One’s opinion about Week 7 of NBA basketball for the New York Knicks could go either way. Thursday was an exhilarating win over the rival Brooklyn Nets, 113-83. After snapping their losing streak, the Knicks looked to build momentum against the Orlando Magic on Friday. They would end up trampling the Magic, with a final score of 121-83. To further the momentum, the Knicks took on the Rajon Rondo-less Boston Celtics on Sunday, where New York would be run out of Madison Square Garden, 73-114. With three weak opponents, these games were more of a confidence builder for New York. Sunday’s blowout loss against the C’s could cancel out both obliteration wins on Thursday and Friday. The Knicks are now 5-14, 5th in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.
Even through struggles, Brooklyn may be the biggest win of the season. The borough rivalry was supposed to be the best in the NBA this year, and with each team’s equal unsatisfactory starts to the season, that still may hold true.
J.R. Smith has been struggling throughout the season and is not playing up to his Sixth Man of the Year award. He has been a victim to poor ball movement, lackadaisical defense, and horrendous shot attempts. In order to not only benefit the team, but Smith himself, Woodson has to limit his play. Over this past week, Smith was held to around 25 minutes per game. With a minute cap, J.R. will take more advantage of his play, rather than his characteristic free-shooting.
During both blowout wins, the Knicks carried themselves as contenders. They made efficient passes, smart shots, and held their own on defense. I have been preaching ball movement throughout the entire season, and when Prigioni was inserted into the game in the 3rd quarter against the Brooklyn Nets, there was immediate ball movement, which led to high percentage open field-goal attempts. Mike Woodson needs to utilize Prigioni, who is one of the few players that does not care about scoring even 2 points a game.
The Knicks will face the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, and Atlanta Hawks this week, which combine for a record of 36-45. With the Eastern Conference at the weakest point in years, this week has to be the time the Knicks catapult back into discussion. Especially for Mike Woodson.