By the time you read this article, the New York Knicks should have a six-game winning streak. Though the team has played well, they have also taken advantage of a schedule that saw them play five straight at home and one in Washington. Five of those six teams they played are under .500 and are teams the Knicks should beat. Still, you can only beat the teams in front of you, and that is what the team is doing.
Raymond Felton, who has played well since returning form injury, talked about the streak Monday after the Knicks win over the Detroit Pistons. “We are back to playing the way we were playing earlier in the year. We are moving the ball and everyone is happy. The ball movement is great, our defense is great at times and that is why we are on this winning streak.” The Knicks have indeed got into some of the good habits that led to their great start.
Tyson Chandler has been playing his best basketball as a Knick, with three-straight 20 rebound games. That ties a team record by Willis Reed, who accomplished the feat twice, Walt Bellamy and Johnny Green. With Tyson dominating the boards, the Knicks are an even better team, as rebounding has been one of their weaknesses. Tyson talked about his improved play Monday. “(Coach Woodson) lit a fire under me. He called me into his office and said I needed to start playing like an All-Star and the last thing I wanted was people questioning that. I had focus after that. Sometimes you need that.”
Amar’e Stoudemire has also been playing phenomenal basketball in his role off the bench. Stoudemire has scored at least 14 points in his last nine games as he has embraced his role. I asked Amar’e about coming off the bench, and why he has been so successful in the role. “Well a lot of stars, it would be hard for a lot us to accept the role of coming off the bench, but for myself, it is simply about winning. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Carmelo Anthony is continuing to play like an MVP candidate, though he had his Knicks record 31-straight games with 20 or more points scored snapped Saturday, when he finished with nine points. It didn’t matter, as the Knicks led by as many as 50 points in a blowout of the Sacramento Kings. Carmelo talked about the homestand. “We wanted to win all of these games. We needed to win all of these games. We had to have these games and we approached it that way.”
The Knicks face a tough team in the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, before returning back to Madison Square Garden to face the Los Angeles Clippers. The other team from Los Angeles leads the Pacific Division and has one of the best records in the NBA. If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are healthy, that will be a tough game for the Knicks. Knicks fans hope the good play will continue against the NBA elite as well if they want to achieve their goals for the season. What are those goals? Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talked about them Monday. “We have a big goal. Big picture is to win an NBA title. That is first and foremost.” Like Chandler’s accomplishment, the Knicks look to do something that hasn’t been done since the teams of the early 1970s.