The New York Knicks looked anything but themselves on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Raymond Felton was connecting on behind-the-back passes, Amar’e Stoudemire was blocking shots and Tyson Chandler shot 75 percent from the field. The Knicks looked like a force to be reckoned with in what may have been their best game in 2014. They played a complete game on all sides of the ball with the exception of some extra points given up late.
This is just their first win since Feb. 19 and their third win since Jan. 30. This has been an absolutely brutal stretch for the Knicks, but they still aren’t dead, believe it or not. In fact, they’re very much alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, both teams that are ahead of New York in the standings, lost last night. The Knicks are only 5.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot. It’s actually ridiculous to think that even with the way the Knicks stunk up the court last month they can just put together a winning streak and sneak into the playoffs. But is it possible?
The obvious answer is no way! The Knicks have publicly stated that there is no heart on this team and that they’ve pretty much given up on playing. They’ve embarrassed themselves on the court while Felton has also embarrassed himself off the court. The Knicks have been the butt of every basketball fans’ joke this season, and they’ve deserved it with the way they’ve played. But then what was last night about? How did they pull it all together? It’s mind-boggling, but there has to be an answer.
Minnesota is a .500 team five games out of the playoffs. They’re mediocre in the strong Western Conference, so they aren’t a terrible team. The Knicks were firing on all cylinders, moving the ball well and shooting well from the outside. They were even able to score in the paint consistently throughout the game. Stoudemire and Chandler played like they were five years younger while Felton was playing the way he did in his first stint with the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony was great as he’s been all season, adding five assists and three steals to his stat line which is not something you see very often.
The Knicks simply chose to play last night, for whatever reason. They played team basketball and scored 118 points while holding Kevin Love to 19 points and eight rebounds. If they gave this much effort every night, they wouldn’t be in the position they’ve been in. The outcome of any given Knicks game comes down to the effort of guys like J.R. Smith, Felton and Stoudemire. When they are unselfish and also hitting shots when they need to, the Knicks can be a playoff team.
Will they keep this pace up? I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a chance. This team lacks backbone, and the minute they face adversity they fold. One win against the Timberwolves will mean nothing for this team in the long run. Even if they win one or two more games in a row, they will falter and let their losses build up because they don’t know how to fight back in the face of defeat. The Knicks will get back to being their old selves real soon.