Found January 03, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Nuggets_anthony_sits_799e
The New York Knicks are 21-10, sitting pretty in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, enjoying a season in which Carmelo Anthony is an MVP candidate and his team is viewed widely as just a Miami Heat injury away from a shot at the NBA Finals. They are also, thanks to the wide gulf between the two conferences and a statistical anomaly that's unlikely to last, an utter illusion. Don't be fooled by their 2-0 record against the defending champion Heat or the New York media's frenzied focus on, at long last, a Knicks' team worthy of its city. The fact is, the Western Conference is so dominant over the Eastern Conference that it warps the realities of each. Out West, there are at least four serious title contenders: - The Los Angeles Clippers, who just ended a 17-game winning streak and, despite my own doubts, are respected and feared throughout the league. - The Oklahoma City Thunder, who have managed to be better this season without James Harden and are fresh off their own Finals appearance. - The Memphis Grizzlies, powered by Zach Randolph and a team quietly making a case that it, too, should be feared. - And the San Antonio Spurs, who remain formidable despite a dynastic run the past decade that may be nearing its end. That doesn't even get into the Los Angeles Lakers, who, if they figure out their own mess, are loaded with talent. And the Golden State Warriors, a middling fifth in the Western Conference playoff picture, which would easily compete for the No. 2 spot in the East. Don't buy it? If the season ended today, the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki, would finish 12th in the West. They're a miserable 13-20 through Wednesday. But against the lowly East they're 8-9. The Houston Rockets are an 18-14 team that looks to have little to no chance to advance far in the playoffs once the Western Conference teams have to battle past one another in April. But against the East? Then the Rockets suddenly seem a juggernaut with a 12-2 mark, with two wins each against the Knicks, Bulls and Atlanta, and a win over Boston to boot. Even the lowly, floundering, issue-plagued Sacramento Kings -- who are a lowly, floundering, issue-plagued 12-20 -- approach respectability when pitted against Eastern Conference teams: 6-7 with, yes, a win against the Knicks. So the Western Conference is a much more formidable place to survive, filled with several title-contending teams and several others that would probably be at the top of the East were they on the other side of the country. At 12-3 against the West, the Heat are, as we all know, very much for real. But the Knicks are just 8-7 against the West, and the Bulls, Nets and Bucks all struggle out of conference. But that's only part of the reason New York are paper tigers. Yes, you and I could get a team together that could probably make a run in the East until we had to face the Heat, which means the Knicks are well-positioned. But they're also a team that shows all the signs of being wildly overhyped, even by Eastern Conference standards. In the history of the NBA, only about a dozen teams have finished the season shooting 40 percent or better from the 3-point line, and during their early-season tear, the Knicks sat well above that mark. The result? They raced to a 10-4 start and became the toast of the NBA. Few bothered to point out that they shot 40 percent or better from the 3-point line in half of those games and better than 36 percent in three others. In fact, so far this season, the Knicks are 13-2 when they shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. Pretty good for a team that leads the league in 3-point shots per game (29.1), right? Wrong. Because when they fall beyond that lofty, unrealistic and already out-of-reach mark, they're a very so-so 8-9. Already, their 3-point shooting has dropped below that magic line to 38.8 percent. There's also the uncomfortable fact for Knicks fans that when they shoot lights out from the 3-point line, they beat Miami twice (52.8 and 40.9 percent), San Antonio (42.3), the Nets (50 percent) and the Lakers (48 percent). That's not a game plan you want to rely on come the playoffs, nor numbers you can count on to win. Those were good times, but they're starting to look like the good old days. The Knicks have shot better than 40 percent from 3 just once in the past nine games. No wonder they're 4-5 during that stretch. That bodes particularly bad for future playoff series against teams like Miami, or even Atlanta, Boston or Indiana. There are other issues that will dog the Knicks going forward: the significant regression of their defense from fifth last season in points allowed per 100 possessions (101) to 20th this season (106.3); Amar'e Stoudemire's return and how that does or does not fit with Anthony; the possibility the Bulls will get Derrick Rose back or that the Pacers will have figured themselves out even before Danny Granger's return; or that, you know, they're the Knicks. But for now it's enough to know that the Knicks are no more a title contender than I am. Don't let the East's weakness or the Knicks' now-fading and always unsustainable early barrage of 3-pointers fool you. They're not the title contender they'd have you believe. You can follow Bill Reiter on Twitter or email him at foxsportsreiter@gmail.com .
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Knicks F Stoudemire to make season debut

New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire will make his season debut against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, according to Yahoo! Sports. Stoudemire, who had surgery on his left knee in October and has been practicing with the D-League's Erie BayHawks, is ready to go after recently rejoining the Knicks. There is a good chance that Stoudemire will come off...

