Start spreading the news, the New York Knicks are clearly the class of the Eastern Conference after their second blowout victory over Miami this season. Or are they?
The Knicks beat the Heat 112-92 on Thursday, the worst home loss of the Power Trio era. No doubt New York has been impressive this season, posting a 14-4 record, best in the East.
The Knicks’ next game is Saturday against the Bulls at the United Center.
Confusion about New York’s place among the NBA elite arrives when you take a closer look at what happened in Miami. First of all, Carmelo Anthony didn’t even play, due to a cut on the middle finger of his left hand, which required five stitches to close. It seems likely he’ll be back against the Bulls.
The Knicks’ leading scorer was Raymond Felton with 27 points. At the start of the summer, Felton seemed unwanted. In the past two years, he’s gone from New York to Denver to Portland and back to New York.
The second-leading scorer in Miami was Steve Novak with 18 points. The Knicks knocked down 18 of 44 shots from 3-point range, including 8 in the third quarter alone, the most by an NBA team in a quarter this season.
So it’s easy to think the Knicks could be a fluke. They start 39-year-old Jason Kidd, 40-year-old Kurt Thomas and bring 38-year-old comeback kid Rasheed Wallace off the bench.
The old guys could wear down as the season drags on. Felton could drop back to Earth. But the biggest concern for New York’s future is their recent nemesis – chemistry.
Remember, Amare Stoudemire has yet to play this season because of a knee injury. In theory, the Knicks should be stronger when he comes back, but it hasn’t always worked that way.
When Linsanity hit last season, Jeremy Lin’s sensational stretch happened while Anthony was out of the lineup (and Stoudemire in). When Anthony returned, Lin’s numbers dropped and New York ended up a seventh-place also-ran.
The Knicks should do better than that this season -- top four in the East at the very least. But ready to knock off Miami? Too soon to tell.