Over their last thirteen games, the New York Knicks have gone a lackluster 5-8. After beginning the season red-hot and tearing through opponents, New York has hit its first lull as an elite team.
It happens. Hey, the Los Angeles Lakers have been in a lull for the entire season. However, the Knicks are different. If they don’t string together a few wins over the next two or three weeks, they will be in serious trouble.
The Knicks have been inconsistent defensively during the 5-8 slide, whereas defense was the main cornerstone during the 18-5 start. Carmelo Anthony has missed four games during the lull, so really the Knicks have no excuse for their performance (or, lack thereof), as they have already defeated several of the top Eastern Conference teams without their superstar.
After falling to the Chicago Bulls for the second time in a month and third time in 2012-13, Coach Mike Woodson is determined to turn the Knicks back around in the direction that they began the season. “I have to get us out of this rut,” Woodson said. “We were a step slow to start the game. We couldn’t make shots and that compounded the problem.”
In order for the Knicks to regain their spot at the top of the Eastern Conference, two things need to happen.
The first thing is that someone other than Anthony and J.R. Smith needs to step up on offense. It seems as though these two have to carry the Knicks offensively each night. Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, and Ronnie Brewer are not playing particularly well as of late, and they need to turn it around.
The second thing is that the Knicks have to buckle down defensively. They are allowing 96.7 PPG to opponents, and that number needs to decline if the Knicks want to have consistent success this season. If they are able to lock up opponents like the first 23 games of the season, the Knicks should be just fine.