The New York Knicks wound the clock back to last season in Thursday night’s impressive demolition of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center – and, for the first time all season, they looked like a cohesive team unit playing as one.
There was ball movement, spacing, and most importantly they found their touch from long-range again. Aided by horrendous Nets’ defense closing out on three-point shooters, the Knicks connected on 16 of their 27 attempts from distance leading former teammate, and current Nets’ coach, Jason Kidd to comment: “Tonight, they looked like last year’s team.”
Mike Woodson, who would have supposedly been in the hot seat had his team dropped their tenth game in a row, agreed that his squad resembled the 54-game winning team of 2012-13.
“Across the board, everyone was committed,” said Woodson. “That’s what it’s going to take for us to get out of this hole.”
The win improves the Knicks’ record to 4-13 – amazingly, they are just 2.5 games out of first place, and see, now here’s the thing; they may conceivably be in first place in the Atlantic by the end of next week. Their next five gams include Orlando on Friday night, followed by Boston for the Sunday matinee, both of those are at the Garden. They then play Cleveland away, before a tough home game against the Bulls, and finish out with the Celtics again.
All are winnable games, and Mike Woodson may need to go at least 4-1 in that stretch to really keep the critics at bay – not to mention the Knicks’ front office. As bad as their record is, the Knicks aren’t that bad. They’ve been competitive, for the most part, in most of their losses. Last night’s beat-down of the Nets could be the jump start to their season that they needed to string some wins together.
“With a win like this, we definitely get our confidence back and get our mojo, our swag back,” Amar’e Stoudemire said.
To continue with their winning ways they will need to keep receiving a balanced output from their starters (only Kenyon Martin failed to notch double-figure scoring), and they were led by Carmelo Anthony’s most efficient performance of the season, 19 points (8-of-12 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. It’s going to take a lot of the same to beat the higher echelon teams. It’s on Woodson to make sure his troops are prepared.
J.R. Smith (8 points, 3-of-6 shooting) said that the team wasn’t resting on it’s win over their cross-town rival, and that Woodson already had them looking ahead to Orlando.
‘He said, ‘We just go get the next one,’ ” Smith said. “This one feels good. But tomorrow is the most important game as of right now. You can’t get too happy or satisfied.”
Each game represents a new beginning for these Knicks. Next they must try to stop a seven-game slide at home.
“We got to feel good about playing in our building,” said Woodson. “It’s important that we’ve got to go home and validate what we did tonight.”
Thankfully, they have their swagger back.
Image via: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports