Remember in January of 2006 when the New York Knicks won 6 games in a row to start the new year. Plenty of "We are going undefeated in 2006 and making the playoffs" and "WOO this team is starting to suck less" jokes were passed around the 2 or 3 Knicks fans I knew. It was a spark of optimism this team needed, after amassing a record of 7-21 to start the season. Larry Brown, yes he coached the Knicks, was still our coach (but not for long!) and expectations were high (well aren't they always unfortunately...). The win streak made this team a little more confident than they were and ultimately they lost their next 6 in a row and 16 out of their next 17 to show they this team was the 2005-06 New York Suckfest.
Fast forward 5 seasons, because none of us want to relive the Isiah years even in print form. The Knicks start of the season 4-15 (what else is new), and then all of a sudden we are on a 4 game win streak! Against talent such as the New Orleans Hornets, the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trailblazers, and the greatest team in the NBA your New Jersey Nets. This streak is ironically the next longest streak since that run in January of 2006. It is going to draw comparisons (hey look that's what this article is about), but the circumstances are completely different. Stephon Marbury went insane and was finally banished, Isiah is gone (which makes waking up everyday a bit easier trust me), a competent President in Donnie Walsh has emerged, Mike D'Antoni is the savior, some white skinny guy (hey we can play ball too) named Danilo is showing why he may not have been the worst choice at number 6 overall, the Knicks are letting a rookie do what Toney Douglas do, and the way we play this game is just getting better. Basketball is a team sport and lately this team is playing, well like a team.
The 2006 Knicks won games because Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford scored 50-70% of the team's points, David Lee might have had a good game, and Eddie Curry didn't fuck things up. The 2009 Knicks are a two-faced team so far, but are looking like they are conquering the evil part of Harvey Dent. Let's compare 2 box scores to show what I mean.
October 31, 2009 76'ers 121 Knicks 115. While some of us were having a night of debauchery at college, the Knicks were having their home opener! I was following along online as I prepared to go out and have some fun, and was surprised the Knicks were hanging in with this supposedly better team. They even forced overtime! Want to know why? Al Harrington Scored 42 and Danillo Galinari scored 30. We had a top heavy performance, and well getting outscored 19-5 in OT won't help you win any games. The 76'ers had five guys over 15 points to the Knicks 4. 4 of those 5 76'ers were over 20 points, while only 2 Knicks were over 20 (Harrington and Galinari). The Sixers were just a deeper team and didn't rely on a lanky Italian shooting 8-16 from downtown to hang in there.
Now compare to December 4, 2009 Knicks 114 Hawks 107. I was supposed to go to this game, and was really pissed when I missed getting to see my Knickerbockers win. Really pissed. But, the outcome was still pleasing and so was how they played. The Knicks had 5 guys in double figures (out of the 8 that played), to the Hawks four. The Knicks had 4 guys over 18 points, to the Hawks 2. Chris Duhon led the Knicks with quite possibly his best game of the season wit 25 points 10 assists and 0 turnovers. David Lee almost grabbed more boards than he did points (18 points 17 rebounds), and the Knicks spread the scoring around. This was without Danilo (who's been a helluva lot better than last season), and only 6 minutes of Toney Douglas. Nate did not play, and the rotation was tight and working as a unit.
Working as a unit are words I have not used to describe The Knicks since I was in grade school (aka the 90s). I like what I'm seeing, but scared completely. I don't want this streak to get to their heads (also the playoff spot nonsense too). We are a developing team, and developing nicely. I think we could make a run at the 8th seed (which will go to a sub .500 team, but playoffs are playoffs), but we need to stay focus. I'm afraid we'll win a game or 2 more (with Charlotte and Chicago our upcoming games this is possible) and then lose 6 in a row again. Boys you are doing great, stay focused, and please don't go back to 2006 (no one likes Isiah, or Stephon anymore so don't give us reasons to think about them again). Let's go Knicks, and here's a poll to make everything better!