Raise your hand if you actually thought the Knicks would look better during the final month of the season than during that torrid early-season run.
*Not a single hand raises*
It’s okay; safe to say that, given the advanced age of many players on New York’s roster, few people saw the Knickerbockers as a legitimate thread in the Eastern Conference. And yet, here we are. It’s April 7th, and thanks to the best run of Carmelo Anthony’s career, New York extended it’s win-streak to 12 games, at the expense of of juggernaut Oklahoma City Thunder, 125-120. The win was the 50th of the season for the Knicks, a benchmark that hasn’t been reached in 13 years.
From the tip, defense took a back seat as both sides got most of the shots they wanted. A rowdy OKC crowd tried its best to rattle Melo, but as has been habitual over the the Knicks’ win streak, Anthony got his, finishing with 36 points on .517 shooting. Categorize this effort with a line of incredible performances over the past week (50 on Miami on almost .700 shooting; 40 and 41 against Atlanta and Milwaukee, both above the .600 mark), and the case has to be made that, given the significance of the games and the quality of the opponents, Anthony has never been better. Take that, Forbes.
Carmelo was joined by J.R. Smith, who dropped 22 (including a pair of huge threes in the last two minutes), Raymond Felton (16 and eight assists), Tyson Chandler (15), Jason Kidd (14), and… holy sh*t, the Knicks are deep, aren’t they? Oklahoma City is as complete a team as you’ll find in the NBA (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook finished with 27 and 37 apiece), one that other squads shouldn’t want to get into epic shootouts with. Thanks to more inspired play by one of the best in the game and a cast of players ready and able to support, the Knicks continue the charge towards the postseason with their eyes on the crown.