Take the jump for some thoughts on the Knicks' past and upcoming week.
Games: 3/26 vs. Milwaukee, 3/28 vs. Orlando, 3/30 @ Atlanta, 3/31 vs. Cleveland
- The first three games of this week come against teams currently riding hot streaks. Milwaukee and Atlanta are both 7-3 in the last ten games while Orlando (like the Knicks) are 6-4 in their last ten. Of course, remember that the Knicks had lost six straight before winning six of seven games, so those records can be deceiving!
- In a role reversal of sorts from previous years, the Knicks (with the exception of the Atlanta Hawks) are the best defensive team of the group, sitting at 6th best in the league, .2 points per 100 possessions behind Atlanta for the 5th spot. Orlando and Milwaukee are 11th and 20th, respectively, and Cleveland is 24th. Meanwhile, this year the Knicks are the second worst of the group in terms of offensive efficiency at 23rd in the league; Cleveland is 24th.
- Compared to last year, the Knicks were by far the worst of these teams in defensive efficiency (again, with the exception of Cleveland), but were the most efficient offense by a pretty wide margin (5th in the NBA compared to Orlando as the closest at 13th). Lockouts, man.
- As I posted earlier, the Knicks may be without Amar'e Stoudemire who is getting an MRI on his back. Tommy Dee (as he put it) threw some cold water on the situation and noted that he's hearing Jared Jeffries's knee may take longer than two weeks to heal.
- The Bucks are 3-2 in games Monta Ellis has played. In those games, they're averaging 108.6 ppg and are giving up 100.4 ppg, but that second number may be inflated by a 125-point beatdown they received at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Despite Ellis's and Brandon Jennings's reputations as not pass-first guys, the Bucks are boasting a 28.1% assist rate over those five games. Likewise, the Bucks are attacking and scoring at the rim at a pretty good percentage in those games. In short, this isn't the team the Knicks want to face with some banged up point guards and big men.
- Also important to note about the Bucks, they have an abysmal record vs. .500 teams (though the Knicks are not one of those), and during their recent hot streak, they lost to the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers - the only two playoff teams they faced.
- In his last ten games, Carmelo Anthony is averaging just 16 ppg on 39% FG. He is, however, averaging 28 ppg against the Bucks this season, so with Stoudemire possibly out, the Knicks need a big game from Melo who is LONG overdue.
- The Orlando Magic have been weird since Dwight Howard announced he'd stay through next season. They've won three of their five games, but lost the two to the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, the latter of which held them to only 59 points! They've averaging only 84.4 ppg in those five games. Weird.
- Dwight Howard had just 8 points in his lone game against the Knicks this season before he fouled out. In other news, Tyson Chandler is the fuckin' man!
- Juuussstttt saayyyiiinnggg... Ryan Anderson sure would look good next to Tyson Chandler in a Knicks uniform.
- Speaking of Ryan Anderson, that fella led the NBA in 3-pointers made going into the All-Star break with 99. Since, he has hit 36 of them in 14 games. Steve Novak has hit 41 in 14 games. Suck it!!!
- The Atlanta Hawks just played a quadruple overtime game against the Jazz. That can stand alone by itself.
- Mike Woodson will get his first chance to be the head coach of another team while facing his former team in Atlanta!
- Those are all of the Atlanta notes.
- Is it okay to say that it's too soon for me to look ahead or care about the Cleveland Cavaliers game? I don't care about the Cleveland Cavaliers game yet.
That's all I got for you folks. This week is once again an important week for the Knicks as they need to get the hell out of the 8th or 7th seed spots in the East so they don't have to play the Bulls or Heat in the 1st round. Assuming, of course, that they even get to the playoffs. And with a banged up roster, it might get a little tough.