Fortunately for the New York Knicks, the NBA is required under the current playoff format to allow eight Eastern Conference teams into the postseason. The Knicks suffered a nine-game losing streak this season, but have seemingly reversed their fortunes, winning two consecutive games over the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic.
New York is currently next to last in the Eastern Conference standings, but are only 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics in the Atlantic Division.
Beating Brooklyn is not exactly the pivotal season-altering victory New York needs to silence their critics, but it was enough to change the team’s vibe going forward. The doom-and-gloom attitude of the media about the Knicks is a major over-reaction to a team that simply started slow against a tough schedule to start the season. The Knicks’ schedule is a little easier for the remainder of December with only two games to play versus Western Conference teams.
Lack of ball movement has already been identified as a major reason for the Knicks’ early-season offensive woes, and the team began practicing perimeter passing during their pregame routine before their matchup against the Magic. The Knicks realize what it will take to turn their season around, and the idea that New York will reenter the playoff discussion by the end of the month is not far-fetched.
In fact, New York has a legitimate chance to overtake the Celtics for the division lead by the end of the week as the two teams face each other twice this week.
Critics of the Knicks have called for the team to fire coach Mike Woodson, trade Carmelo Anthony and throw in the towel on the season. The Knicks have persevered through what will be the worst part of their season and appear to be poised to finish 2013 on a positive note. The only issue will be the severity of the critics’ overreaction to the Knicks’ pending success this month.