The biggest doubt people had of the Knicks coming into the season was how well they would fare down the stretch. Especially since they’re the oldest team in NBA history.
The Knicks have now won a dozen in a row, collecting some pretty impressive wins along the way by beating Miami, Oklahoma City, Memphis and Boston twice, all high-quality playoff teams.
They’re pretty much locked into the two seed and a first round matchup against Boston, Milwaukee or Atlanta. Three teams that have underachieved so far.
So what’s the biggest key to their success? You can look all over the roster and find little things that have changed for the better. The biggest though, J.R. Smith’s presence on the court.
He’s played 250 more minutes during this season compared to any other in his career. His leadership skills have soared this season and Smith has stepped up when Carmelo Anthony or Tyson Chandler have been hurt.
Just during the streak alone he’s averaging 23.8 ppg, that’s 10 more per game than he has over his career. To say the least, he’s found his groove.
If the Knicks want to find themselves facing the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they need to realize that Smith’s success, not Anthony’s will dictate their success.
If Smith can stay hot and efficient, watch out Miami.