Since Mike D’Antoni was relieved of his coaching duties, New York has been transformed. The former “run and gun” approach has been abandoned and replaced by a focus on defense. The result of which has proved successful.
In their 10 games under interim coach, Mike Woodson, the Knicks have allowed a mere 77 points-per-game to their opponents and that defensive lockdown has translated to eight wins during that span. This new look, New York effort was highlighted by their most recent victory over the Magic, where they not only held Orlando to 86 points, but also kept Superman completely in check. Howard was limited to a miniscule 12 points and 5 rebounds in the game.
Perhaps more impressive then this recent surge alone, is the fact that they’ve been doing it in the face of adversity. Star point guard, Jeremy Lin, and supposed star, Amar’e Stoudemire have each sat idly by in street clothes, watching these past few victories as they recover from their respective injuries. And the face of the franchise, Carmelo Anthony, had failed to score 20 points in a game for eight straight contests in that span. Yet, the Knicks have played arguably their best ball of the season in the past two weeks.
So, now, as New York attempts to continue their winning ways, Woodson is set to employ a smaller roster, in hopes that they can stand tall. Anthony, who’s listed at 6’8, will be shifting down to the post in place of the injured Stoudemire, while Landry Fields will move into Melo’s natural spot. In his place, Iman Shumpert will be re-joining the starting squad and occupying the 2-guard position. This is the same starting-5 that they used against the Magic on Wednesday night, and while it certainly proved effective then, it’s hard to believe that such success will be consistent.
No team, this season, has experienced as much personnel change as the Knicks. Through injuries and ineffectiveness, countless players have heard their names announced in the spotlight of the starting lineup, and just as the team had seemingly settled on a permanent starter, he too would be nipped by the injury bug. Yet they just keep pushing forward. And whether or not, this most recent shakeup will prove successful, it should certainly make for yet another interesting chapter in what has already been a roller coaster season for the Knicks.
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