Is there a more schizophrenic team in the NBA than the Knicks?
They have been consistently inconsistent since the start of the season. A paradox. Name a team with at least equal talent that has had more highs and lows.
In January, the Knicks won four in a row followed by six straight losses. Then, in early February, they had a streak of seven successive games beginning on March 4 that was the impetus of Mike D’Antoni’s sudden departure.
Flipping the script yet again, the Knicks went into Philadelphia last night (Wednesday) to face the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers on a four-game victory run after smashing the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday 106-87.
Current Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has injected a renewed energy, accountability and a “defense first” philosophy into his team that lifted them back near .500 at 22-24 prior to meeting the Sixers.
While their matchup in Philadelphia was the most credible measure as to how far the Knicks have come since Woodson replaced D’Antoni, it was no more crucial than the 19 games he and his charges had left on their schedule when the night ended.
“Every game is important right now,” said Woodson after dismissing the Raptors.
“Right now the energy is good,” observed sharp shooter Steve Novak. “I think all season we’ve been preaching and talking about peaking at the right time.
“It is a long season, and we knew that we would continue to work. At the end of the season, we want to be playing our best basketball. We are not at the end of the season,” emphasized the 6-foot-10 six-year veteran from Marquette, “but we are playing at a high level.”
The problem is the Knicks have been unable to sustain a high level of play. At times they have revealed a capacity to challenge the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. However, too often, their fickle nature has also shown them to look as if they are no more capable of being a contender than the horrid Detroit Pistons, who will visit the Garden on Saturday night.
As the adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Time will tell if these talented Knicks have truly arrived.