The winning streak continues to roll on for the New York Knicks, who are now at ten straight victories. While the first half of the winning streak was marked by “Good JR” taking his game to another level, recently Carmelo Anthony has stole the show with 90 points…yes 90 points…over the past two games. Either way -
On to the 12 pack…
1. One of the most foolish things being discussed right now on Twitter is Knicks fans talking about whether or not Phil Jackson should be booed at tonight’s game, which will honor the 1973 Championship Team. Of course he shouldn’t. This team has two titles in their history and you are going to boo a guy who was an integral part of them when he is out there with his teammates? Forget about his coaching career and cheer him for his playing career that helped your New York Knicks win a Championship.
2. The race for the 4-5-6 seed in the Eastern Conference is one to keep an eye on down the stretch. Brooklyn is currently the #4 seed with a 1.5 game lead on Atlanta and Chicago who are currently tied. Unless something crazy happens, the Knicks are going to be a #2 seed which means playing Boston or a #3 seed which means playing either Brooklyn, Atlanta, or Chicago. Brooklyn has a VERY soft end to their schedule so it would take quite the meltdown for them to fall to #6, while Atlanta and Chicago should come down to the wire. Atlanta is the best possible first round match-up, while Chicago would be the least desirable (and yes that includes Boston).
3. The Knicks would be wise to be cautious with Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler in these coming days, both are desperately needed to be as close to 100% as possible when the playoffs start. Don’t look for Martin to play until next week against Washington and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Chandler miss a game or two down the stretch.
4. It is easy to lose in the shuffle but Iman Shumpert has been much better the past 2-3 weeks and seems to be rounding into form at the perfect time. Over the 10 game winning streak? 17-31 from three-point range which provides an enormous boost to the Knicks offense. More importantly he is showing the spring in his step and ability to get up and down the court. His defense is going to be an enormous asset for the Knicks in the playoffs.
5. Raymond Felton (14.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 5.5 APG, 15.3 PER) – Jeremy Lin (13.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.1 APG, 14.9 PER)
6. Steve Novak is 10-18 over the Knicks last five games from three-point range and has been good enough to merit decent rotation minutes in the playoffs. Some would prefer to see Chris Copeland get more minutes but Novak’s value in stretching the floor is too valuable to ignore.
7. Of the Knicks remaining 8 games, 5 are against playoff teams including a few that could be critical for seeding and determining their first round match-up. Without question, April 11th in Chicago, April 14th at MSG vs. Indiana and the season finale at home against Atlanta on April 17th are the most important remaining games.
8. Judging from the silence, doesn’t it feel more likely that Amare Stoudemire won’t be back until the (potential) 2nd round, not the first round?
9. Just a reminder that Rasheed Wallace is STILL on the roster. Let’s all hope for some garbage time three point attempts in a first round victory, no?
10. He doesn’t ever seem to get much credit but Mike Woodson has had a solid all-around season running this team. Considering the various injuries and changes to the rotation, 45-47 wins would have been a reasonable expectation but it looks like the Knicks will finish with 51-53 wins. Beyond that, he has got the best season of his career out of JR Smith and that alone should be worth some type of award.