
Sunday – 9:00 p.m. (MSG) – at Golden State
Thankfully, this is a road game. Stephen Curry usually takes his game to the next level (linked) at Madison Square Garden, where he recently dropped a 27-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double IN THREE QUARTERS. The Warriors have been playing well of late, and not coincidentally, so has the second splash brother, Klay Thompson.