New York Knicks Looking Sharp

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New York Knicks Looking Sharp

The New York Knicks take the floor again Monday Night against the Philadelphia 76ers, just a day-and-a-half after beating them 100-84 in Madison Square Garden. Should sports bettors look for Philly to get revenge at home? The way Carmelo Anthony and company are playing, fading them may be a bad move!

New York opened its 2012-2013 season this past Friday Night with a blowout victory over the Miami Heat. Many attributed that to a motivated effort for a hometown that had been rocked by a natural disaster (against an opponent that had to lose some fire after seeing the devastation). Even statheads pointed out that New York wasn't likely to hit 19 of 36 on three-pointers very often. That was off the charts!

In what could have been a letdown spot Sunday afternoon, New York played well once again against another projected Eastern Conference playoff team. In fact, New York is playing so well out of the gate that some now see them as second-best in the East...ahead of disappointing Boston and Indiana, shorthanded Chicago, and new-look Atlanta and Brooklyn. Let's check a few key stats from Sunday's win...

Philadelphia 42%
New York 56%

That reflects two things at the same time...strong defense and a very effective offense. Remember that Philadelphia played fantastic inside defense last year in the playoffs...and then they shut down Denver in their season opener. The Knicks barely broke a sweat while scoring. And, if New York keeps playing defense with Sunday's intensity...they have a chance to make this a very special year.

Philadelphia 8 of 17 (47%)
New York 11 of 27 (41%)

Both teams shot well from long range. Remember that the "true shooting" impact of those percentages is more like 71% for Philly and 61% for the Knicks. New York was a bit too complacent in allowing open looks. But, they followed up a crazy 19 with a very solid 11. And, they won makes even if they didn't win percentage. Think about New York's total offensive combination for a second...56% inside the arc and the equivalent of 61% behind the arc. Wow.

Philadelphia 8/10
New York 11/18

The refs called the game like they wanted to go watch some football. New York did earn more free throw attempts, lead of course by Carmelo Anthony. And, the Knicks played good defense while not fouling.

Philadelphia 18
New York 14

Turnovers go up when whistles go down...because those strip plays on dribblers work. New York forced 18 turnovers while holding the Sixers to a low inside shooting percentage.

These are only the numbers from one game...and the season is only two games deep. Still, this is an impressive start for New York considering the of the most impressive starts for anyone in the whole NBA.

Reasons New York could keep this going:

  • Amare Stoudemire's injury arguably makes this team BETTER because he's a defensive liability and redundant on offense. When healthy he gets in the way! He'll be out for several more weeks...which means good team defense and offense that knows who's supposed to get the ball. The Knicks could try to trade him, but a team would have to be half crazy to pick up his contract. Maybe Stoudemire will return just as someone else gets hurt, and he won't hurt the defense too much if others have his back.

  • Offseason trades made the Knicks more experienced. Yes, Jason Kidd is old. He also knows how to run a team and win games. New York hasn't played a close game yet. One reason the Dallas Mavericks have done so well in close games in recent years was because Kidd was playing quarterback when it mattered. There's not going to be any "Kidd-Sanity" this year. Kidd "runs" an offense better than Jeremy Lin would have...which matters with a roster like this. New York is going to win blowouts AND nailbiters.

  • New York is showing an inside-out balance that most teams try for but can't achieve. Multi-dimensional offenses are very tough to deal with...particularly once the schedule gets going and defenses don't have much lead-in time to prepare. The Knicks can score on three's, two's, and one's.

Monday's game in Philadelphia is a logical flat spot for the visitor...and a good revenge spot for the host. An interesting test for both teams given what we've already learned in the opening days of the new campaign.

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