It’s impossible to fathom how many amazing stats the Knicks have already accrued through just their first four games. Fans of the New York Knickerbockers are reveling in the excitement and electricity that’s been filling Madison Square Garden for the first time in over a decade. Yes, Linsanity gave the local fans a respite from losing for a few weeks last year, but this season’s performance has been nothing short of miraculous and seemingly will be more long term than the craziness at the end of last season.
After Friday’s win over the shorthanded Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks are now the only undefeated team in the NBA. They are off to their best start since the 1993-1994 season when center Patrick Ewing & company took them on a trip to the NBA Finals. A time when tickets to the World’s Greatest Arena were harder to get than a gallon of gas here in the northeast! Knick fans would sign up for a second round appearance in this year’s playoffs right now. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves as four games does not a season make.
What’s most impressive is that they have brought in some crafty older veterans who might have missed a step or two but clearly know how to play the game. Jason Kidd, winner of the Rookie of the Year award back in the 1994-1995 season is playing like a man possessed, hustling in the win over the Mavs with three steals. Marcus Camby now in his second stint with the Knicks, Kurt Thomas, the oldest player in the NBA at 40, and even loud talking Rasheed Wallace all have contributed. But the biggest contributor is the best scorer on the team and one of the best in the league; Carmelo Anthony. And he’s not just scoring. He’s rebounding and blocking shots as well with a new commitment and focus towards winning.
The team is playing loose but smart, something that they haven’t done for years. Usually in the bottom five in the league in turnovers, through these four games the Knicks have the distinction of having the fewest turnovers in the NBA! They were averaging 12 per game coming into Fridays Mavs game which they finished with just 9 TO’s. The ball movement is crisp and in Friday’s game they showed they don’t need to survive solely on legions of three pointers. They’re forcing a ton of turnovers in these games, 19 vs the Mavs alone, which shows their hustle is paying dividends.
Again, it’s early but winning their first four games all by double digits while keeping their opponents under 90 in three of them and under 100 in all of them is sign that perhaps they have finally turned the corner. And under the “wizard of defense” Mike Woodson, they might just end up truly having a ‘magical’ season. As with every team, health is a major concern especially when it comes to aging vets that fill the Knicks’ bench. Case in point Amare Stoudemire who isn’t due back on the floor until the latter part of December. So far Woodson has monitored the veteran’s minutes and have given them all a light to moderate workload, resting them when a game has gotten out of hand.
Meantime, if you’re a Knick fan then maybe this time is your time. Maybe this year will be your year. Maybe this season we’ll see players like Carmelo Anthony actually make it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his nine year career. All that we know for sure is that at least for now, the Knicks have found the Knack for winning and winning by playing unselfish, smart basketball. Go New York, Go New York, Go!