New York Knicks Challenging the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls?

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

While the New York Knicks are no longer in contention to have the NBA’s first perfect season, they can still make an attempt to surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ best regular season record at 72-10.

The Knicks currently have a 7-1 record following their 88-76 victoryover the Indiana Pacers, and boast the NBA’s best defense and sixth-best offense. Their lone loss came to the only other one-loss team, the Memphis Grizzlies, in a 105-95 defeat on the road at the Fed Ex Forum.

With the exception of the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and maybe the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, there aren’t too many teams in the Eastern Conference that should be able to compete with the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony is the league’s fifth-best scorer with an average of 23.6 points per game. With a new commitment to becoming an all-around player, he also ranks 39th with 7.6 rebounds per game.

J.R Smith, who was upset about remaining a bench player, is playing consistently this season and ranks 37th in scoring with 16.3 points per game. He’s also the second-most accurate 3-pointer shooter, making 60-percent of his shots beyond the arc.

Raymond Felton has proven to be a huge upgrade at point guard. He’s tied for 44th in scoring with 15.5 points per game and is tied for 15th in assists with 6.5 per game.

The reigning defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler is still playing at a high level. The Knicks have allowed the fewest field goal attempts in the restricted area with 190 and are allowing just 38.8 points in the paint per game, ninth-best in the league.

Ronnie Brewer has stepped into the small forward starting job with ease. He ranks 32nd in 3-point shooting at 42.1-percent and the Knicks have held their opponents to 6.1 fewer points when he is on the court.

In fact, Brewer is part of the Knicks’ best defensive lineup. When he and Pablo Prigioni are on the court, the Knicks have allowed just 63.9 points per game per 48 minutes.

Rasheed Wallace is the first big to come off of the bench, and is holding opponents to the second-lowest field goal percentage at 26.3-percent.

Even Jason Kidd, who was signed to be a backup point guard, has done well. As the starting shooting guard, Kidd is ninth in 3-point shooting at 52-percent

The one weakness for the Knicks was shown in their loss to the Grizzlies when Anthony was exposed to foul trouble. Hopefully, they can fix that problem with a healthier Marcus Camby and Amar’e Stoudemire, when he returns.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

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