After the recent game in Madison Square Garden against the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks fans have been screaming “the Knicks are back!.” Don’t get me wrong the atmosphere in New York was electric, and this is great for the NBA. The Garden was alive and electric, very reminiscent of the 90s when the Bulls and Heat would come in for playoff series. While the Knicks missed out on their “savior” Lebron James, this could have all been a blessing in disguise. They got Amare Stoudemire, who is the leading candidate for MVP, and has made the New York Knicks not only the talk of the NBA, but a legitimate playoff team. The future is bright for the Knicks, with Carmelo and Amare on the same team they will be the team no team wants to play in the playoffs.
The New York Knicks are back, and here to stay, not so fast. Let’s not get carried away here, while they’re future is bright; unfortunately we live in the present. The way the East is they can’t be considered a legitimate threat to win the East. The Heat, Celtics, Orlando, Atlanta, and Chicago, are all better than the Knicks in a playoff series. The Celtics also didn’t exactly play their best game of the year, their defense was lacking, and they were sucked into all of the hype in MSG. They started playing Knicks basketball running up and down the court, which isn’t what they do best. That being said even though they were sucked into playing the run and gun mike d'antoni offense, they still did it better than the Knicks. The Knicks got the style of play they wanted in the game, they had the biggest home court advantage in the league, and the Celtics played badly and they still lost. In a playoff series the Knicks wouldn’t stand a chance against the Celtics, Doc Rivers is a much better coach than mike d'antoni, and he will put the clamps down on defense, because in the end defense wins championships.
Mike d'antoni has also never proven himself on the big stage. His Phoenix Suns teams lost every year in the Playoffs, even though they were at times the most talented team in the league. They simply ran you out of the building with their scoring, but that doesn’t win the playoffs. He simply can’t make the proper defensive adjustments in a playoff series, any good coach can figure out that offense, let’s not forget that most teams can run and gun, but they simply choose not to. In order for this team to go anywhere in the playoffs, they have to start playing defense, which isn’t something that d'antoni, has coached in his career. As the leader of this team Amare needs to set the tone on the defensive end, much like garnet sets the tone for the Celtics on the defensive end. Perhaps the solution to this problem would be to bring in a defensive stopper, a Bruce Bowen type that can set the tone on defense. Adding Carmelo Anthony to the team, still will not help them on the defensive side of the ball, Melo has never been much of a defensive player.
Let us not forget that the Knicks have also played one of the easiest schedules in the NBA. They have won the games they’re supposed to win, and that’s no knock on the Knicks, you can only win the games your scheduled to play. The NBA playoffs are a marathon not a sprint, and defense is the way NBA championships are won. Mike d’antoni isn’t a good enough coach to win a championship, because he doesn’t preach defense on a consistent basis. I much like every basketball fan realizes how important the Knicks are not only to the NBA, but basketball in general. It’s huge for the NBA to have that energy in such a big market like it does in L.A. The energy in the Garden is back, the excitement is back, NBA in the big apple is back in a big way. So while the Knicks haven’t arrived just yet, they are pulling into the driveway as we speak, and that’s something we can all be excited about.