Knicks halt Spurs' 7-game win streak

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, J.R. Smith kept up his surge with 20 and the New York Knicks snapped the San Antonio Spurs' seven-game winning streak with a 100-83 victory Thursday night. Steve Novak added 15 points and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds to help the Knicks bounced back from consecutive losses by dominating the final period against the Spurs, who...

Report: Amar’e Stoudemire To Make Season Debut Tuesday

After undergoing preseason knee surgery, New York Knicks All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire will make his season debut on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, a league source told Yahoo! Sports. Whether or not Carmelo Anthony returns from his hyper-extended knee on Tuesday, the plan remains for Stoudemire to come off the Knicks’ bench. via Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports

Amar'e rusty in return as Knicks fall

The Portland Trail Blazers overcame Carmelo Anthony's season high-tying 45 points and spoiled Amare Stoudemire's season debut, beating the New York Knicks 105-100 on Tuesday night. Nicolas Batum scored 26 points, Damian Lillard had 21 points, six assists and five rebounds, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Portland. Stoudemire finished with six points...

New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire makes debut, Carmelo Anthony back in lineup.

At full strength are the Knicks better or worse?

Knicks Fade in Comeback

  Post Game Recap Final Score: Trail Blazers: 105  Knicks: 100 The Knicks once again spotted an opponent a huge lead, eventually fighting back but again falling short in the end; this time it was the Blazers doing it to the Knicks, pulling out a 105-100 victory.  The Knicks did not come out with any intensity tonight, again lacking effort on the defensive end as the Blazers as...

Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs. Knicks

Tim Duncan and Carmelo Anthony, power forwards for their teams, will be the matchup when the San Antonio Spurs face the New York Knicks. The two men probably won't guard each other with their coaches possibly switching their centers (Tiago Splitter for S.A. and Tyson Chandler for N.Y.), but they'll have plenty to do with how the other performs this game. Anthony shot...

Knicks end Spurs' 7-game winning streak

NEW YORK (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, J.R. Smith kept up his surge with 20 and the New York Knicks snapped the San Antonio Spurs' seven-game winning streak with a 100-83 victory Thursday night. Steve Novak added 15 points and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 rebounds to help the Knicks bounced back from consecutive losses by dominating the final period against...

Knicks Take on Blazers New Years Night

Blazers @ Knicks: MSG 730pm   Happy New Year Knickswag readers, Amar’e Stoudemire is back!  The Knicks host the Blazers at MSG after three days of rest and some much needed practice.  STAT will be coming off the bench and Carmelo Anthony is a game time decision.  Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd did not practice in those three days but both are expected back on Tuesday as Chandler...

Shootaround: Garden party

San Antonio Spurs (26-8) vs. New York Knicks (21-10) 7:30 p.m. It is Thursday night. Two top NBA teams are playing each other with inter-conference positioning on the line. There are plenty of stars to drive up ratings. And the game is in New York? So why is TNT on its New Years' break? Usually when a game like this happens it gets the full national television treatment...
THAT'S AMAR'E

Report: Stoudemire to play Tuesday

New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire reportedly has recovered from a knee injury and will make his season debut Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

No Excuses for Knicks To Be Playing Catch Up in Second Straight Game

Contending teams have been known to play poorly every now and again. As steady as a squad can be, no one can be perfect.That's why it wasn't worth getting up in arms about the Knicks' feeble effort in the first half of Friday night's game against the Kings. New York made sure such a fluke didn't last the entire game, as the Knickerbockers charged back with all...

Jordan Brand Classic To Be Played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn

The 12th annual Jordan Brand Classic that showcases the nation’s premier high school all-star game is moving to Michael Jordan’s birthplace. The game will be played in Brooklyn on April 13, 2013 at Barclays Center. The game used to be played in Charlotte, North Carolina. High school athletes play in this came to show off their talents. They are looking to be the next NBA greats...

Never-Ending NBA Preview: Golden delicious

The NBA season is here. With that in mind, it is time to flip through the book on the 2012-13 season and to take a look at what the season might have in store -- especially when it comes to the Magic. Be sure to look out for more of these team capsules and to check out all the blogs taking part in this year's NBA Blog Preview (don't worry, I will be linking to all of them...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.