Despite the quick work the Miami Heat made of the New York Knicks last year — the Knicks bowed out of the first round in five games — they now have taken the mantle from the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers as the Eastern Conference’s best chance against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Co.
One of the major keys to the Knicks’ six-game win streak into Friday has been the signing of forward Kenyon Martin, who the Los Angeles Clippers released in early February. Since New York signed him on Feb. 21, Martin has averaged just under 12 points and seven rebounds in seven starts.
“I think Kenyon has really, really helped our team,” Coach Mike Woodson said Thursday, via ESPN. “The fact that we’re so beat up at the big spots makes him that much more valuable to us. He’s been anchoring our defense and making plays on offense out of our pick-and-roll sets. He’s been a dual threat in that regard and it’s been a real pleasure to have him. He helps us big time.”
Top scorer Carmelo Anthony (27.5 points per game) has missed time recently and continues to play through a knee injury. Post threat Amare Stoudemire remains optimistic yet unsure if he can return from knee surgery in time for a postseason run.
Martin has come along and found his game at just the right time.
Now New York holds the No. 3 seed and, thanks to the Heat loss, the league’s longest current winning streak. The Knicks host the Charlotte Bobcats, holders of the league’s worst record at 17-54, tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET as they position themselves to take down Miami in the NBA postseason.