Despite being without three core players Amar’e Stoudemire, Marcus Camby and Iman Shumpert, the Knicks have surprised everybody. They have the best defensive team in the league throughout the first week, allowing just 85.3 points per game.
It’s not like the Knicks have been facing easy teams either. They defeated the defending champion Miami Heat 104-84 by hitting 19 3-pointers in the season-opener and swept a home-and-home series with the Philadelphia 76ers 100-84 and 110-88.
This is the tenth time in Knicks’ history that they’ve had a team start 3-0 or better. In the past six 3-0s, the Knicks have averaged 53.7s wins.
An even better stat is that if the Knicks are able to beat the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, they’ll be 4-0 for just the third time in the history of the franchise. The Knicks’ 1969-70 team began 5-0 and finished with a championship season, while the 1993-94 team lost in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets.
With Stoudemire out for at least six weeks with a knee injury, the Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has deployed a much smaller starting five with Carmelo Anthony playing power forward. Anthony has responded with the NBA’s third-best average of 26 points, and a team-high 7.3 rebounds and even a block per game.
Following Anthony’s Olympic trend of knocking down 3-pointers, the Knicks have made 43 3-pointers, which is the most in NBA history for a team in their first three games. J.R. Smith leads the team with 2.7 3-pointers per game and a .615 3-point shooting percentage. Ronnie Brewer has shot .556 from 3-point range and Jason Kidd has a .545 3-point shooting percentage.
The Knicks (3-0) will face the Mavericks (3-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before a three-game road trip starting with the Orlando Magic at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.