The New York Knicks shed game-long rust and slumber, awakening just long enough to dispatch the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (December 23).
The victory revealed another good-news, bad-news scenario. It was one of those games Knick teams from the recent past most assuredly would have squandered, right before heading out for a West Coast swing, on the eve of Christmas Eve with all its home and family distractions. Certainly, every Knick fan would prefer that glass half-full outlook, and the team has earned some currency in the positive feedback department.
Of late, however, the Knicks are beginning to lose some of the early season momentum that has launched them to a spectacular 20-7 record. The recent six-game homestand was a 4-2 success – at least by most team’s standards. They were 16-5 heading into it, and you had the sense the Knicks were expecting to run the home table and would perhaps settle for 5-1, considering the opposition. Yet, they have stumbled lately, losing the defensive intensity teams such as the Chicago Bulls bring to the court with them every day. They were blasted by the Rockets, lost to those Bulls, and barely white-knuckled their way through a Timberwolves team without Kevin Love.
They seem to be struggling and it’s no surprise. The age everyone believed would be the team’s Achilles Heel has recently sapped the depth so important to the first couple of months. One night recently, the Knicks played without Rasheed Wallace, out for a few weeks with a stress fracture, and Steve Novak (flu), along with the continued absences of Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and Marcus Camby. Geez!
To their credit, the Knicks have risen to the occasion to pull out games they seemed sure to lose – the recent last-second victory against the awful Bobcats was a prime example. But how long will they be able to sustain the blistering pace? Most would agree, the Knicks are not a 20-7 pace team. There’s a market correction ready to take place, perhaps in the next couple of weeks.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
- · Yahoo! Sports Kevin Love page
- · Yahoo! Sports Amar’e Stoudemire page
- · Yahoo! Sports Rasheed Wallace page
- · Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press, Anthony’s big finish rallies Knicks past Wolves