Break up the New York Knicks!
After losing 9 straight games the Knicks have finally won a game again. Amid rumors coach Mike Woodson would be fired should the Knicks lose a 10th straight game, the Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday 113-83. The Knicks secured their first winning streak of the season by beating the Orlando Magic last night 121-83. The win on Friday also snapped a 7 game home losing streak.
Although wins against two teams who are a combined 11-27 this season is nothing to brag about, one has to be impressed with how the Knicks have played over the past two games.
Prior to the games against Brooklyn and Orlando the Knicks were shooting below 35% from three point range as a team. In both blowout wins the Knicks converted a combined 33-61 (54%) from three point range. This is undoubtedly the biggest reason the Knicks were able to win by such large margins. The Knicks made an NBA record 891 three pointers last season. When they are struggling to make threes — as they were during the losing streak — it makes the game harder for them.
A large reason for the three point barrage was increased ball movement. The Knicks had 24 assists on 44 made baskets against the Nets and 25 assists on 44 made baskets in their win against the Magic.
We also saw a change in style of play from Carmelo Anthony. After Anthony notched his 10th double-double of the season last night (20 points and 11 rebounds) he said, “ I wanted to do something a little different to see if it worked. Me scoring 30 wasn’t working.” The most encouraging sign was Anthony’s efficiency. It only took him 10 shots to score 20 points in a game he sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Anthony has sacrificed scoring for team success. “There’ll be a time again where I need to step up and score those points, but the last couple games, the guys stepped up big time and it just allowed me to make them better and they made me better,” Anthony said.
Anthony only had 4 assists in the Magic game, but he did a good job making quick decisions with the ball. The quick decisions led to open shots for Anthony’s teammates. The Knicks are at their best when Anthony is making quick decisions, because it does not halt ball movement.
The Knicks appeared to be a team in disarray before their two consecutive victories. Now they find themselves 2.5 games back of the Atlantic Division leader Boston Celtics. The Knicks will play the Celtics tomorrow at noon.
The Knicks have looked nothing like the team that lost 9 straight games in their past two victories. They shared the ball, were active defensively, and appeared to be having fun again.
Two wins against the Nets and the Magic does not prove the Knicks troubles are over, but the games can serve as a blueprint going forward. The Knicks have dug themselves an early hole, but they finally showed us reason to believe they can climb out of it.