Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 4/10/13
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With their recent victories against the Heat, Celtics, Thunder and Grizzlies, the New York Knicks are back in the spotlight. Coming off of a brutal West Coast trip and a 4-game losing streak, the Knicks have turned it around and compiled a 13-game winning streak. While the Knicks have played a great team-game, the team has relied on bonafide superstar Carmelo Anthony. Through his last 5 games, Anthony has scored a total of 203 points. He has also hit the boards and rebounded for double digits in 4 out of his last 7 games. The beast himself via ballislife.com When Anthony sat out for 6 games in the middle of March with a bad knee, the Knicks needed another member of the team to step up and be the go-to-guy. That man ended up being JR Smith. In those 6 games, Smith averaged 25 points per game and 8.7 rebounds. Furthermore, Smith has scored at least 30 points in 4 out of his last 8 games.  Other major contributors in the recent stretch have included point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, shooting guard Iman Shumpert and center Tyson Chandler.  Chandler is the backbone of the Knick defense, he currently leads the league in offensive rebounds and trails only the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan in field goal percentage. The recent 13-game stretch by the Knicks has surprised the so-called experts and alerted the league that the team who started the season 6-0 and 18-5 is no fluke.  A against the Wizards last night allowed the Knicks to clinch the first division title since the 1993-94 season. The Knicks have now won 51 games this season, something they haven’t done since a 1999-2000 season that ended in an Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Indiana Pacers. Currently, the Knicks are 2.5 games ahead of the Pacers, good enough for 2nd place in the conference. Entering the playoffs as a number 2 seed would guarantee that the Knicks would not have to face the Miami Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals. This is good news for Knicks fans. Even though the Knicks took the season series 3-1, the Heat are a powerhouse that teams wants to try and avoid playing in the early rounds of the playoffs. If the Knicks can get that number 2 spot in the conference, not only will they avoid the Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals, but per an upset, they might not even face them at all. The Knicks have proven they are contenders and have caught fire at the end of the season, something that past champions have done prior to the playoffs. They are poised to make a deep playoff run and potentially turn up the heat on Miami. The Garden faithful will definitely be cheering them on every step of the way. -Malamud

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