The New York Knicks are in an interesting place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference as they prepare to enjoy their All- Star break. They’re fighting the Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference’s top seed, a major leap from last year’s finish as the No. 7 seed when they had to play Miami in the first round. Star forward Carmelo Anthony is the Eastern Conference’s leading scorer with over 28 points per game, and his shooting percentages are way up from last year. He had a .450 field goal percentage in the 2012 to 2013 season and .430 in 2011 to 2012. For 3-pointers, he shot a .412 percentage in 2012 to 2013 and .335 in 2011 to 2012.
Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, is leading all eligible players in field goal percentage by a substantial margin; he has .673 and the next best is .605. Additionally, his 11.2 rebounds per game rank sixth in the NBA, and he has continually impressed since the beginning of February, posting three straight 20-rebound games. Chandler’s enduring presence on the defensive end has been a major help to the Knicks’ success, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him snag Defensive Player of the Year honors again.
With the successes of the individual players on the Knicks this season, what will it account for come playoff time? As a top four seed, they will be given home-court advantage at least through the first round, if not longer, which will prove advantageous for them. They have posted a 19-6 record when playing in Madison Square Garden — one of the best home records for any team in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Mike Woodson has brought discipline to these players and seems to have finally figured out the best team and on-court chemistry.
There’s no doubt that the Knicks have more than enough talent to win in the postseason, but questions still linger about both the Knicks and their potential competition. Although Miami and New York are neck and neck for the Eastern Conference title, the Chicago Bulls are in a not-so-distant fourth place and are still awaiting the return of former MVP Derrick Rose. Could it be that Chicago is the team to watch out for come playoff time? It’s possible, but one thing is for sure: New York fans should expect more success this April than last year.
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