About a month ago I posted a rant about ESPN running a story titled “Stick A Fork In ‘Em'” regarding the Knicks and their awful loss against the Warriors in Golden State. The sentence that ran under the headline… “Crushing injuries and a horrific loss to start an epic road trip–is it all over for the Knicks? I instantly thought that ESPN was jumping the gun and clearly overreacting. Well, let’s fast forward about a month later, and where do the Knicks stand? Oh that’s right, near the very top! The team is currently on a 12 game winning streak, with the team just beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in their own house! The Knicks silenced ESPN New York reporters such as Stephen A. Smith and Ian Begley, who both picked the Knicks to lose yesterday, but had to turn around and act like they knew the Knicks would win the whole time.
Crushing injuries? As of now, most of the team is healthy. Kenyon Martin is out, but the 35 year old just started playing pro basketball in February, so soreness is expected. The only other person currently out is fossil Marcus Camby, so health wise, for the oldest team in the league, the Knicks are in a good position.
The headline also asked if it was all over for the Knicks? Ha! This is why I went on my rant a month ago, calling for ESPN to stop flipping out over every loss. It happens with the Yankees, where they start off the season with a few losses, ESPN reporters cry that it’s all over, but then it’s happy days after the Yankees beat Justin Verlander! It is a long season ESPN! Why don’t you let these sports franchises play out all of their games before freaking out!
So where are the Knicks now? 2nd place in the East, with an amazing record of 50-26. The team has also already clinched a playoff berth, and is closing in on their first division title since the memorable 1994 season. Carmelo Anthony is leading the way, showing the world why he is regarded as one of the best offensive players in the NBA. His 36 points against the Thunder last night capped off an epic week in which he scored 40 against Atlanta on April 3rd and 41 against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 5th.
Melo isn’t getting it done all by himself though. JR Smith, a top candidate for the 6th man of the year award, has played some of the best basketball of his career. Mike Woodson has gotten the best out of the talented but inconsistent star, and Smith is showing the world his true talents. He is a great second option scorer to go along with Anthony. Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin can play that tough, physical defense, as well as have a big presence underneath the basket (something the Heat lack). Raymond Felton has been great at attacking the basket, Iman Shumpert is trying to get back to being the defensive stud he was last year, and Jason Kidd is a great veteran presence to have on the team. Let’s not forget, that both Kidd and Chandler were part of the Dallas Mavericks team that beat the Heat in the Finals two years ago, so both players know what it takes to win.
Kidd (left) and Chandler know what it takes to win a title
While this team may be old, they are finally bringing it all together. The players know their roles, are listening to their coach and are having fun, most importantly. This Knicks team is confident and feel that they can beat anyone. This years Knick team is probably one of the best many people have seen in a long time (especially for people in the 13-25 age group). While I am not saying the Knicks will absolutely beat the Heat come playoff time, in my opinion the Knicks are the best team in the East to do so. Anyone can be beat, and it will be interesting to see what the health statuses of Wade, James and Bosh looks like in a month. But the team can’t worry about the Heat now, as they have a few more games they need to finish off before they get to the playoffs and have a rough potential first round matchup against the Boston Celtics. #KnicksTape
If these two teams meet first round, it should be a great, chippy series