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Can the Knicks even spell the word defense?

Jaime C. Harris | 4/12/2011, 4:44 p.m.

The new Knicks, the team that was reconstructed at the end of February, is acutely aware that defense is the path to success.

"No defense , no glory," should become their rallying cry for the remainder of the regular season and beyond.

Their deficiency in stopping opponents from regularly reaching triple digits is what separates the Knicks from the teams currently above them in the Eastern Conference standings.

"Defense is about effort and intensity," said forward/center Jared Jeffries last week after the Knicks crushed the Utah Jazz at the Garden by 131-109. "The {coaching staff} and the players are committed to getting better defensively. We have to if we're going to go as far as we believe we can."

Jeffries was signed by the Knicks in early March after reaching a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets solely to help fortify their defense and rebounding. Although the classy veteran has made a positive impact, the Knicks still ranked 28th - they were tied with the Golden State Warriors - out of 30 teams for points allowed by an opponent at 105.8 per game when they faced the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night on the road.

The Knicks lost that game, by the way.

Before meeting the Pacers for the second time in three days, following Sunday's 103-96 loss at the Garden, the Knicks' opposition had scored at least 100 points against them in 46 of 65 games.

How deep the Knicks will go in the post-season - their first playoff appearance since the 2003-04 season seems to be a certainty - will be highly contingent on them making critical stops, particularly in the fourth quarter.

In the post-season the pace of play is slower, and efficiency in both half court offense and defense becomes more prevalent as the number of possessions teams has decreases.

It is much more difficult for a team's defense to gel than its offense when significant personnel changes are made. Thus far, since overhauling their roster, the Knicks have fared just fine scoring the ball with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony leading the way.

On more than one occasion since becoming a Knick, Anthony has maintained "We're not even thinking about scoring."

Now the defense must become stout and consistent if the y are going to be more than one round and out in the playoffs.