Coming into this lockout-shortened season, the New York Knicks, perennial dissapointers, found themselves in the uncomfortable position of having high expectations for the second year in a row. This time around, however, they had only 66 games to fan the flames of hope before extinguishing them all-together. Just 6 games into the season it seems the team is up to the task.
For the Knicks, the standard 82 games is the ideal stretch of time to manage expectations, maintain interest in the team, and ultimately fizzle out unceremoniously. They typically begin just below the .500 mark, losing the games they’re expected to while peppering in a few exciting victories at The Garden to generate a positive buzz. About two-thirds through the season, just as murmurs of the team’s apparent mediocrity begin to emerge, the Knicks notice that they are in reach of the Pacers and their .476 win percentage, or in contention for an 8th seed with somebody weird like the Toronto Raptors, leading to one last hobbled dash to the playoffs.
“It’s truly an art form,” notes head coach Mike D’Antoni, “and something we take very seriously.” This season, the “art form”, which the Knicks’ front office refers to as “sucking responsibly,” will be challenged facing a season shortened to 66 games.
“We’ve got to come out strong” stated Carmelo Anthony with confidence. “We’ve got to come out strong then suck immediately.”
The Knicks, rising to the occasion as always, did just that with an exciting 106-104 win in the season opener at home against the Celtics. While the height of the Knicks’ season often comes halfway through the 82-game-schedule when the team wins a home game to put them at 21-2o (or something like that) it is very likely that the team has expedited the process, blowing their blue and orange load all over the Garden floor on Christmas day.
Since then the Knicks have gone 1-4, putting them just where they’re comfortable, in contention with the 3-3 Raptors for the final playoff spot in the East.
“New York is crazy. Things are happening very fast here,” panted an out of breath Tyson Chandler. “But with a lot of heart, a little bit focus, and even less defense, we’re gonna get those Raptors.”
“Hey, is Chris Paul still available?” he added.