Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Knicks Are Actually Winning, and It's only Going to Get Better

While the season is still wet (we just passed the first-quarter mark last week) the Knicks are looking more and more like they've finally put their lost decade of failure behind them. With a win over the Timberwolves on Monday, the Knicks have won their last five games, including four on the road against the the Kings, Bobcats, Warriors and Clippers. The streak puts them at 13-9, a record strong enough to put them in the sixth slot of the Eastern conference playoffs if they started today. Kinda remarkable.

Hang around Madison Square Garden and you can feel it. New York City is finally breathing a sigh of relief. Gone is the city's perpetual squad of dysfunctional, overrated narcissists governed by weedy and myopic coaches. Here is something new, something refreshing. Something America's city of basketball can actually be proud of.

The Knicks rebirth can be attributed to a few key features. For starters, management's big-ticket acquisition of Amar'e Stoudemire is panning out perfectly. Stoudemire is averaging 22.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a game on 50% shooting. Just as critical, he's become a leader on a team accustomed to absconders and weak-kneed money mongers.  And, while Stoudemire won't be a true force until he learns to effectively (and consistently) create his own shot, point guard Raymond Felton will feed him the kind of passes he needs until he does. The North Carolina alum has stepped up this season and become a potential All-Star.  His 18 points per game and 8.5 assists make him one of the most underrated point guards in the league. As a floor general, he's calm and capable of controlling the tempo in a manner that suits the Knicks perfectly.

With new Coach Mike D'Antoni's blazingly fast and much questioned 'Seven Seconds or Less' offense, the Knicks are only missing a versatile wing man, a three-point shooter and a bulky centre. I know that sounds like a lot, but, with a core of Stoudemire and Felton, it's really isn't.

This is the start of something New Yorkers have deserved since Ewing became disgusting to watch: Victory and some decent jerseys to rock.

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