After hopes were running high for the New York Knicks heading into the All-Star break, they have since been shot down after starting the second half of the shortened season 1-5. Moreover, Jeremy Lin’s gaudy numbers have since been brought down to a more realistic, yet respectable 16.8 ppg and 8.1 apg.
The biggest issue concerning the Knicks however is not their point guard. It’s the fact that they have dropped five straight at a time where wins are oh so precious, yesterday being one of them, against the division leader 76ers.
The Knicks are now 6.5 games back from first place, and if the season were to end today, the Knicks would be the 8th and final seed in the playoffs. This, a far cry from what most wishful New York fans saw the Knicks entering the playoffs as perhaps the 5th or even 4th seed.
The boo birds and the “fire D’antoni” chants are back at the Garden after being relatively quiet for the majority of January and February. Just less than a month ago, the Knicks were riding a seven game win-streak, now tonight they face the 34-9 Chicago Bulls, hoping to keep a losing streak from getting to six straight.
Perhaps the biggest issue concerning the Knicks right now however is that the cohesion on offense that was there for the past month has since been lost. Carmelo Anthony is now back to his one-on-one ways, and the Knicks offense is being reintroduced to the “stand and watch” method.
The problem with this Knicks team is that when the offense is there, the defense is not, and when the defense is there, the offense is not. This is not a good formula for success in the NBA, or in any sport for that matter. The inconsistency from the Knicks two stars, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, is rearing its ugly head once again. Yes, Amare has had several games since the All-Star break in which he was the leading scorer, but he has also had games where he has been virtually invisible, much like yesterday’s game against the Sixers in which he tallied just nine points.
Yes, Carmelo has had his sufficient 12-24 shooting nights, but he has also had games recently in which he has shot a dismal 2-12. For the Knicks to be a successful basketball team, it’s important their stars play with a little more consistency. The Knicks need to find a way to string some wins together and to play with more consistency, and it starts in Chicago tonight, against a team who owns the best record in the NBA.