Found February 24, 2013 on Sports Blog Net:
At the beginning of the season, the New York Knicks were the hot team in the NBA. They sprinted out of the gates with an 18-5 start. Wins in that start include two 20-point wins over the defending champion Miami Heat and a win on the road over the San Antonio Spurs, holders of the best record in the league at this point. Small forward Carmelo Anthony had emerged as the leading candidate for league's Most Valuable Player, playing like a man who know's the pressure is on him to lead the team to the promised land. Since that hot start, the Knicks are 14-15, currently on a four-game losing streak and have fallen to third place in the Eastern Conference. They're 6 1/2 games behind the Heat, who have won 10 in a row, and a game behind the surging Indiana Pacers, who destroyed the Knicks 125-91 Wednesday night in Indianapolis. Anthony is no longer the favorite to win the MVP, falling behind Heat forward LeBron James, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, and Spurs guard Tony Parker in the race. There are many reasons people want to point to for why the Knicks have hit the skids, and a lot of the blame is pointed at the return of power forward Amar'e Stoudemire to the team. The overwhelming opinion is Stoudemire's return messed up the team's chemistry, which was top-notch at the beginning of the season. I believe Stoudemire has played pretty well since he's returned and the time Anthony and he has spent on the floor together hasn't been bad at all. I would say there are other factors contributing to the Knicks' struggles, such as the lack of defensive intensity. Besides center Tyson Chandler, the Knicks don't have too many players that are fully committed to defense, at least not like they were earlier. They would rather try to get it back on the offensive end. Speaking of offense, the Knicks are a team who are heavily reliant on the three-point shot and the saying goes "You live by the three, you die by the three." Those shots were going down with regularity in November and December. Teams now understand to stay at home on the shooters, and those shots haven't been falling lately. Another problem has been injuries. You never want to make excuses for a team dealing with injuries simply because every team has to deal with them, but the Knicks have suffered some key ones. Point guard Raymond Felton missed significant time with a fractured right pinkie, and the front court has been decimated, to say the least. Forwards Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, who were brought to the Knicks in the off-season to provide leadership and defense, have each missed huge chunks of the season and have no timetables for their return. Even with all of the injuries, there's still enough talent on the team to compete with the elite teams. I think the Knicks can turn things around, but they have to get back to being strong defensively in order to do so. You can create offense with your defense by disrupting passing lanes and getting out on the fast break. Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Regardless of how everyone says it's all about scoring the basketball, this saying still hold true. Teams have caught up to the Knicks, now it's time for them to make their own adjustments. By Charles Taylor
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